Pierce Atwater has borrowed his friend’s condo in Florida and intends to hide away and lick his wounds during the holiday season. A car accident left him badly hurt and then he lost his job. Now he is in the midst of a divorce. Pierce’s only supporter is his sister, Sasha, and he needs time to heal before his bitterness and anger destroys that relationship too. But his plans for a month of self-imposed isolation are quickly disrupted when he meets Hal.
Harold Lombard is everything Pierce isn’t. Cheerful, determined, and optimistic, Hal decides to become Pierce’s personal champion and physical therapist. Pierce doesn’t want to hurt the guy, who is ten years his junior, but Hal’s sense of joy is addictive. Suddenly Pierce can’t imagine having to leave the irrepressible Hal when Christmas comes. Both men have known pain, but together they just might manage a Christmas miracle.
Oh Amy Lane, how I love thee, let me count the ways! She’s done it again folks. Amy Lane is pretty much an auto buy for me and while not everything she writes is a grand slam, Regret Me Not certainly is. Lane manages to pack a walloping dose of sweetness, romance, tenderness, and just a dash of angst into this story of two men struggling to find purpose. Pierce and Hal have each come to a personal crossroads. Pierce is basically starting over after a year of devastating events, while Hal must decide if pursuing his passion is worth walking away from his inheritance. Both are well rounded and have surprising depth given the shorter length of this novel. Hal is a man who needs to be needed and Pierce is definitely at a point in his life where he needs a little succor. But neither overwhelms the other or comes away feeling as lesser. They make an equal and excellently matched couple.
There is a strong element of unhappy families throughout Regret Me Not. Pierce and his sister Sasha have ceased contact with their parents. And Hal has little or no affection for his wealthy, distant, and demanding mother and father. This isolated both men further and very much fuels the idea that families are bound by love rather than blood. The level of angst here is perfect, just enough without becoming maudlin. Christmas is set as a backdrop, but serves as a rather menacing date, one that threatens to separate rather than unite. Normally speedy romances come away feeling rushed and uneven, but Regret Me Not manages to make Pierce and Hal a believable couple, despite their limited acquaintance. This is no small feat and adds to the well- balanced plot and character exploration of the book.
Regret Me Not is a wonderful holiday read, with just enough angst and Christmas cheer to satisfy most readers. Hal and Pierce are a compelling couple and their struggles feel grounded in hard realities, and this makes their path to true love even more enjoyable. Highly recommended for anyone who just needs a sweet happily ever after.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.