Always On My Mind by Jill Shalvis (Lucky Harbor #8)

Always on My Mind by Jill ShalvisAvailable: September 24, 2013 Amazon/B&N

Type: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Grand Central

My Copy: NetGalley

Reviewer: Nikki


After dropping out of pastry school and messing up her big break on a reality cooking show, Leah Sullivan needs to accomplish something in her life. But when she returns home to Lucky Harbor, she finds herself distracted by her best friend, Jack Harper. In an effort to cheer up Jack’s ailing mother, Dee, Leah tells a little fib – that she and Jack are more than just friends. Soon pretending to be hot-and-heavy with this hunky firefighter feels too real to handle . . .

No-strings attachments suit Jack just fine – perfect for keeping the risk of heartbreak away. But as Jack and Leah break every one of their “just friends” rules, he longs to turn their pretend relationship into something permanent. Do best friends know too much about each other to risk falling in love? Or will Jack and Leah discover something new about each other in a little town called Lucky Harbor?

The ever popular Jill Shalvis returns once more to her fictional ocean side town, Lucky Harbor, with the release of Always On My Mind. I always enjoy a Jill Shalvis book and eagerly await each one.

Coming back to the town she left behind years ago, disgraced reality star Leah knows she can’t stay long. She never stays long. Anywhere. With the finale of the show she starred on quickly approaching the last episode, the clock is ticking. But helping out her recovering grandmother is causing her to stick around longer than she’d like.

Commitment phobe Jack is perfectly okay having a string of short and sweet relationships. Especially while he’s trying to take care of his mother during her Cancer treatments. With the return of his childhood friend Leah, old feelings are quickly re-emerging and when she lies to his mother to make her happy, they get thrown together way more than he’d like.

Trying to keep their pretend relationship a secret is easier said than done in a town like Lucky Harbor. Pretty soon everyone thinks they are together and the longer the charade goes on, the more Leah thinks they should be together too. For real.


This was a solid addition to the Lucky Harbor series for Shalvis. I found Always On My Mind to be consistently well wrote from beginning to end. There was never a dull moment or one where I felt the need to skim. So, pretty typical of a Jill Shalvis book for me.

Leah and Jack together had a lot of chemistry. Even though Jack was relationship shy, his long past with Leah helped to bring them together at a believable pace.  I always enjoy a friends to lovers story and that is exactly what I got with this one. Oh…and Jack is a fireman…so that’s always a win for me too. Jack has always been Leah’s touchstone. The person who held her as she cried when she was a child. The teenager who fought her bullies for her. The man she called whenever she needed to hear a friendly voice. But she can’t reveal her disgraceful reason for being back in town, even to him. His love for his mother was evident and the fact that he was doing everything in his power to help her made me love him just a little bit more.

Leah has some horrible self esteem, courtesy of her overly controlling father. This has caused her no amount of problems as an adult. Panic attacks and low self worth are prevalent in her personality. I felt bad for her to some degree but I also thought she should get over it. There were several times I got overly annoyed with her. I wanted her to confront it and realize she’s not only her past way before she actually did. No wonder she never got anywhere…she was constantly sabotaging her own happiness.

When the truth about the reality show finally comes to light I thought it fit in with Leah’s character quite well….BUT….I thought it was a bit anti-climactic. I was primed for something much bigger to come to light. I guess it just goes to show you that the things you build up in your own mind are usually much less of an issue for everyone else in your life.

Secondary characters once again steal the limelight from time to time. I really like Ben (Jack’s cousin) and Aubrey (Leah’s friend) and I can’t wait to find out how they navigate their budding attraction to each other. Friendship is always a continuing theme with the pages and without it I fear a lot of these characters would never find their way. Even Kevin, Jack’s lovable Great Dane (btw I’s jealous, I want a Great Dame SO bad) takes over from time to time. Gotta love a man who loves his momma AND his puppy. 🙂

Shalvis has yet another winner on her hands! Easily read whether you’ve enjoyed other books in the series or not, I highly recommend Always On My Mind! I can’t wait for book 9, Once In A Lifetime (Ben’s story).


I give Always On My Mind by Jill Shalvis 4 stars!


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