Rating: 4 stars
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It feels like Lucky has been in love with Zach forever. He was eighteen when he humiliated himself and finally declared his love for the older man, but Lucky noticed Zach even years before that. It’s been two years since he has seen Zach and while Lucky is now in college and moving on with some areas of life, like training for high-risk search and rescue, he still thinks about Zach. Lucky still holds out hope that one day Zach will see him as more than a kid. Lucky hasn’t told his dads about his training and when they notice him becoming distant, they send Zach to check on him.
Zach first sees Lucky in an uncomfortable situation with an ex who won’t leave him alone and all of Zach’s protective instincts kick in. There is also unexplained trouble stalking Lucky and Zach knows he will never let anything happen to him. Two years haven’t dulled the memory of Lucky and now the boy has grown into a man. Zach had to lock down any interest in Lucky and focus on his career as an Army Ranger. But an incident left Zach with PTSD, migraines, and injures that now have him classified as a civilian and he can’t come to terms with that yet.
Zach focuses once again on work as he takes a job as an instructor for alpine search and rescue. With the high-risk course, Zach hopes he will have no time to think about Lucky. Except, on the first day, Lucky appears as one of his new students. There is no denying the attraction and explosive chemistry between the men and Zach won’t give in to it—until he does. But Zach makes it known that a relationship is isn’t even close to what he can offer Lucky. When danger follows Lucky to the mountains, Zach’s protective instincts are all ablaze and he knows there is no denying what is real between him and Lucky.
I really like the Twist of Fate series and these characters and Lucky has been around since the beginning as a teen. Homeless and living on the streets, he met Bennett and Xander who eventually adopted him. Lucky is now in college and it was great to see him moving on with his life and going after the career he wants. He has never forgotten Zach and always has felt that one day would be their day. He never expects Zach to show up at college and he further doesn’t expect the man to be his search and rescue instructor.
It is not an easy road for these guys. There is no big reunion when Zach realizes that Lucky is grown up as Zach fights the attraction and his feelings every single step of the way. But the chemistry between them is so far off the charts and the payoff was completely worth it in the end. Zach has many issues to overcome. He has PTSD and physical and emotional scars from more than just his last tour. He keeps secrets from everyone regarding his time in the military and the secrets keep piling up as he can barely admit to himself how much he wants everything with Lucky.
Lucky and Zach and all they had to go through to be together and the push and pull and more push and pull between them completely hit the mark for me. However, there were several more plot lines brought in that became a bit jumbled and disconnected for me. There is an issue early on with Lucky’s property being vandalized and it follows him to the search and rescue course, but the resolution of that was too weak for me. The men are also in many dangerous situations that were there to showcase Lucky’s skills but again, not all the scenarios connected to the larger story well for me. Cal, Lucky’s friend from the earlier books, shows up and is in full on distress, and while this seemed to be a set-up for his book, Lucky returns to school without any kind of resolution and the storyline came in suddenly and then was completely dropped. And then the ending brought in random side characters that took the focus off of Lucky and Zach somewhat.
As I started this book, I thought this one would become my favorite of the series, but some of the larger plot lines weren’t as tight as I would have liked. Lucky, however, is one of my favorite characters in the series and seeing him get his HEA was certainly worth it. It was also great seeing the rest of the main characters in the series and reuniting with the family they have created and I would easily catch up with them again for another book.