Ryder is trying his best to see the positives in the company team building trip, but bicycling rough terrain is not his idea of a good time—especially after having a heart transplant not too long ago. But he’s trying his best to keep up and grin and bear it. When Ryder finally concedes to his boss that he’s done for this particular leg of the trip and stops to wait for the van to pick him up, little does he expect the guy driving to sail right on by him and leave him stranded to finish the uphill trail to the next rest stop. Before Ryder knows it, some weird fog starts to roll in and the weather turns cold. Ryder tries his best to stay on the trail, but the fog gets denser and his visibility is so diminished he feels himself go flying off the track and crash landing into…another world? Where is he? There’s a tavern up ahead, but the strangest creatures are inside and he is trapped there—suddenly becoming one of the objects the audience is about to bid on.
Callan is at Whitaker’s auction house in order to bid on the land the fae are giving up so that his pack has a safer and larger place to live and run. When he loses the bid for the land, Callan decides to drop all the gold he has in order to win Ryder with the intent on getting the human out of there and to safety. After all, even though there is something about the man that draws Callan, the wereshifter is still not over losing his mate and he knows he may never find love again.
Author Barbara Elsborg dips into the paranormal world with the valentine-themed romance, Second Chance. Moving back and forth between the enchanted land of the fae and the regular world, poor Ryder swears he must be hallucinating every moment he spends in the hands of the mystical creatures that inhabit the world he was so suddenly dropped into after he crashed on his bike. But once he and Callan fulfill the three acts they must perform in order for Ryder to be free and Callan to get the lands his pack so desperately needs, Ryder realizes the entire time he spent with the fae and Callan was real. A shocking secret is revealed once Ryder returns home that makes him worry that all the attraction he felt for Callan was one sided and based on a lie. As Ryder fights to find Callan, he hopes that in doing so not only will he get back what he has lost due to the fae’s trickery, but also find out for sure if what Callan and he felt for each other was real.
This story was actually quite clever and despite the interesting beginning chapters that contained a great deal of sex—and you will have to discover why that was for yourself–the novel really focused on what compels us to fall in love with another person. I thought the connection that is forged rather quickly between Callan and Ryder was an honest one—not insta-love per say, but definitely instant attraction. I also liked how this story evolved. The author chose to kind of put on the brakes and make the two men really work to get back to one another. This break ended up really testing just how real the draw was to each other and if it would prove to last a pretty serious test.
I do think, however, that the constant inner dialogue from both characters was a bit distracting. I could definitely understand when it happened in the latter third of the book, but earlier between Callan’s wolf and Ryder’s inner ego things got a bit annoying. I quickly realized poor Ryder struggled with self-esteem issues and that Callan’s wolf wanted Ryder and I think one or two passages of inner reflections would have been enough. I just felt it went on for way too long and then it began to throw me out of the flow of the story due to it affecting the pacing of some important passages. I’m not sure if others will be affected as I was, but for me, it was a negative after a while.
Second Chance was a nicely crafted romance with a paranormal twist that proved to be more involved than the initial chapters let on. Despite a few glitches, the story really kept me invested to the very end and it ended up being a fast read for me because it was so entertaining and seemed so heartfelt.