Series: Second Chance #1
Published by Forever on January 27th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Barnes & Noble
The Bad Boy Is Back
Evan Downey needs a new beginning. Since the death of his wife five years ago, the brilliant tattoo artist has shut himself away in a prison of grief that not even his work can break him out of-and what's worse, Evan knows his son Lyon is bearing the brunt of his seclusion. Moving back to the lake town of Evergreen Cove where he spent his childhood summers is his last chance for a fresh start.
Charlotte Harris knows she owes it to her best friend's memory to help Evan and his son find their way again, but she can't stop her traitorous heart from skipping a beat every time she looks into Evan's mesmerizing eyes. Charlotte is determined to stay strictly in the Friend Zone-until a mind-blowing night knocks that plan by the wayside. Now, if they're brave enough to let it, Charlotte and Evan might just find a love capable of healing their broken hearts . . .
This book was so fun! I haven’t read anything by Jessica Lemmon before, but I certainly will now. Evan and Charlotte (Charlie) have known each other for years; Charlie was the maid of honor at Evan’s wedding to her best friend, Rae. All three of them spent summers together in Evergreen Cove when they were teenagers, and Evan had taken one look at Rae and fallen head-over-heels for her. Charlie had a secret crush on Evan herself, but she put it aside when it became clear that Evan was completely smitten with Rae. But now Rae is gone, Charlie is newly single after the end of a six-year relationship with a complete ass, and these two are trying to navigate this new relationship.
I love a creative, tortured, tattooed hero, and Evan Downey was all of these things. A former tattoo artist, he’s now a painter and a children’s book illustrator. He loves his son to distraction, and misses his wife terribly. Charlotte’s close relationship with his son, Lyon, is one of the reasons he decided to move to Evergreen Cove. He has really good memories of the town, Charlie’s there, and Rae’s parents are nearby so they can spend more time with Lyon. Evan’s a great dad, and so, so sexy. He never really noticed Charlie as anything other than his wife’s best friend before, but he sees her now, and he’s determined to make her realize how good they’d be together. His one quirk, which I think would have driven me crazy after about a week in real life, was a tendency to drop the opening pronoun from his sentences. “Like ice cream.” “Want a sandwich.” “Going to leave now.” It was okay for the duration of this book, but I can see it getting to me in an actual conversation. Other than that, though, he was pretty much perfect, so I suppose I can forgive Jessica Lemmon for giving him one tiny flaw.
Charlie wants Evan as much as he wants her. She always has, though she put her feelings aside for so many years. But she’s determined to keep her distance. She still feels like it would be disloyal to Rae to start a relationship with Evan, so she refuses to give into any of her feelings. Until she does give into them one hot, sexy night involving her, Evan, some finger paints, and orgasms. I really wanted Charlie to just go for it. She was constantly trying to talk herself out of her feelings, or talking into feeling even guiltier about them than she already did. And, boy, did she feel guilty. About everything. She apologized to everyone in her life constantly. To Rae more than anyone else. Every time she had a lusty thought or any sort of physical encounter with Evan, she apologized to Rae. Sometimes in her head, sometimes out loud. The boyfriend she broke up with most recently, who she’d been with for six years, had done a real number on her head, and she was insecure about everything, from her looks, to her weight, to her skills in bed. Or couch. Or art studio. You get the point.
Together, Evan and Charlie were hot. Evan was on board with being with Charlie from the get-go, but Charlie needed some (a lot) of time to get past her guilt of being with her best friend’s husband, even though the best friend in question had been gone for four years. Charlie’s guilt was really the only thing standing in their way, but it was most definitely in their way. Evan was very patient helping her get past that, more patient than I thought he should be sometimes. I think Charlie could have used a very quick, very loving, kick in the butt sometimes. But Evan didn’t go that route. Instead, he flirted, teased, cajoled, flattered, and generally knocked her well-ordered life off kilter. Charlie didn’t stand a chance.
Jessica Lemmon is a new favorite author. There are a few couples who will clearly be getting their own books, and I’m really excited about a couple of them. I have the next one, and I’ve preordered the two after that. If you’re looking for a great start to a new contemporary series, pick this one up!