“She needs you — she’s always needed you… You just need to show her that it’s okay to need you too, that you’re not going anywhere.”
I have to say, from the moment I read the blurb, I knew I had to read this book. Second chance romance stories really call to me. I love the emotions involved, I love that the characters have a history, and I love that they have the kind of love that, even after the worst hurt and years of separation, never lets go.
“Things were perfect one minute, and then suddenly they weren’t.
In a split second, their world had come crashing down.”
After a car accident shattered his girlfriend’s spine, Jack McKenna disappeared. Desperate to escape the guilt, he spent four years punishing himself for not having the courage to go back to her. Withdrawn from the world, he threw all his remaining energy into the ring. Fighting was the only thing holding him together. Meanwhile, Ally had been left after the accident with a broken heart and a broken body. The man she loved had abandoned her when she needed him most. And while she didn’t blame him for the accident, she took his departure and four years of silence as an unwavering sign that he didn’t love her.
But when an unexpected tragedy called Jack back home, he had no choice but to face everything he was running away from — including the girl he still loved… and that he’d left forever damaged beyond repair.
“Why didn’t you call? Or write or email — why didn’t you at least try? Did you even think about me at all?”
“I never stopped thinking about you,” he whispered.
Overall, I’d say the story was quiet and slow building, but in very realistic manner. There was lots of healing, very little angst, and very understandable characters. I was grateful that the author didn’t over-dramatize anything. In many ways, this felt like a story that could have really happened.
I really felt like I could understand where both Ally and Jack were coming from. I could feel his nervousness, guilt, and fear about returning home and facing everything he’d left. I could feel her sense of abandonment, balanced out with her strength at having survived this horrific tragedy. And I could feel so clearly that their love was still just as strong as ever, even though they had so much to work through to built back their relationship and the trust that had been broken.
This book was very well put together. There were carefully chosen quotes at the beginning of each chapter that really complimented the story beautifully. It was also written in third person and while it mostly focused on Ally and Jack’s perspectives (even in third person), it also showed us some insight into their friends’ thoughts — but always staying relevant to the central story of their relationship.
The story is very character focused. This accident had changed the lives of everyone involved and it showed us how. It showed us their thoughts, fears, mistakes, healing. But as I mentioned, I felt it was very realistically paced. Given the damage that was done, I appreciated the slow healing process.
While there were understandably conflicted characters, this book had no stupid drama. Naturally, not everything went smoothly, but that’s life. We all do things we regret, but in the end, it’s how we choose to make up for them that counts.
“He felt the pain that poured out of her, a whisper away from being tangible as it filled the air around them. Moving closer, he pulled her to him, holding her close against his chest in a desperate attempt to save them both.”
I really loved the writing. This author has a beautiful, descriptive style that really gets you right into the minds of the character. There were a few times when I felt like the details over shadowed the story but overall, I was very impressed with the writing.
Just so you know, this isn’t a super sexy read. Given the extent of her injuries, Ally actually had no feeling left below her waist. This story isn’t about the sex, it’s about survival, love and their journey back together.
I really have a big soft spot for this kind of story. Something about second chance romances just really gets to me and I love how no two are the same — some are really sexy, some are more emotional, some are fast paces, others are more quiet — each one is different. I would describe this one as quiet and slow building, with strong characters, and a relationship I felt very invested in. In order for me to have given it 5 stars, I would have needed a little more intensity, so I’m going to go with 4 on this one. But this is definitely a book that I am so very glad that I decided to read. It really was a beautiful love story.
Rating: 4 stars. Standalone (with epilogue).