Series: The Ones Who Got Away, #2
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on June 5, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Most days Rebecca Lindt feels like an imposter...The world admires her as a survivor. But that impression would crumble if people knew her secret. She didn't deserve to be the one who got away. But nothing can change the past, so she's thrown herself into her work. She can't dwell if she never slows down.
Wes Garrett is trying to get back on his feet after losing his dream restaurant, his money, and half his damn mind in a vicious divorce. But when he intervenes in a mugging and saves Rebecca―the attorney who helped his ex ruin him―his simple life gets complicated.
Their attraction is inconvenient and neither wants more than a fling. But when Rebecca's secret is put at risk, both discover they could lose everything, including what they never realized they needed: each other
She laughed and kissed him. This morning she'd melted down. But somehow this man had her laughing and turned on only a few hours later. Everything inside her felt buoyed.
She'd forgotten what that felt like.
I have to admit that I’m a little torn on this one, and I’m struggling to write this review.
On the surface, it’s another 5-star read from Roni Loren. Her books are so good, they always manage to make me feel everything right along with the characters without being overly dramatic. This one was no different, but unlike most of the Roni Loren books I’ve read, I came away from this one feeling somewhat unsettled.
Rebecca Lindt is a divorce lawyer. Specifically, she’s an uptight, rigid, somewhat stunted divorce lawyer who can’t understand why people even bother with relationships in the first place. We’ve all seen this before – the divorce lawyer who has seen so much that they can never understand why anyone even bothers, who only needs to meet their soulmate and suddenly love is all puppies and rainbows.
That’s not exactly how it goes here, though. Rebecca is a divorce lawyer, but she also survived a school shooting when she was in high school, and she still has the scars, both physical and mental. She’s mugged one night on her way home, and when one of the muggers pulls out a gun, her mind immediately takes her back to that night and she can’t move to defend herself. Wes Garrett comes over to help, but not before the muggers steal her purse and shoot the stray dog who had come to her defense. (The dog makes a full recovery. The book would be a DNF otherwise).
Rebecca recognizes Wes as the now-ex-husband of one of her clients, a man she basically helped to destroy. She helped her client take everything from Wes, based on the fact that he was cheating on his wife. Everything. He lost his home, the restaurant he was just opening, his wife, everything. When we meet him, he’s just starting to get his life back together. He’s making enough money to live on, but he’s also trying to save enough money to follow a different culinary-inspired dream. He’s also in recovery, having recently stopped drinking.
This is my issue with this book. Neither one of these people should be in a relationship right now. As cute and as charming as they are together, they are both is really precarious positions in their lives, and that should be the focus for each of them. Rebecca went to a few therapy sessions after the shooting in high school, but that’s it. She hasn’t dealt with it at all, and she’s at a point now where it’s all being brought back on a regular basis because of a documentary being made about the entire thing.
Wes is doing better now, but he’s still really bitter about how things ended with his ex. He didn’t cheat on her, she lied about that and hired Rebecca to take absolutely everything from him in court. He eventually developed a problem with alcohol, which he’s currently in recovery to deal with. He does not need to start dating right now.
This was a good example of the right people meeting at the wrong time. Rebecca and Wes get a well-deserved HEA, but I wasn’t convinced that it was the right time for them to go after it. I would have preferred if they had dealt with their own issues first. I don’t believe that love conquers mental health issues, and I think their relationship would have been better if they’d each dealt with their own shit before getting together.
However, as is usual with Roni Loren, the book was beautifully written, and I did think that Wes and Rebecca would have potential as a couple, even though I thought the potential would be more fully realized at a different point in their lives.