Review: Second Chances by Various Authors

Note: This ARC was provided by the Romance Writers of America in exchange for an honest review.

Second Chances is an anthology from the Romance Writers of America that brings together seventeen talented authors, each one penning an original short story about one of the most popular romance tropes around--second chances (which makes the title rather apt, if I do say so myself). I confess that I've only read novels from three of the seventeen authors included, namely, J. Kenner, Kerri Carpenter, and Damon Suede. While anthologies are opportunities for me to come across new-to-me authors that may tickle my fancy, I chose to read the short stories of the three aforementioned authors for the purposes of this particular review, then read the rest of the anthology when time permits. If you had any idea of how packed my reading schedule is till the end of the year, you'd get it.

J. Kenner takes readers back to the series that made her the household name that she is in the world of romance with One Night, and while we only get a tiny glimpse of three familiar characters--Damien Stark and Jackson Steele and his wife, Sylvia--we get a story between real estate developer Blake Thorton and Damien's personal assistant, Penny (no last name mentioned and not to be confused with Jackson's mother, Penelope, whose nickname is Penny). Blake and Penny shared one hot night together, but the intense connection between them had Penny running off. Nearly a year and a half later, Blake shows up at Stark International, but it seems as if he doesn't remember Penny. Could she have been the only one pining for their one night or could there be a reason for his forgetfulness? As always, Kenner brings the steam like only she can, limited number of pages be damned! 4.5 stars.

Kerri Carpenter gives us a sweet friends-to-lovers story with Homecoming, the best friends being Ford Campbell and Lana Greene. They've been best friends since they were nine, and even though they ended up going to different colleges, their friendship remained stronger than ever. Both have graduated and have returned to their hometown before Ford starts his new job and Lana law school. Lana has one goal: to finally hook-up with her teenage crush. Ford thinks it's a terrible idea, and it soon becomes clear exactly why he thinks that. I adored Ford and thought he was such a sweetheart, especially with how protective he was of his Lana-Banana. On the other hand, Lana clearly cared about her best friend but was beginning to see him in a new light. I would have wished she could have come to her senses far more quickly than she did, but all's well that ends well. I give this 4.5 stars.

Damon Suede has done M/M with a whole lot of heat in the past, but takes things down several notches with his short story, Twice Shy. In high school, Jerome and Wesley--aka Jug and Wince--were the best friends who shared one kiss and then one night of drunkenness that led to an accident. Forced to go their separate ways, they haven't seen each other since they were seventeen. When their paths do cross again, it's seventeen years later with both of them being single fathers who have children going to the same school. Some things have changed, yet it's looking like some things haven't. Jerome is unsure, especially since so much time has passed, but if anything, Suede pens a story about rekindling friendship and how a connection like Jerome and Wince's surpasses all else. I loved how this was a slow burn romance, even though it was such a quick read. This short story receives 4.5 stars. ♥

Date Read: 11 September 2017

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