A photo in a newspaper alerts Colin that the love of his life, Alejandro Ramos, the one he has never gotten over, is back in London ten years after they parted. Meeting at a party during college when Colin fell into Ramos’ lap, they were instantly attracted to each other and were together from that moment on. Even though Ramos’ parents would never accept their son having a relationship with a man, the men moved in together and maintained a relationship for almost six years.
When Ramos’ father became ill, Ramos finally had to return to Argentina to the family vineyard, a condition that was always lurking in the background. Agreeing they would still try to maintain a relationship, Colin visited Ramos at the vineyard to discover the plans that Ramos’ parents had for his future had not been abandoned and Ramos was at a loss of how to stand up for himself.
Having parted on terrible terms, Colin has been heartbroken for years and is still just making it through life after the devastating loss of his relationship with Ramos. When Ramos wants to see Colin again after a decade, Colin knows he is setting himself up for more heart break. One look and both men know the love they have for each other is still there. But, Colin’s career is in London and Ramos has yet to take a stand with his family.
A second chance with the one who got away, the one who walked away, the one you had no choice but to push away, the one who let everything else get in the way. Colin would say yes to all of the above. Colin and Ramos had a great relationship. They were completely into each other, perfectly fitting and complementing each other. They were just meant to be together, but Ramos’ family obligations were always hanging over them. Ramos was really in conflict between wanting a life with Colin, but not wanting to lose his family and life on the vineyard.
So, I have to discuss what I liked about the book along with an issue I had simultaneously, as they overlap each other. The story starts in present day with Colin learning Ramos is back in town. Colin has been coasting through a relationship with an unfaithful man primarily because he looks like Ramos. It is clear right away the love he still has for Ramos. The story then shifts time frame every chapter, from present day, to the beginning of their relationship, to the middle, and then the end of their relationship, but not in any specific pattern and the story is constantly jumping time frames. Especially when I would take a break, I was backtracking to see where we had been and to acclimate to where we were going. Because of this style, we are told overall what happens and then go back at different points to get all of the details.
A lot of emotion that should have cut deep stayed on the surface because the men are together, not together, and then trying to get back together in random order. The angst factor was also reduced as we are told up front that they want to be together. But, Ramos, caught in his own family drama, sure did one hell of a number on Colin all those years ago. The time showing them together is filled with emotion, love, and heat, with hot, dominant Ramos and the two of them together filling each other’s needs completely. But, the time shifts become too sporadic and the connection that should have been there to both characters and their relationship gets lost in the time shifts. The ending, what we have been waiting for, felt a bit unfinished and rushed.
The cover here is an example of not judging a book by its cover and all that. This cover just does not appeal to my eye visually and at first it did turn me off to actually wanting to read the book. I have yet to discover what it has to do with the story. The guys do meet up at a gallery at one point, but the paintings are never discussed. It does not fall in line as a representation of how Ramos is described and the cover does not fit in with the tone of the book. It is, however, easy to move past it and open up to the story.
Ultimately we find a story of the one, the only one, the one who got away. A lovers reunited story with well written characters, but with family obligations keeping them from the life they were meant to have, while navigating intense hurt, and trying to overcome it all for a second chance.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.