a shot at forgivenessRating: 4.5 stars
Buy Links: 
 Amazon | All Romance
Length: Novella


Cardeno is generously donating a copy of this book to one lucky commenter! Be sure to see details at the end of the review for your chance to win.

Rafi Steiner never expected to run in to his high school tormenter after twelve years, especially not on a night out with his friends at his favorite restaurant, but he did and he’s less than thrilled about it. And now Isaac Jones, the current NBA MVP – not that Rafi pays attention to basketball – won’t leave him alone. Isaac keeps showing up uninvited wherever Rafi is, even going as far as breaking into his apartment to surprise Rafi with dinner. Rafi is shocked when Isaac confesses to harboring a crush on him after all these years. The boy who made his life a living hell for four years is now a man that Rafi finds hard to resist. Even if it’s only for one night of mind blowing sex, Rafi still isn’t sure he can forgive the hurts of their past.

A Shot at Forgiveness is such a sweet tale of mistakes, forgiveness, and moving on. It’s a story with a minor focus on bullying and the hurt it causes, but most of all it’s a story of healing and love. It’s an easy read full of promise for the characters and their future. And I love the interracial aspect. It highlights the beauty in diversity. And what I like most about this novella is that it’s a chance at a new beginning for both characters. Mistakes were made. Hurts were harbored for a long time, but forgiveness is always an option.

And of course, I love these characters. As always, Cardeno C has a way with characters. Rafi is a man who is out to protect himself and his heart from being hurt. He’s sarcastic and a little jaded. Isaac is a man who can admit when he was wrong. He’s patient and kind. He’s the water to Rafi’s fire. So let me really introduce Rafi and Isaac to you. This is one of my favorite scenes:

All right, so I confess to taking long showers. But not long enough to have missed paying the rent, hereby causing my landlord to move someone else into my apartment. And yet, when I stepped out of the bathroom and started drying my hair off with my towel, I distinctly heard a banging noise in my kitchen. It was too loud to be a rat or a spider, which was a bonus, but because nobody had a key to my apartment, the only remaining conclusion was an intruder. Still better than vermin, mind you, but not exactly shiny happy news.

My next move was straight out of the “horror movie hot-girl who’s going to get it” playbook. I bypassed my phone, picked a vase up off my nightstand, and started tiptoeing out of my bedroom with my arms up over my head, holding said vase. In case you missed it, I hadn’t had time to get dressed.

Are you getting the visual here? Skinny… strike that, slender white dude covered in freckles, blue eyes bugging out, arms held high, walking on the balls of his feet while his dick sort of flops from side to side. Hot, right? Oh, yeah, baby, don’t I know it.

Okay, so anyway, I walked into my kitchen to discuss ceramics with a robber—the only real use for the raku vase—when who did I find unpacking containers from a take-out bag? That’s right, you guessed it in one: Isaac Jones.

“Oh, for fuck’s sake!” I shouted.

He swung around, looking startled. Time-out for a pat on the back for little ol’ me. I mean, I’d been totally stealth on that recon mission. Ball-boy hadn’t even heard me coming. Booyah!

“Rafi!” Isaac gasped. Then his eyes widened and he raked his gaze down my body, even slower than he had in front of my apartment. That Incredible-Hulk-size frame trembled, and he whimpered before gulping two times in quick succession. “Uh,” he said and then took in a deep breath as he dragged his gaze to my face. “I hope you still like lasagna.”

The story is perfectly paced and the writing so smooth. I was engaged from beginning to end. The plot is sweet and effective. I laughed quite a bit. No. This novella is not so much a comedy, but the personalities that  the author portrays are so realistic and fun. I enjoyed everything about this story.

This book gives a couple shout-outs to the author’s Home series. First, it’s set in Emile City, the fictional city that is the heart of the Home series. And second is the man everybody loves to hate from Love at First Sight, Nick Gallaway. And once again, Nick makes himself known in this story in that not-so-charming, tactless manner of his. Again, I love to hate him. He’s a colorful character and I hope someday someone smacks him in the face.

I only wish that it could have been longer to see reactions and the future of Rafi and Isaac’s relationship. But all in all, A Shot at Forgiveness is such a sweet, hope-filled story, and I adore it. I’m hoping the boys might show up in one of the Home series books. I definitely recommend A Shot at Forgiveness by Cardeno C.

Note: A Shot at Forgiveness is part of Dreampsinner’s Daily Dose 2013: Make a Play, a collection of stories that combine romance and the world of sports. And whereas, I have mentioned Cardeno C.’s Home series in this review, A Shot at Forgiveness is not part of the series. It is merely set in the same world with a common character.


Cardeno is giving away a copy of A Shot at Forgiveness to one lucky reader.  Be sure to leave a comment on the post by the time the contest closes on Friday June 7th at 11:59 pm to enter.

  • By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
  • Winners will be selected by random number. No purchase necessary to win.  The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
  • If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner may be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay.
  • Winners may be announced on the blog following the contest. By entering the contest you are agreeing to allow your name to be posted and promoted as the contest winner by Joyfully Jay.
  • Prizes will be distributed following the giveaway either by Joyfully Jay or the person/organization donating the prize.
  • By entering you are agreeing to hold Joyfully Jay harmless if the prize or giveaway in some way negatively impacts the winner.
  • Readers may only enter once for each contest.  Duplicate entries for the same giveaway will be ignored.   In the event of technical problems with the blog during the contest, every effort will be made to extend the contest deadline to allow for additional entries.
  • Void where prohibited by law.

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