Author ~ S.A. McAuley
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Published ~ 2nd October 2015
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
Can you have a second chance at a first love?
Nick Paine is just starting to return to normal after he told his wife he’s gay and asked for a divorce. Despite a daughter he loves dearly and a job he believes in, part of him is stuck in the past. He’s never forgotten the first love he let fade away fifteen years ago.
Adam "Izz" Azzi has settled into a happy rhythm. His daughter is healthy, he's found a mosque that accepts him, and his work as a modern artist is gaining international attention. While his past is fraught with mistakes and what-ifs, his life now is good, and he doesn't want to upset any of the balance he's worked so hard to achieve.
When Nick and Izz are reunited by luck and fate, their attraction is just as undeniable, but what was left unsaid haunts them. They have hope for a future together, but wishing may not be enough.
Although their paths diverged wildly after they lost touch 15 years ago after graduating high school, Nick and Adam both wind up in eerily similar circumstances, almost as if fate had been guiding them back to each other once they were ready. Adam is an artist and his emotions are integral to his work, while Nick is a vice president of a hospital system and necessarily sees things with more of a logical view.
Even after 15 years, Adam is still struggling with losing Nick. He has poured those emotions into his art and is finally on the verge of really putting those feelings to rest. When Nick discovers that Adam is closer than he ever expected, the memories that he has hung onto over the years come back with a vengeance. While all the memories are happy, Nick is not sure why they ever lost touch and not sure he’s ready to face the man who had made him so happy then disappeared from his life. With the help of some meddling friends and family, the two soon find themselves face to face and trying to reconnect.
Different from other S.A. McAuley books I’ve read, this is a low angst, feel good story of two adults finding their way back to each other. The focus is on the rebuilding of their relationship and discovering the differences between the kids they were and the men they have become. Adam has had a more difficult past than Nick, resulting in a lot of emotional baggage. He finds it hard to just trust Nick and open himself up to the possibility of losing him again. Nick is a bit oblivious at first, but he is determined to prove to Adam that his feelings are real and he is ready to be there for the long haul.
While the steam factor is low with few sex scenes, the ones we do get see are intense and meaningful. I wouldn’t have minded a few more as there was great chemistry. The secondary characters made up of Nick and Adam’s friends provided humor, support and bit of snark. Both men also have children and they are an integral part of the story, but do not overwhelm it.
This was not the roller coaster of emotions I’ve come to expect from this author. It was a more subdued story, without excessive drama, a low angst feel good story... with a gorgeous happy ending. I am a big fan of men who act their age and Adam and Nick do that as they work through past hurt and misunderstanding to build a future and a family based on love, trust and honesty.