Author: Cari Z
Cover Artist: LC Chase
Rating: 3.75 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 10/17/2016
Length: Long Novel (~ 100K+)
Genre: Gay Romance
Elliot McKenzie is the king of reinvention. Five years after losing his job and his lover and almost going to prison, his self-help program, Charmed Life, is more successful than he’d ever dreamed. He thinks he’s put his sordid past firmly behind him, until he starts receiving cryptic threats . . . and realizes it might not be as over as he’d hoped.
Security expert Lennox West has been lost since a deadly skirmish in Afghanistan led to his forced retirement from the Army. His PTSD makes helping his ex raise their daughter a challenge. When his ex’s sister asks him to set her boss up with a security system, Lennox isn’t expecting anyone like Elliot McKenzie—a man who captures his attention and makes him feel relaxed for the first time since leaving the service.
But Elliott is dangerously stubborn. Even as the threats against him escalate, he refuses to involve the police, and Lennox fears that stubbornness could kill him. A battle of wills ensues that brings them closer to each other than either man expected. But if the threats turn real, they might not live long enough to get their future together.
I enjoyed this longer than usual story by Cari Z. Elliot and Lennox were both easily likeable characters each fighting and trying to recover from their pasts and each working hard on their perceived second chances.
Elliot has turned his need for a second chance into a lucrative and steadily growing business called Charmed Life. Think of a smaller version of Facebook where you are only admitted if you have seriously erred and need that second chance. He is a smooth talker, he is excellent at motivating but he also feels genuine remorse for his past and puts everything he has into helping people get back on the proverbial horse.
Lennox is a retired sergeant who is also working on his second chance but he is bogged down by grief and guilt. The worst part comes for him at night when the nightmares take hold and he relives what he sees as his error over and over again. Therapy is helping him move on and manage his PTSD but ultimately he will only get out what he puts in and in a lot of respects he is like a closed book – he is however determined to see it through in the hope that it will also help heal the relationship he has with his daughter.
Elliot and Lennox work well together – but that’s what the main aspect of their relationship is in this book – work. There is an excellent mystery to be solved and all their time is spent dealing with that when I would have very much liked more time to be spent on them building a relationship. They were great friends, something that happened quickly, but I never felt their connection as anything more until the epilogue. The important parts of their lives, especially what had happened with Lennox, were never shared apart from a quick chat about nightmares. I guess I would have liked more intimacy and less mystery.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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