Rating: 3.75 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel


Sammy is just trying to hold his life together. Now that he’s graduated high school, his only goal is to take care of his younger brother. And when their mom abandons them, he’ll do anything to keep them afloat. The last thing Sammy expects is for his childhood best friend, Will, to show back up in town. Sammy’s angry at the world, and still angry that Will never wrote back. But the connection between them can’t be denied.

Will doesn’t go looking for Sammy when he moves back to town, but when they cross paths, Will is still drawn to him. But Will isn’t out, and he’s not sure what to make of the attraction. But he knows he wants Sammy, and when he realizes just how bad things are for him, Will only wants to help, support, and be there for Sammy, through the good and the bad. But when the summer comes to an end and Will wants to stay, Sammy breaks both their hearts by breaking things off.

Ten years later, Sammy is in a much different place. With some help, he’s managed to make a life for himself and his brother. And he’s shocked to learn that, once again, Will has moved back to Nebraska. This time though, Sammy doesn’t want details, knowing his past actions are unforgivable. But when fate puts them in each other’s path again, Sammy knows that he has to take a chance. He’s never stopped loving his golden boy, and he will do whatever it takes to prove to Will that he’s worth a second chance.

Will thought he was over his greatest heartbreak, but even though he’s newly divorced, he’s not ready to risk his heart again. Chance puts him in Sammy’s sphere, but he’s still hurt and angry. Through time and conversation, and because the attraction between them is strong as ever, Will gives Sammy a chance. But it’s not an easy road, and the two men will have to work for their happily ever after.

Melody Claire is a new-to-me author, so I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up this book. But I’m a sucker for a second chance romance, so I gave this one a try. I will say, I finished this book with some mixed feelings. There were parts I really liked, and some things that didn’t work as well for me.

This book is told in two parts, with alternating first-person POVs throughout. In the beginning, I wasn’t sure how I would like the two-part narrative choice. Part 1 is when the MCs are eighteen, Sammy has a huge chip on his shoulder, and Will is an idealistic young man. The chemistry between them sparks and sizzles from the start, but Sammy is struggling just to exist and he refuses to bring Will down with him. I liked the push and pull between them, and Will’s relentless support that helped Sammy find his footing. The breakup was inevitable, for several reasons, and the author made that clear from the start. Even knowing it was coming, and knowing that at the end it would all be okay, it was still a heartbreaking scene.

Part 2 fast forwards ten years and the roles are a bit reversed. Whereas Will was the optimistic one before, he’s a bit beaten down by life at this point. He’s also still angry with Sammy for what happened all those years ago, and scared to start something again, knowing he wouldn’t survive it a second time if things fell apart. Sammy, on the other hand, has mellowed with time and stability, and he’s the one who is willing to do whatever it takes to show Will a second chance is worth it. I liked the flip, liked seeing how these characters have grown, and the chemistry between them was just as good. Having both POVs throughout really helped see where the characters’ heads were at. There’s a lot both characters have to work through, and it’s really nice to see them doing so.

But that being said, some of the editing and narrative choices didn’t work as well for me. This is a long book and, in some ways, it needed to be. But there were often scenes I found repetitive in that they rehashed the same plot points without moving the story forward. Some tightening up in this regard would have benefited the book. On the other hand, at times I felt as though scenes were missing, where emotions or conversations could have been more deeply explored. There were times that, despite the length of the overall story, revelations and forgiveness happened far too quickly, so much so that it felt a bit hollow. For me, this book would have worked better if some of the repetitive scenes were cut and replaced with more scenes that showed some of those deeper emotions and conversations.

Overall, I was engaged in the story. Though there were times I wanted more from the story and characters, I did like seeing the past and present, seeing them fall apart and come back together. There are some heavy themes in this book, so make sure you check out the trigger warnings. And though there were parts of this book that didn’t work as well for me, I’ll definitely check out the next book in the series to see where the author takes the next set of characters.