one more try coverRating: 4 stars
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Length: Novel


Two years ago, Tiernan and Joel lost the man that they both loved. Daniel was a husband to Joel, a lover and Daddy to Tiernan, and the man who was the glue that held them all together. Both Tiernan and Joel were overcome with grief at Daniel’s death and their relationship with each other fell apart as well. Joel was so overcome with his own loss that he could barely function, let alone feel confident enough to be a Daddy to Tiernan. Joel always felt that Daniel was the better Daddy and didn’t believe he could do it on his own. And Tiernan was floundering, watching Joel disappear into his grief and seemingly not have the time for or interest in his relationship with Tiernan. Finally, things got to be too much and Tiernan left, sure Joel would be happier without him.

Now, both men are still not only mourning Daniel’s death, but they are struggling without one another. Joel can’t bring himself to change anything in the house, leaving every single thing of Daniel’s exactly in its place. He just goes through the motions, but feels barely alive. And Joel misses Tiernan desperately, though he is still hurt that his boy left him without a word. Tiernan has been living on the streets, having no job or place to go. But he knew he couldn’t stay with Joel, not when the man clearly didn’t want him. But when Tiernan finally gets up the confidence to stop by the house to return something of Joel’s, it gives the men a chance to reconnect.

At first, things are awkward, as both men assume the other is not interested anymore. Even when they have a chance to talk things out, Joel still can’t help but worry he doesn’t have it in him to be the man Tiernan needs any longer. But while Joel doesn’t believe he can still be a Daddy, Tiernan has confidence in Joel and what they could have together. It takes the men some time, as they have to move on from the hurt they caused one another, as well as find a way to take their three-way relationship and make it a partnership with Daniel gone. It is not easy for Joel and Teirnan to find their way back to each other, but the love they had for each other is still there. Now, the men need to take a chance and believe that they can be enough for one another, and they may be able to create a new future for themselves together.

One More Try is the second book in B. Ripley’s Red Door Daddies series. Both Tiernan and Joel play side roles in One More Song, and Ambrose and Hobie have small appearances here, but I think you can read this one as a standalone if you want to start with this book. This story has an interesting set up with two men who used to be a part of a triad now finding their way to work as a couple. Daniel seemed to be the one who really held the three of them together; he was the softer Daddy, the one who seemed to know just what Tiernan needed, while Joel was the one who provided most of the structure. When Daniel died, Joel and Tiernan both floundered in their grief. Ripley does a nice job setting things up here so that I could understand why Joel and Tiernan made the decisions they did, as bad as they were.

At first, I worried this story was going to go too far into the miscommunication/misunderstanding direction, as each man incorrectly thought he was unwanted, but that resolves quickly and most of the book focuses on Joel and Tiernan rediscovering how to be with one another. They worked as part of a triad and now there is just two of them and that change in their dynamic takes time to navigate. Both men also have to start believing that they are enough for the other on their own, that even without Daniel they can work together. And, of course, both are still dealing with so much grief. I liked the way that while Joel is the Daddy in the relationship, Tiernan is still able to be there for him to help him process his grief. Tiernan sees how stagnant Joel has become and he helps him start to move forward. So there is a nice partnership here and I enjoyed their dynamic.

This story definitely is intense in terms of dealing with grief, but I didn’t find it overly heavy and I enjoyed watching Joel and Tiernan rediscover each other. I think fans of lovers reunited stories in particular are going to find a lot to enjoy here. We also get to meet the MCs for what is presumably the next book, and I am looking for to continuing on to their story.

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