Tuesday, 9 July 2019

#CBR11 Book 37: "Nobody But You" by Jill Shalvis

Page count: 368 pages
Rating: 4 stars

This is the third and final book in the Cedar Ridge series. I have reviewed the first two books in the series, Second Chance Summer and My Kind of Wonderful for previous Cannonballs. You don't have to have read these to get the book to make sense, but it has more emotional resonance if you've at least read book 2 (which is about this hero's twin brother).

Jacob and Hudson Kincaid's mother started getting dementia at an early age, and it became very difficult for the twins to manage the household with an absent father and a sick mother. As it turns out, they were not their father's only family, and Jacob and Hudson were pretty much adopted by the matriarch of the Kincaids at Cedar Ridge. She takes them, and their mother, in and the boys help out with the family business. Nevertheless, Jacob can't wait to get out of town when he's old enough, something his twin can't understand. They have a truly epic argument when they turn eighteen, and Jacob goes off to join the army, believing his brother (and extended family) want nothing to do with him ever again.

Jacob has not been completely off the grid, however. Unbeknownst to Hudson, and the rest of his family, he has been calling his mother once a week, visiting her in secret at her care home when he had leave, and has also been sending as much money as he can to help with her treatment and hospital stays. So while he hasn't seen any family members except his mum for the last decade or so, Cedar Ridge is the natural place for him to go when his partner is killed in a horrible accident and he's placed on extended bereavement leave.

Sophie fell in love with and married a rich and handsome man that her parents didn't approve of. She moved to Cedar Ridge with him and did everything she could to please him, only to discover that he became more and more consumed with his status and career, and less and less happy with Sophie. When she discovers that he's been using his precious boat to have affairs with not one, but several women, she is furious. In the divorce proceedings, she refuses to accept anything but her husband's precious boat, knowing that's the only thing that will really hurt him. Unfortunately, because her husband is very powerful, she's suddenly left without a job and a bad reputation in town, forced to live on a boat she hates, when she suffers from seasickness. Spite is all well and good, but it doesn't really pay the bills. She doesn't really have the money for docking fees, so keeps sailing the boat around and sneakily parking it where she thinks no one will catch her - like at the dock by the empty rental cottage - that turns out to be rented by Jacob Kincaid.

Jacob needs to grieve his best friend and try to reconnect with his family after far too many years away. Sophie needs to find a job, a permanent home and regain trust in men and relationships, after her ex-husband did a number on her. They are very attracted to each other, and quickly decide to act on their pants feelings, both assuring the other that it can't be anything but a fling, as they are incapable of feeling real love. I'm sure you can guess where the story goes from there.

This is an entertaining and fun read, and it finished off the story of the extended Kincaid clan (there is also a secondary romance in the book involving the wild Kincaid sister, which was very sweet). As I mentioned before, you can read the book as a stand alone, but the bigger story threads that are finished off, will be better if you've read the first two books as well.

Judging a book by its cover: The only thing I can say in favour of this cover is that it's still better than the twee pastel illustrated thing that they've chosen for the UK cover of this series. This just smacks of excessive photoshopping, and the cover designer throwing something together at the last minute. Um, we need some mountains and idyllic landscape in the background, a lake would be good too. Does it matter if the scenery looks like it's from three different pictures? Nah, I'm sure no one notice. Then just find some rugged dude to paste in front. Bonus if he has dog tags around his neck, since the hero of this book is in the armed forces. No, you don't need to make sure it's neat or seamless - it's perfectly adequate and that'll have to do.

Crossposted on Cannonball Read.

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