Josefine Torres is colorful. Loud. Outgoing. Confident. On the outside. On the inside, the tattooed beauty, from Los Angeles, is a beautiful contradiction to the persona she presents to the world. She makes life a little prettier through her skills as a makeup artist to the stars. She makes life a little more fun for her friends, like her bestie, Lucia Bell. And she makes life a little more dirty, by taking what, and who, she wants. But only temporarily. Never long enough for anyone to get a glimpse of what’s hidden, just barely, beneath the surface of the face, the self, she lets them see. So how does Gabe manage to see right through the facade?
Gabriel Shaw is kind. Hirsute. Hulking. Handsome. The local bartender, a Big Sur native son, looks like he is descended directly from Viking conquerors, with his burly frame and blond man- bun. He lives his life, making things a little easier for the Big Sur locals, always ready with a drink and a smile. He lives his life a little simpler, spending as much time as possible in the wild nature where he lives. And he lives life a little isolated, a little lonely. Because he’s looking, diligently for someone he can spend his life with. And one glance at Josie tells him she might just be that one.
When these two get together, just one spark from the heat that’s thrown off could burn Big Sur to the ground. Josie’s sass helps Gabe to shed his insecurities. And Gabe’s quiet support allows Josie to realize the depth of her inner strength. Passion consumes them. But reality is a bitter pill to swallow. Can the woman from East LA, who swore she’d never love again ever let go of the past that almost broke her? Can the man born and bred in Big Sur, who’s looking for forever, in the place where he lives and works adjust his ideas of the perfect future?
Once again, Kathryn Nolan’s writing is indescribable perfection. From the beautiful descriptions of the setting, to the poetry of the interactions between Josie, Gabe and the wilderness around them, it is artistry. Her word choices are deliberate and exquisite. The relationships not only between the main characters, but among all of those portrayed in the book make you feel as if you actually a part of the Big Sur Community. And the ending? those very last chapters? Flawless.