Note: This ARC was provided by the author via InkSlinger PR in exchange for an honest review.
Ooh! The feels! Kelly Elliott's Cowboys & Angels series starter had angst, drama, and a whole lot of love lost and found. Love Lost is a second chance love story between high school sweethearts Steed Parker and Paxton Monroe. Steed and Paxton were very much in love but when she needed him most, he upped and abandoned her. By the time Steed realized the error of his ways, he thought he could make up for it only to realize that the love Paxton had for him had morphed into hate. So, he runs off to Oregon after high school graduation and stays away from his hometown in Texas, his family, and the only girl he ever loved for ten years. When circumstances lead him to return home, he has his five-year-old daughter in tow. He wants nothing more than to start over and create the best possible life himself and his little girl, but when he realizes that Chloe's kindergarten is none other than Paxton, the girl whose heart he broke, only she's grown to be an even more beautiful woman...one who still clearly hates him. This time around, Steed intends to right his wrongs and make the girl he's always loved fall for him all over again.
I wasn't a fan of Steed's for the first few chapters of the back. I get it. He was young when everything happened right before they graduated high school, but his abandonment of Pax--not just once but twice!--was cowardly. He may claim that second time was for her because she said she hated him and he decided keeping his distance was best, but great job on passing the buck, dude. I NEARLY put my e-reader down, tempted to take a break from the book and just go back to it later on. But you know what? I'm glad I didn't. Kudos to his family for reacting the way they did when they learned exactly what happened ten years ago and double kudos to Pax for not falling for him immediately after he returned. A special mention needs to go out to Pax's best friend Corina because that one statement she made to Steed when they met echoed my sentiments. And the guy was clueless, for crap's sake! Like it took more than one family member to point out how his circumstances regarding Chloe's mother would be viewed by Pax and how, when everything happened a decade ago, Pax did not lose one person she loved but two.
Now, as much as I disliked Steed for the first half of the book, the guy did win me over, but not at the same point that he did Pax. Yeah, it took me longer than the girl he hurt, but hey, I was offended for her. But I saw how he regretted what he had done--though it seemed like he didn't totally get the impact of his actions within those ten years until it was pointed out to him--and I saw what a good father he was to Chloe. As far as Paxton was concerned, I loved how she stood by her convictions but also knew when to let go and forgive the jackass, erm, Steed. These two also had a great supporting cast of characters, led, of course, by none other than Chloe, and this ragtag group are ripe for the picking when it comes to the rest of the series. I would have given this first book a five-plus star rating, but I confess that the fact that Steed had moved on with his life, got married, and had a child, no matter his being adamant that he never loved his ex, and that Pax had never been with anyone after him just didn't click with me. The second half also seemed to drag a bit, but still, Lost Love was an overall 4.5-starred read. ♥
Date Read: 30 June 2017
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