It is clear from the very start of this book that Early and Connor are two people who are very much in love and who prioritize each other and their family. Starting on such a high note meant I knew that the dark point would be even more difficult. However, while the plot arc does follow the course identified by the back cover description, I’d argue that this isn’t a traditional romance story. I can easily see finding this book in the more literary section of the bookstore because of the focus on relationship and family rather than the more typical “second chance” romance I originally anticipated. This did nothing to diminish my enjoyment of the book and even made it a gentler read. The internal conflict between Early and Connor always comes from a place of love and trust, creating a compelling, lower angst story that (like many of Payne and Tortuga’s works) feels like a warm hug.
When one of the authors offered me an early copy of this story to read, I warned her that I tend to shy away from books with children. While I don’t see that changing anytime soon, I was pleased to see quite early in the book that Early and Connor’s sons are not the typical overly precocious children found in fiction. They feel like real children, who are an integral part of the main characters’ life rather than shoe-horned into the story as plot devices. In the same vein, the external conflict that follows the upheaval of their lives is interesting but never overshadows the main storyline, keeping the emphasis on the family life that both Early and Connor crave, despite their other differences.
The resolution of the external conflict is both low angst and entertaining in a way that fits the book’s overall vibe. I’m so pleased that I took the authors up on the chance to read this, or else I might have missed out on another fantastic collaborative work that highlights some of the best of what I’ve previously seen from these authors.
Disclaimer: I received a digital review copy of this book from the authors.