Hey, remember when I got sick a few weeks ago? Would you believe I’m STILL sick???
I had to go back to the doctor this week to get stronger antibiotics because the Amoxicillan wasn’t cutting and had left me with some serious ear/jaw/face pain, and I’m *still* not feeling great (coughing, runny/stuffy nose, ear/jaw pain and lack of hearing in my left ear, which is weird). I’ve got a message into my doctor this morning; she wanted me to call if I still wasn’t feeling great by Friday, so…we’ll see.
All that is to say that the other night, I was feeling like hot boiled crap and could barely move. I desperately needed something to read that I could just get lost in, something that I could enjoy but not have to work for. I’ve been wanting to read Lauren Dane for ages (seriously, she’s straight fire on Twitter), and her Second Chances (Carina Press, 2010) was available as an ebook at my library. Onto my kindle it went, and I crawled into bed and started reading.
After ten years of living in Paris and traveling the world, Rori Simon has returned to her small hometown of Oakley, TN for good. Her ex’s cheating was more than she could take, and she’s glad to be back near her family, especially her sister, even if their mother is more than a little judgmental and overbearing. It doesn’t take long before Rori, a late bloomer who definitely blossomed during her time away, begins attracting all the hot hometown hunks, including Jude, local libidinous Lothario and the half-brother of Rori’s sister’s husband. Jude is spicy hot and everything Rori’s ever wanted, but when Jude’s immaturity rears its ugly head, Rori finds comfort and long-term happiness in the arms of Zach, an old friend’s younger brother.
But remember the title: Second Chances has a lot of twists and turns, situations that you might not see coming, and impressive character growth. It’s romance at a fairly high heat level, including quite a bit of BDSM and D/s (I’m not opposed to reading that, but I hadn’t noticed the allusion to it in the Goodreads blurb and so it surprised me a little when it showed up), so if that’s not your bag, baby, there are plenty of other great books in the sea!
Rori was a little too perfect for me to really enjoy her as a character. I did like that she was a writer, and apparently a successful one at that, making a living off of her novels. Characters who are involved in any aspect of writing and publishing always make my reader heart happy. And Zach…he was a giant teddy bear of a character who was beyond sweet and sexy. I had his character arc pegged from the start, but Jude… Jude was a serious prick of a character in the beginning. I really liked his redemption arc and how much he changed by the end. It’s rare for my feelings to shift so dramatically about a character, so Lauren Dane really worked some magic here.
While I do have to suspend my disbelief a little for novels like these- small hometowns that are *that* overrun with searingly hot, single men who are instantly drawn to the heroine like cat hair to black pants? I mean, I’ve seen the dudes from my hometown and yikes– this book was exactly what I needed when I needed it: something light, fluffy, easy to read, a book that I didn’t need to think about but could just fall into and enjoy. There’s not a huge, overarching plot, no novel-length goal that Rori’s aiming for; Second Chances is more the story of trying to build- and rebuild- a life upon one’s return home, and it’s been interesting to look back on the novel and see exactly how many second chances really were in this book. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more of what Lauren Dane can do in the future.
A side effect of reading this book was making the song Second Chance by .38 Special, one of the WORST APOLOGY SONGS EVER, run through my head constantly. The song is about a dude who cheated on his girlfriend and is trying to woo her back, with such horrifying lines as,
I never loved her
I never needed her
She was willing and that’s all there is to say
Like…bro…you’re not helping your case one bit by framing it like that. Maybe don’t do that?
Are you a Lauren Dane fan? Care to recommend any of her other books to me? My TBR list awaits!