Note: This ARC was provided by St. Martin's Press in exchange for an honest review.
“Elliott?”“Yeah, Lee.”“Don’t make me fall in love with you. I’m not sure my heart is quite ready for it yet.”
I should have known the second Preload novel was going to be an irresistibly angsty read! My reading experience with Jordan Reclaimed, the Preload series starter, more than clued me in that this was going to be an intense collection of books, but Scarlett Cole's story about Elliott Dawson, Preload's guitarist, was heartrending. However, just when things feel hopeless, the author never fails to remind readers that hope is not lost after all, and that happy endings aren't impossible, no matter what the circumstances. If the rest of the series gets any better than this, I'm going to have to start investing in tissues, and tissues are a testament to all that angsty goodness I crave.
With her fourteen-year-old son Daniel in the burn unit of SickKids Children's Hospital, Kendalee Walker's one and only support system is herself. Her estranged husband's dishonest ways, both in the business they owned and with their marital vows, have led to Kendalee being homeless and barely able to make more than the bare minimum for herself and Daniel. With the injuries Daniel sustained from the fire that he started, Kendalee is trying her best to hold things together and she would give anything to see her son smile again. Who would have thought that the answer to her prayers would come in the sexy form of the guitarist for Daniel's favorite heavy metal band Preload?
Twenty-seven-year-old Elliott Dawson can clearly see the parallels between him and Daniel Walker, and as much as he knows he can help the teenager who could very well be an arsonist, Elliott also knows that his wounds that have never fully closed can't be ignored for much longer. When he begins to develop feelings for Daniel's mother, the ten-year age difference is the least of his worries. Kendalee's husband makes it clear that he wants his wife and son back and then there are all the secrets that Elliott has yet to reveal to the woman he's falling for. Once Kendalee learns what he's been holding back on, will she hold on to the man she loves or abandon him like so many before?
Sigh. These Preload guys. The more I get to know them in this series, the more my heart both breaks and cheers for them. They've all achieved success as musicians, but they each have that child within that had no other choice but to endure what they went through before they all became foster brothers. Elliott is a pyromaniac, and while he's dealing with his condition the best way he knows how, being around Daniel forces him to face his demons that seem to have been wearing masks, if only to make his pyromania seem like it's more manageable than it actually is. I loved how his foster mothers and the rest of the guys were there for him, reminding him that they were family.
From the age difference to Kendalee's ambiguous relationship status, there were layers of complications that Elliott and Kendalee had to deal with, and I do love me that kind of stuff when it's written well (and it sure as hell was!). One of my favorite things about the book, however, had to do with Elliott's relationship with Daniel. There was a kinship there, one that may seem like it was easily formed, but with everything Daniel endured, trust is difficult to earn AND to maintain with an adult. Daniel became as much of an anchor for Elliott as the rock star was for him. Elliott Redeemed was a story about family, redemption, and acceptance and I highly recommend it. Five-plus stars. ♥
Read my reviews for the Preload series:
Jordan Reclaimed (book one) - five stars - My Review
Elliott Redeemed (book two) - five-plus stars - My Review (posted above)
Release Date: 05 September 2017
Date Read: 03 September 2017
Learn more about Scarlett Cole.