Monday, August 25, 2014

Excerpt: It's in His Kiss (Lucky Harbor #10) by Jill Shalvis

Welcome to the Release Event for It's in His Kiss, by Jill Shalvis. Be sure to check out the excerpt. Thanks for stopping by!

It's in His Kiss (Lucky Harbor, #10)
Series: Lucky Harbor #10
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: 8/26/14

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Becca Thorpe has uprooted her life and escaped to the beach. Now's her chance to get away from city living, throw caution to the ocean winds, and live in the moment. Especially if the moment includes the deliciously sexy surfer she meets shortly after arriving in Lucky Harbor. Something about the dark intensity of Sam's eyes and the thrill she gets at his touch convinces her to stay awhile.

Boatbuilder and investment genius Sam Brody is a self-made man who knows how dangerous it can be to mix business and pleasure. But he can't resist offering Becca a job just to hear her laugh and have her near. Yet when her brother comes to town asking for help, will he tempt her back to her glamorous life in the city? Or do Sam and little Lucky Harbor have a chance to win Becca's heart?

Chapter 3
There was still the night’s chill on the air when Becca

woke up the next morning. Early sun rays were doing

their best to beat back the dark shadows of the night, stabbing

through the cloud layer with hints of soft yellow and


She rolled the kink out of her neck from sleeping on

the floor. Today was the day she further depleted her savings

by buying furniture.

And other essentials, such as food.

Today was also the day that she got her act together.

She stared at the portable piano keyboard leaning so deceptively

casual-like against one of her suitcases.

As a jingle writer, all she had to do was write a catchy

tune for a given product. That was it. Write a jingle, sell it

to the ad agency that had her on retainer, and accept their

thanks in the form of a check.

Except she’d been having trouble for a year now. Her

muse had shriveled up on her, and she was eking out only

the barest minimum to keep her agency interested. Her

latest assignment was simple—come up with something

catchy for Cushy toilet paper. A relatively easy and insignificant

enough assignment, right?


With a sigh, she grabbed a roll of the toilet paper that

the company had sent her, shoved it in her tote bag, and

headed out. The first person she came across was the

same boy on the bike who’d nearly hit her the other day.

“Hey,” she said, flagging him down.

He slowed. “Sam’s probably in his warehouse—”

“No, this question’s for you.” She pulled out the roll of

toilet paper. “Feel this. What does it make you think of?”

He blinked.

“I’m writing a commercial for it,” she told him.

“That’s weird,” he said, but he reached out and took it.

Considered. “I guess it feels nice to squeeze,” he finally


“Good, but unfortunately, that commercial’s already

been done,” she said. “Give me something else.”

“Okay…” The kid scratched his head. “It’s…soft?”

“Soft,” she said.

“Yeah. You know, cushy.”

She blew out a breath. “Thanks.”

“I wasn’t any help at all, was I?” the kid asked.

“You were great,” she told him, and waved as he

rode off.

She walked to the pier for more ranch-flavored popcorn,

which she’d bought at the ice cream stand. The

same twenty-something-year-old guy was there today.

“You’re back,” he said.

“Yep. You give good popcorn.”

It’s in His Kiss 25

He smiled. “I know. I’m Lance, by the way.”

“Becca,” she said. “I’m new to town.” Lance was

small, painfully thin, and had an odd sound to his voice,

like his chest was hollow. She glanced at the jar on the

counter, with a donate to cystic fibrosis research

poster taped to it, and felt a pang of worry and empathy

for him.

“So what’ll it be, Becca New to Town?” he asked.

She smiled. “Ranch-flavored popcorn.” She paused.

“And a single chocolate scoop.”

“Living large,” he said. “I like it.”

When he brought the popcorn and ice cream to her,

she held up the roll of toilet paper. “Question,” she said.

“What does this make you think of?”

He laughed. “That’s going to cost you a double scoop,

at least.” But he squeezed the roll of toilet paper. “Tell me

why I’m humoring the crazy lady?”

“Because she writes the songs for commercials,”

Becca said. Sometimes. If she’s very lucky. “And I need

one for Cushy toilet paper. Only I’m stuck.”

