Living AgainRating: 4.25 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | All Romance
Length: Novel

Daniel Larson wakes up in a hospital following a car accident to discover that he’s got broken ribs, a broken arm, and a broken leg.  Since he lost part of his other leg while translating in a war zone, he knows that he’s going to be completely helpless while he heals.  But his uncle has hired a nurse from a private agency to assist Daniel with whatever he needs.  Except the first time that Daniel lays eyes on his nurse, Jonah Thacker, he’s instantly smitten with the beautiful man.

Jonah is competent and caring, and the two men strike up a friendship during their long hours together.  Daniel wants more, but has no idea if Jonah is interested.  Jonah is, but he’s determined to keep things professional.  Over the course of their conversations, Jonah tells Daniel about his son, Ethan.  Jonah adopted the boy after his sister passed away, and Ethan has multiple medical problem with his heart and lungs, as well as being born without most of his lower limbs.  When Ethan’s regular sitter gets sick, and Jonah can’t find a replacement, Daniel suggests that Jonah bring Ethan with him.  The boy is beyond loquacious and full of energy and Daniel adores him.

The attraction between Daniel and Jonah heats up as their friendship grows, but it isn’t until Daniel is no longer in Jonah’s care that they tentatively move towards more.  Jonah was burned in his last serious relationship and he’s scared to be too dependent on Daniel.  Daniel hasn’t had a relationship since he lost his lover to the same bomb that took his leg, and he’s insecure about his place in the relationship.  It doesn’t help that when Daniel tries to make things more permanent, Jonah resists, they argue, and they both say things they don’t mean.

When Ethan gets seriously sick a second time, Jonah realizes that he’s already dependent on Daniel emotionally and he comes to the conclusion that he shouldn’t be holding back on the rest of it.  Though he still resists, it isn’t until Daniel is ready to walk away Jonah is able to take that final step.

Oh, you guys, this was a good one.  There were a few things I had a little trouble with, but overall, I really enjoyed this story and read it all in one sitting.  Stein gives us a great story with a wonderful romantic build about two slightly broken men who needed to find each other in order to heal.

Can I start with the main characters?  I loved these guys.  Each had different qualities that endeared them to me.  Jonah has such a huge heart, and he’s so kind and wonderful.  He was exactly everything a nurse and a parent should be.  I loved watching him interact with his son and I loved the way he cared for Daniel in his professional capacity.  That’s not say he was perfect though, and I even loved that about him.  The way he handled some situations, especially where his relationship with Daniel was concerned, was definitely not the right choice.  But he’s also willing to admit he was wrong and take the steps to correct it.  His last relationship was definitely bad, and it makes sense that he’s overly cautious.  Especially because he’s the only one to care for his son and he can’t afford to be careless.  When things with Daniel moved from professional to personal, there was a part of himself he kept at arm’s length.  It made complete sense, and if he had jumped in too quickly or too completely, it wouldn’t have felt real.  I love the way the author portrayed him.

And Daniel?  Well, I just adored him.  I loved the way he blossomed and grew over the course of the book.  When we first meet him, he’s just waking up in the hospital.  And he freely admits to himself that when the accident happened, and things started to go black, he was not exactly opposed to dying.  But now that he hasn’t, he’s grateful he’s alive.  As he gets to know Jonah more, and then falls in love with him, he realizes that he hasn’t really been living the last few years.  The way he changed and came out of his shell was subtle, but it was plain to see he was changing and I loved that.  The chemistry between these two character sparked brightly, and they just made sense.

I did mention that I have a few small issues with the book.  Daniel’s Uncle Lawrence was one of them.  He seemed way too over the top.  Not his homophobia, because that was sadly relatable and real, but the actions he took at some points just really seemed too much for me.  It pulled me out of the story because it just seemed unbelievable.  Ethan was supposed to be four, but he acted and talked much older.  Some of it could be explained away, and occasionally his speech was more to his age.  But it also sometimes had me shaking my head.  It was cute, but a bit unbelievable at times.

Another small problem I had was some of the things that Jonah said or did.  I wouldn’t exactly call him inconsistent, but when he argued with Daniel he went to an extreme I didn’t see coming.  Because of this, I was yanked out of the story and had to take a few minutes to figure out why it felt like it was coming out of left field.  When Ethan go sick a second time, Jonah didn’t call Daniel right away.  In fact, it wasn’t until much later that morning until they talked.  If Jonah was so emotionally dependent on Daniel, I would have thought that he would have called Daniel.  If not immediately, then shortly after the event happened. In truth, this really irritated me, and it bothered me that Daniel didn’t seem to have a problem with it.

But really, despite that, I enjoyed this book a great deal.  The plot progressed smoothly, the characters were lovable, and the HEA was absolutely deserved.

A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.

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