Less than two years ago, Lord Rollo met Petyr and instantly knew Petyr was his mate. For a moment, everything was perfect as he slowly began the courting dance. But then, Petyr’s ex-fiancee appeared and with the news that she was pregnant with Petyr’s children. Rollo knew he could never ask his mate to choose between a lover and his issue; Rollo let go…but he never forgot.
Petyr is sick—so sick that not even drinking the blood of a vampire would be a guaranteed cure. Petyr is also tired and fearful his young children will grow up alone. It is that last thought that drives him to pack up his home and throw himself and his children upon Rollo’s mercy. Except Petyr wishes nothing more than to spare Rollo more pain at the expense of the man who rejected him. All Petyr wants is to ensure the vampire will cooperate in finding good foster homes for the children. Then, Petyr can die in peace.
When Rollo catches wind of Petyr coming to him for help, he is cautiously optimistic. But seeing the truth of Petyr’s illness is hard for Rollo, especially when Rollo realizes Petyr means to reject Rollo’s bond as fated mates and even Rollo’s blood—both of which would at least mitigate Petyr’s pain. It takes a close call with death for Petyr to accept any help, any of Rollo’s vampiric blood. But the results are immediate. And with Petyr no longer fighting every moment of every day to stay alive, the prospect of a future, one with Rollo by his side, suddenly seems likely. The only challenge is for Petyr to accept that Rollo still wants his mate, despite the past.
This is a sweet little get together between a human and a vampire. I admit, part of the draw for me was the fact that Petyr had rejected a fated mate type bond out of obligation to a former fiancee—I wanted to see that dynamic play out on page. Sadly, this is glossed over in the first few paragraphs of the story. Nevertheless, the consequences of Petyr’s choice play heavy on the character’s mind even after he starts to get better. For me, I enjoyed reading how hard Petyr tries to convince Rollo and himself that he can’t give in to the fated mate bond. That was one constant in the story and I thought it was a credit to Rollo that he is nothing but patient without being a pushover. In that regard, I suppose Rollo is, well, a rather convenient love interest. He’s immortal and wealthy, so he’s got time and money to throw at Petyr. But the fact that he simply makes Petyr know that Petyr has not, in fact, blown his chances at being with Rollo while still letting Petyr (mostly) call the shots about their relationship was nice to see. I think this dynamic really comes out once Petyr sort of breaks down and drinks Rollo’s blood. The beneficial effects are instant and that creates some space for the former lovers to get to know each other again.
Part of the reuniting process was definitely that Rollo takes a shining to Petyr’s two kids. The children appear in just about every scene and strike an interesting balance between background and plot point. If nothing else, they serve as proof that Petyr did have to marry his ex-fiancee and, because the kids and Rollo get on like a house on fire, that Rollo really could still be The One for Petyr.
The one rough patch for me was the way the author works the intimacy into the story. Typically, I love seeing the main pairing getting down and dirty. But in His Second Chance, it seemed like there was rather a dearth of build up to that intimacy. Yes, I was expecting Petyr and Rollo to give into their physical attraction, but it seemed rather artlessly done. That is to say, all the falderal about Petyr not wanting to be a burden on Rollo and Rollo not wanting to force Petyr into anything seems to instantly melt away at the first popping of a boner. To be clear, sure, I enjoyed the fact that these two were able to make that physical connection before being completely and entirely convinced they can, would, should move forward with a romantic relationship…but at the same time, it was that same lack of complete surety that was at least Petyr’s main hold up. Beyond that, there were a few other intimate scenes and they fared a little better if only because Petyr/Rollo were then established as a couple. I still felt like there was a little to little build up to intimacy, but I guess when you’ve denied yourself for months and all…
Overall, this is a pretty cozy little get together. If you like the idea of lovers reunited and/or fated mates, this one’s got the whole “Reasons kept us apart” but handles that aspect very neatly off-page and before the main story even begins, so you can jump right into rooting for Petyr and Rollo to get together. If you like kids and even if you don’t like kids, I think their inclusion in the story works well for both camps. They are strangely important, present, yet non-intrusive. Die hard fans of vampire stories will probably enjoy this, but the whole fantasty-esque world seemed a bit goody-goody where vampires are more like lords than bad boy rebels or the undead.
Note: The book starts with a date: 3156, Year of Blood. Despite being ostensibly in the future, everything about the setting feels ambiguously like pre-industrial revolution, with horse drawn carriages, inns, etc.