“So your brain’s…plugged?” he asked playfully. “Your

brain’s got a big…load?”

She laughed. “Don’t quit your day job.”

He squeezed the roll again. “You know,” he said casually.

“I get sick a lot.”

Her heart pinched. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay. But I use this brand for blowing my nose.

It’s softer and more gentle than tissues.”

She smiled and handed back the ice cream cone she

hadn’t yet licked. “Okay, now that’s worth a double.”

He made it a triple.

A million calories later, she was back in her place,
26 Jill Shalvis

and she managed to come up with a little—emphasis on

little—jingle for Cushy. She sent it off to her agency, fingers


Standing up, she moved to the window and took in a

most mesmerizing sight.

Not the ocean, though that was pretty damn fine, too.

But Sexy Grumpy Surfer—SGS for short, she’d

decided—side by side with one of the other guys from

last night, the two of them doing pull-ups on some metal

bar. Given their easy, economical speed and the way they

kept turning to eyeball each other, they were competing

and not for the first time. They were shirtless, their toned

bodies gleaming with sweat in the early-morning sun,

definitely outshining the Pacific Ocean.

“Wow,” she whispered. She had no idea how long she

stood there, or how many impossibly difficult pull-ups

the two men did before they both dropped lithely to the

ground, straightened, and gave each other a shove.

Their laughter drifted to her ears and she found herself

smiling along with them. A sweaty tie then, she decided,

and realized she was a little hot herself.

Hot and bothered.

Sexy Grumpy Surfer looked damn good laughing. The

other guy moved off, back toward the small building between

the street and beach, but SGS remained. Turning

only his head, he unerringly met Becca’s gaze.

Crap. She dropped like a stone to the floor and lay flat.

He hadn’t seen her, she thought. He totally hadn’t. The

glare on the window had blocked his view. Yeah, for sure

he’d missed her…

Slowly, she rose up on her knees to take a quick peek

and winced.

It’s in His Kiss 27

He was still there, hands on hips, looking right at her.
He’d missed exactly nothing, and she suspected he

rarely did.

Then the clouds shifted, and suddenly the sun was

shining right on him, like he was the best of God’s glory.

Since the sun was also bright, making seeing details difficult,

it was probably—hopefully—her imagination that

his mouth quirked in a barely there smile as he shook his

head at her.

Her stomach quivering, she ducked again.

And then from her position prone on the floor, she forbid

herself from looking out the window ever again.


Crawling to her suitcases in the center of the loft,

she sat cross-legged, pulled out her list of Must-Buys,

and added curtains. Curtains would keep her from being

distracted by her view. Curtains would keep her on


And away from further embarrassment.

She showered, dressed, and left the warehouse, sending

a cautious look down the alley.


Relieved, she left. Several hours later she was back,

followed by Eddie, the kid on the bike, whom she’d paid

to help lug her loot. Thankfully he came with an older

brother who had a truck, and equally thankfully, Lucky

Harbor had a “vintage” shop, a really great one. She’d

found everything she’d needed there, including gently

used sheets that she bought for curtains.

In far less time than it’d taken to shop, she had curtains

up and the bed made, and she was sitting on it, staring at

an email from her ad agency.

28 Jill Shalvis


The Cushy jingle works. I’ve sent accounting a request

to get you payment. Next up is Diaxsis, the new

erectile dysfunction medicine. Details and deadline

info attached, if you’re interested.

Not Great job, Becca. Not You’re back, Becca. Not
We’ve put you back on our top tier, Becca.
But neither was it You’re fired, Becca, so she’d take it.

But Diaxsis? She blew out a breath and hit reply:
I’m interested.
The next morning, Becca opened her eyes and let out a

happy breath. She’d actually slept, and if there’d been

bad dreams, she didn’t remember them. Turning her head,

she stared at the curtains where a weak daylight poked in

around the edges.

The insulation in her building was either poor or

nonexistent. She could hear every single time the back

door of the building next to hers opened.

It opened now.

Don’t do it, she told herself. Don’t go look. You’re

stronger than this. You don’t need the distraction…
But like Pavlov’s dog, she got up and peeked through

the curtains.

