The easiest takeaway from this book to start this review is that it is extremely long—but it’s one of those stories that supports its weight and deserves every scene. The most difficult takeaway is that this is truly a tale of redemption, like it says on the tin. Redemption is not the same as a second-chance romance. There will be no second chance for Eddie with Cory, whose memory is very much a complete character in this book, just like there was never a real first chance for Pike with Ryan. Both of these men could have overcome the pain in their hearts on their own; however, the twist of fate (or at least the movie producer) that brings these characters together allows them to support each other along the journey.
The biggest stumbling block for these characters on the road to their relationship was communication. Assumptions are made at almost every turn, for everything from interior décor to the extent of their physical connection. These points of conflict worked well for everything except the inherent aspects of the relationship dynamic Eddie and Pike try to build, in which communication is a must-have for elements of power exchange. While I think I understand why the author went in the direction they did, I sometimes found the lack frustrating more often than compelling.
Overall, this is a solid stand-alone novel that I have no regrets about spending my time on. It is a book that does not need a sequel, but I’ll certainly keep my eye out for more works by this author that appeal to me and give them a chance.
Rating: 4 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.