Review: Second Chance Summer

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Second Chance Summer
Second Chance Summer by Jill Shalvis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fun and sweet wrapped up in a sexy package. A heartwarming start to a series that made me laugh, blush and left me wanting more.

Lily and Aidan were young, but they were sure they had found a unique connection with one another under the Rocky Mountains’ blue skies and pine-scented hiking trails. Until Lily’s sister claimed Aidan as hers and then tragedy struck, twice.

“Lily’s charms had been more internal, an inner warmth behind her adventurous spirit that Aidan had been inexplicably drawn to… They’d been two adventurous souls, kindred spirits.”

Unable stay in her hometown and face the guilt and constant memories of the people she loved but would never see again, Lilly left forever never looking back, until she returned. Lily doesn’t want to go back to Cedar Ridge, but she’s out of options. Can she face the ghosts of her past as well as the sexy firefighter with the overwhelming smile?

“She’d left because of grief. She’d stayed away because of guilt. Not because of him. The knowledge at once changed things for him and also devastated him—for her.”

Rescuing people is second nature to Aidan Kincaid. He and his brothers don’t just help others, they drop everything to help their family and their own. Ten years ago he let Lily go. Now that she’s back, Aidan has been helping Lily with scaring snakes off, carrying logs and patching up bruises in-between sweet and sultry kisses. But can he convince Lily to stay long enough so he can save her from herself and give them a real chance?

“He wanted to soothe, to help ease the pain, but wasn’t sure how to do that without losing his heart and soul to her. Again.”

Jill Shalvis writes amazingly sexy, protective, take charge and utterly warm and sweet alpha males. Aidan Kincaid is no exception. For the past decade, he tried to mend his crushed heart and move on. But once Lily was back, I loved how his long ago mangled soul couldn’t hold on to its hurt. He understood Lily’s reasons for leaving and didn’t give up on her or them. Making sure she understands that he’ll be there to support her.

“This is too important to ignore… You’re too important. What we’re working on here is too important.”
Her gaze skittered away. “What we’re working on?”
“Yeah,”
he said. “Us.”

Lily was a really great match for Aidan, even though there was hesitancy on her part which I could understand to a degree. She’s strong and independent, but she carries guilt and self-blame, which are strong emotions and not easy to deal with especially when she had no support system, like family and friends, to help her through it. So I was very happy when she finally gave in to the love and care of a wonderful man.

I’m always on the fence with second chance romances. I like to experience the feels but in all honesty angst isn’t one of my favorites and this type of trope can easily take you to over the top drama and anxiety. But as I’ve come to know Jill Shalvis’ writing, she gives us a great romance, with of course some stormy weather the characters have to live through but mostly a lot of communication and understanding that moves the story along in a beautiful way that’s so easy to enjoy.

“What do you want from me?” she blurted out.
He picked up her purse and handed it over. “Worried?”
“A little… Or, you know, a lot.”

His smile was warm and made her throat tighten. “This,” he said, and put a hand over her heart. “I want this.”

Even though I feel there could’ve been more details about their pasts and the time they were apart, I loved every single interaction between Aidan and Lily. From the humorous times when Aidan swoops in to help the damsel in distress even though she stresses she doesn’t need it, to the even more humorous moments they had in the beauty salon, to the incredibly molten hot ones.

I love how Jill not only develops loveable main characters, she also builds an entire community around them with friends and family with gorgeous backdrops I relish reading about. Aidan’s mother was a total hoot and the camaraderie and kinship with his brother’s and sister severed to pull me in further. No matter whether they’re in an emergency situation or just hanging out, the shenanigans between these guys never stop. (Two words for you: man sack!)

Jill Shalvis has become an automatic go-to author for her fabulous writing, wonderful plots and character development. I cannot wait to read more of this new series to see how the Kincaids save their family business while keeping up with the hijinks.

Book Facts: Second Chance Summer is book #1 in the Cedar Ridge series by Jill Shalvis. It’s written from both points of view. Can be read as a standalone with a happy ending.

Actual rating 4.5 stars

* I was given an ARC of this book courtesy of the author via the author’s publicist. The excerpts are from that copy. *

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