It was foggy out, but the bigger news was that Sexy

Grumpy Surfer was back. It looked chilly, and yet he was

in another pair of board shorts and a T-shirt that hugged

the width of his shoulders as they flexed enticingly while

he dumped the contents of a shop vac into the trash bin.

It’s in His Kiss 29

Sex on a stick.

He didn’t look up this time, and Becca forced herself

away from the window. She showered, ate the leftover

ranch-flavored popcorn—breakfast of champions—and

gave her keyboard a long, hard look. “Today,” she told it.

“Today, you give me something better than It works.”

Sitting on the bed, leaning back against the wall, she

pulled the keyboard onto her lap.

A year. A year since she’d composed jingles for the

best national brands, and the reasons why were complicated.

She’d lost her muse, and her footing. On life. That

had to change. Hence the across-the-country move. A

new venue, a new beginning. But she still needed to prove

herself, if only to the woman in the mirror.

Her parents wouldn’t ask her to prove herself, she

knew this. Growing up, they’d never asked anything of

her, other than to take care of her brother while they

worked crazy hours in the jazz clubs of New Orleans.

Watch Jase, that’s all they’d ever expected her to do.

Though only two years separated her and her brother,

Becca felt far older, always had. She’d done her best to

take care of him, succeeding better at some moments than

others. But at least the promise of his talent had been fulfilled.

He was a wonderful concert pianist.

Now she wanted, needed, to be wonderful at something,


And yeah, yeah, being worthy shouldn’t be tied up in

financial success—or lack thereof—blah blah. But whoever

had said that had clearly never had to pay their rent

on time.

Her cell phone vibrated. The screen said Jase calling.

Until recently, they’d been close, and had talked fre-
30 Jill Shalvis

quently. Except, just like her early—and short-lived—

success with jingle writing, this too had turned out to be

an illusion. A glossy veneer shown to the world, while the

truth was hidden deep inside them both.

She stared at the phone until it went to voice mail.

Two seconds later came a text. You okay?
Completely okay, she texted back. Liar, liar, pants on


But hell if she’d give anyone she cared about more

stress to deal with. She turned her phone off, ignored the

guilt, and spent the rest of the day alternating between

nesting in her new place and trying to work a jingle about

the male erection.

And maybe, also, looking out her windows a little bit.

She told herself it was the ocean that drew her, but mostly

her gaze was drawn to the alley. In addition to the pullups,

she’d now seen Sexy Grumpy Surfer carrying a large

duffel bag to the boat moored at the dock, washing down

said boat with the same two other guys she’d seen before,

and taking a hard, brutally fast run along the beach with

yet a third guy.

Seemed like maybe Lucky Harbor was a hot-guy magnet.

By the end of the day, Becca needed sustenance and a

change of scenery, so she headed into town. She could’ve

gone to the diner Eat Me, but instead she walked a block

farther, past the pier, to go back to the Love Shack.

She told herself it was the atmosphere. The place was

done up like an Old West saloon, with walls lined with

old mining tools, tables made from antique wood doors.

Lanterns hung from the exposed beam ceiling, and the air

was filled with laughter, talking, and music from the jukebox

in the corner.

It’s in His Kiss 31

She ordered a burger and sat by herself to eyeball the
real reason she’d come back here—the baby grand piano

in the far corner. It was old, and had clearly been around

the block decades ago, but it called to her. She stared at it,

torn between wanting to stroke it, and wanting to run like


Jase might the real talent of the Thorpe family, but

there’d been a time when the two of them had been a duo.

Maybe she’d never been quite as good as he was—not

that her parents had ever said so, they didn’t have to—but

she’d been good enough to boost Jase’s talent. The press

latched on to them early, and they’d even become pseudocelebrities.

Things had been good, until she’d turned seventeen.

With that age had come some self-awareness, and a serious

case of the awkwards. Besides the headaches and

bone aches that had come with a late, fast growth spurt,

she’d lost all coordination, including her fingertips. Practically

overnight she’d turned into the Graceless Ugly

Duckling, exemplified.

The following month, their manager had gotten them

invited to compete at the prestigious Walt Disney Concert

Hall in Los Angeles. The place had been filled with

people—more than two thousand—and all Becca remembered

was being struck by sheer, heart-stopping panic.

