Review: Reawaken by Christina Lee (Under My Skin #2)


Note: This ARC was provided by the author via Michelle Slagan in exchange for an honest review.

It's been almost three years since thirty-eight-year-old Tristan Rogers said goodbye to his beloved husband, but he still feels the loss of Chris each and every single day. He has Chris's mom and sister as well as all the employees of Doggie Styles, the dog grooming business Tristan and Chris started, to call family, but there's a hole in his life that no one else will ever be able to fill. When he encounters Jonas West Hollis trying to end things with his boyfriend, Tristan decides to step in and provides West the out he desperately needs. The twenty-four-year-old is wary but there's something about the older man he's only seen on his rare visits to the dog groomer's that tells him that Tristan isn't the type to take advantage of him. The two embark on an unexpected friendship, but there's no denying the growing attraction between them. When cuddling has them becoming friends with benefits, the agreement is that there won't be any strings attached. But affection turns into temptation and as strong as their feelings for each other become, neither is ready for commitment, no matter how far they've already fallen in love.

Reawaken is a deliciously slow burner of a romance with a May-December aspect to it, and it's the second in Christina Lee's Under My Skin series. If you've had the opportunity to read the first book in the series, Regret, you'll remember Tristan as Brin Schubert's boss and there are even glimpses at West, but more so his boyfriend, nicknamed "V" (for Voldemort of Harry Potter fame) by the staff of Doggie Styles. Both Tristan and West know all about loss--Tristan having lost his partner of so many years to cancer and West having lost his entire family when he was only sixteen. While Tristan is going through the motions and sticking to his usual routine but not truly living his life or moving forward, West has broken free from a relationship that kept him in a life orchestrated by someone else. Neither man realizes just how much they need the kind of companionship that the other is able to provide until they become so integrated in one another's lives. It's almost as if they become each other's anchor even as West inspires Tristan to move on with his life, while in turn, Tristan supports West as he spreads his wings.

There was no rushing this story because to do so would have undermined what these two needed and that was a solid foundation for what they ultimately ended up having. Christina Lee wrote this book in such a way that there was no way I couldn't become emotionally invested in either Tristan or West and their love story, not with her allowing the reader to truly get to know both men and what they'd been through in their respective pasts. The age difference was, at times, pointed, but it wasn't as big a deal where it counted. I also appreciated that the author took this story in a direction that I wasn't expecting. She could have made this into a whole drama-fest with complication upon complication (i.e. Chris's family hating West, West's ex going all stalker-like, etc.), but she did what she does best and put her own creative spin on this and gave Tristan and West and her readers a more befitting story that was worth reading. There are a couple of supporting characters that I've got my eye on, and they're enough to get me excited for whatever may be next in the Under My Skin series. Five stars go to Reawaken. ♥

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Read my reviews for the Under My Skin series:


Regret (book one) - five-plus stars - My Review

Reawaken (book two) - five stars - My Review (posted above)

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Release Date: 02 November 2017 01 November 2017 (early release)

Date Read: 30 October 2017

Learn more about Christina Lee.

Purchase Reawaken on Amazon.

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