Can you have a second chance at a first love?
Nick Paine is just starting to return to normal after he told his wife he’s gay and asked for a divorce. Despite a daughter he loves dearly and a job he believes in, part of him is stuck in the past. He’s never forgotten the first love he let fade away fourteen years ago.
Adam “Izz” Azzi has settled into a happy rhythm. His daughter is healthy, he’s found a mosque that accepts him, and his work as a modern artist is gaining international attention. While his past is fraught with mistakes and what-ifs, his life now is good, and he doesn’t want to upset any of the balance he’s worked so hard to achieve.
When Nick and Izz are reunited by luck and fate, their attraction is just as undeniable, but what was left unsaid haunts them. They have hope for a future together, but wishing may not be enough.
Published: October 2, 2015
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: 246 (approximate e-book)
POV: 3rd Person
Dates I read this: October 4-6, 2015
Edition I read: Kindle
See the book on GoodReads.
This was my first actual S.A. McAuley book where she was the sole author. I read Ruin Porn a few weeks ago where she’d paired up to co-author with SJD Petersen. I enjoyed that immensely and realized I needed to read S.A.’s work…and what better place to start than a new release?
I’m a bit torn.
On one hand, I absolutely loved and enjoyed this overall and cannot wait to read more from this author. On the other hand, I had a few quibbles holding me back from that elusive fifth star.
I feel bullet points are in order.
The One Hand:
- I love second-chance romance
- I love a good M/M de-virginizing
- I’m accepting as fact that I really do (occasionally) like the presence of children in my romance stories. (I don’t have them…I generally think they’re cute from afar, but sticky smelly monsters up close)
- I love introspection and growth from the MCs
- I love a moody, brooding artist
- I go crazy nuts for well done imagery and there was some good stuff in here
- The sex was slow-burn and scorching.
See? Good Stuff.
The Other Hand: (Warning: possible very mild spoilers that I’m not tagging because they really are minor)
- There were a few scenes that lagged for me, where maybe introspection or description seemed to take a little bit too long and my attention started to wander. I’ve never been diagnosed with ADD…but fully admit this may be a case of “it’s me and not the book” because there’s also been some real-life stuff on my mind that might have decided to hijack my attention.
- I liked the kids…but I didn’t really warm up to them. They were almost too perfect. I think I tend to like the little monsters to be…well, monsters.
Side note on Miri…I can’t figure out if it’s a quibble or me being defensive – but pulling on my heart strings and making me sob uncontrollable tears over a sick kid…low. Just…low.
- I liked the side/supporting characters, but for some reason had a hard time keeping Daniel and Charlie straight—who belonged to whom as a BFF sort of thing. They seemed almost like one character.
- I wasn’t fond of Nick’s ex-wife. I suppose I wasn’t meant to be. But, her role seemed almost unnecessary since we didn’t see much of her and her main purpose was to glare and sneer and be a bitch-face. And I couldn’t understand why she seemed to have so little interest in her own child. I’m sure it would be a whole ‘nother book to explore that. I get really judgy about parents who don’t fight to be in their kid’s lives. It’s good she realized Katie was better off with her dad, but her absence and lack of effort to be in Katie’s life was unforgivable. Had it seemed like she was trying to make some actual progress on this front I might could give her some leeway. See? This could be a book on its own!
- So many coincidences…maybe this was by design, if so..I don’t think I got what the author was trying to achieve. Possibly some existential alignment-of-the-stars-this-proves-we’re-meant-to-be story? Maybe. I’ll go with that.
My quibbles are trivial.
Overall I thought this was a solid read.
This review also posted on GoodReads.