She’d tanked, and the press had ripped them to shreds.

Shaking off the memory, Becca paid for her food at

the bar and took in the sign at the register that said: help

wanted. She glanced at the piano and gnawed her lower

lip. Then she gestured for the bartender. “Who do I talk

to about the job?”

“Me,” he said with a smile as he set aside the glass he’d

32 Jill Shalvis

been drying to shake her hand. “I’m Jax Cullen, one of

the owners.”

“Is it a hostess position?” she asked hopefully.

“Waitressing,” he said. “You interested?”

Was she? She glanced at the piano and ached. And
she knew she was very interested, skills or not. And there

were no skills. None. “I am if you are,” she said.

Jax lost his smile. “Shit. You don’t have any experience.”

“No,” she admitted. “But I’m a real quick learner.”

He studied her, and Becca did her best to look like

someone who was one hundred percent capable of doing

anything—except, of course, handling her own life. She

flashed him her most charming smile, her “showtime”

smile, and hoped for the best.

Jax chuckled. “You’re spunky,” he said. “I’ll give you


“I’m more than spunky,” she promised. “I bet you by

the end of my first night, you’ll want to keep me.”

He held her gaze a moment, considering. “All right, I’ll

take that bet. How about a trial by fire starting now?”

She eyed the room. Not full. Not even close. “Who

else is working?”

“Usually on a night like this, two others. But both my

girls are out sick tonight and I’m on my own, so you’re

looking like good timing to me. If you’re any good.”

The piano in the far corner was still calling to her,

making her braver than usual. “I’m in,” she said.

Jax gave her an apron and a quick rundown of what

was expected. He told her that here in Lucky Harbor, familiarity

was key. Everyone knew everyone, and the trick

to good service—and good tips—was friendliness.

Then he threw her to the wolves.

It’s in His Kiss 33

The first half hour remained thankfully slow, but every

time she walked by the baby grand, she faltered.
Play me, Becca

At about the twentieth pass, she paused and glanced

around. Not a soul was looking at her. She eyed the

piano again, sitting there so innocuously, looking gorgeous.

Damn. She’d played on her keyboard, but not a

piano. Not since two years ago when she’d quit. She’d

had a near miss with going back to playing a year ago, but

then things had gone to all sorts of hell, reinforcing her

stage fright and giving her a wicked case of claustrophobia

to boot.

Play me, Becca

Fine. Since fighting the urge was like trying not to

need air, she sat. Her heart sped up, but she was still

breathing. So far so good. She set her fingertips on the

cool keys.

Still good.

And almost before she realized it, she’d begun playing

a little piece she’d written for Jase years ago. It flowed

out of her with shocking ease, and when she finished,

she blinked like she was waking from a trance. Then she

looked around.

Jax was smiling at her from behind the bar and when

he caught her eye, he gave her a thumbs-up. Oh, God.

Breaking out in a sweat, she jumped up and raced into the

bathroom to stare at herself in the mirror. Flushed. Shaky.

She thought about throwing up, but then someone came

in to use the facilities and she decided she couldn’t throw

up with an audience. So she splashed cold water on her

hot face, told herself she was totally fine, and then got

back to work to prove it.

34 Jill Shalvis

Luckily, the dinner crowd hit and she got too busy to

think. She worked the friendliness as best she could. But

she quickly discovered it wasn’t a substitute for talent. In

the first hour, she spilled a pitcher of beer down herself,

mixed up two orders—and in doing so nearly poisoned

someone when she gave the cashew-allergic customer a

cashew chicken salad—and then undercharged a large

group by thirty bucks.

Jax stepped in to help her, but by then she was frazzled

beyond repair. “Listen,” he said very kindly, considering,

“maybe you should stick with playing. You’re amazing

on the piano. Can you sing?”

“No,” she said, and grimaced. “Well, yes.” But she

couldn’t stick with playing, because she couldn’t play in

front of an audience without having heart failure. “I really

can do this waitressing thing,” she said.

Jax shook his head but kept his voice very gentle.

“You’re not cut out for this job, Becca. And there’s nothing

wrong with that.”

