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!
Series: Lucky Harbor #10
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: 8/26/14
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ONE KISS CAN LAST FOREVER
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?
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?”
“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
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
“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
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
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:
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
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
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
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
“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
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
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
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.
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,
“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
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!ReplyDelete
I've heard so many good things about this author-- this sounds really good!ReplyDelete
I like this series. I need to catch up!ReplyDelete
Karen @ For What It's Worth
I really need to get back to reading this series. I loved the first few books I read.ReplyDelete
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!ReplyDelete
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! :)ReplyDelete
Does look really good. Thanks for sharing.ReplyDelete
This book was so much fun. I loved it (and you can read them out of order, another plus :)ReplyDelete