She was beginning to think she wasn’t cut out for her

life, but she met his gaze evenly, her own determined. “I

bet you, remember? By the end of the night, you’ll see.

Please? One more try?”

He looked at her for a long moment and then sighed.

“Okay, then. One more try.”

A group of three guys walked in the door and took a

table. Fortifying her courage, Becca gathered menus and

strode over there with a ready-made smile, which congealed

when she saw who it was.

Sexy Grumpy Surfer and his two cohorts.

Bolstering herself, she set the menus on the table.

“Welcome, gentlemen.”

It’s in His Kiss 35

SGS was sprawled back in his chair, long legs

stretched out in front of him crossed at the ankles, his

sun-streaked hair unruly as ever, looking like sin personified

as he took her in. She did her best to smile, ignoring

the butterflies suddenly fluttering low in her belly. “What

can I get you to start?”

“Pitcher of beer. And you’re new,” one of them said,

the one with the sweetest smile and the bluest eyes she’d

ever seen. He had short brown hair he’d forgotten to

comb, some scruff on a square jaw, and was wearing

cargo pants and a polo shirt with a small screwdriver

sticking out of the breast pocket. “I’m Cole,” he told her,

“and this big lug here…” He gestured to the dark-haired,

dark-eyed, darkly dangerously good-looking guy next to

him. “Tanner.” Then he jerked his chin toward SGS. “You

apparently already know this one.”

“Yes,” Becca said. “SGS.”

They all just looked at her.

“Sexy Grumpy Surfer,” she clarified.

Cole and Tanner burst out laughing.

SGS just gave her a long, steady, paybacks-are-a-bitch


“Or Grandpa,” Cole offered. “That’s what we call him

because he always seems to know the weirdest shit.”

“And Grandma works, too,” Tanner said. “When he’s

being a chick. No offense.”

Sam sent them each a look that would’ve had Becca peeing

her pants, but neither man looked particularly worried.

“And your name?” Cole asked Becca.

She opened her mouth, but before she could answer

Sam spoke for her. “Peeper,” he said. “Her name is


36 Jill Shalvis

His steely but amused gaze held hers as he said this,

which is how Becca finally saw him smile. It transformed

his face, softening it, and though he was already

ridiculously attractive, the smile—trouble-filled as it

was—only made him all the more so. It gave her a little

quiver in her tummy, which, as she couldn’t attribute it

to either hunger or nerves, was not a good sign.

“Peeper,” Tanner repeated slowly, testing it on his

tongue. “That’s unusual.”

Still holding Becca’s gaze, Sam said, “It’s a nickname,

because she—”

“It’s my big eyes,” Becca broke in with before he could

tell his friends that she’d been caught red-handed watching

them like a…well, peeper. “Yeah,” she said. “I’ve

bowled him over with my…peepers.”

Sam startled her by laughing, and the sound did something

odd and wonderful and horrifying deep inside her,

all at the same time. Unbelievably, she could feel herself

standing on the precipice of a crush on this guy. She’d

been attracted before, of course, plenty of times, but it’d

been a while since she’d taken the plunge.

A long while.

She hoped the water was nice, because she could feel

the pull of it and knew she was going in.

Purchase It's in His Kiss

About Jill Shalvis
Jill ShalvisNew York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras with her family and far too many assorted quirky animals. Any resemblance to the quirky animals in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website at for a completely booklist and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

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  1. Hahahahahaahaha!!!! The toilet paper part :D "I guess it feels nice to squeeze" HAHAHAHAHAHA OMG I CAN'T STOP LAUGHING HAHA. Ooh, a bet too? I like the sound of this :) Thanks for sharing, Andrea!

  2. I've heard so many good things about this author-- this sounds really good!

  3. I really need to get back to reading this series. I loved the first few books I read.

  4. I can't read the excerpt on my phone but I like the sound of this and I think someone I know has read it and enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I know a lot of people love Jill Shalvis, and this series. I have yet to read anything by her. Someday that will change. Thanks for sharing, Andrea! :)

  6. Does look really good. Thanks for sharing.

  7. This book was so much fun. I loved it (and you can read them out of order, another plus :)


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