He wants a second chance.
I want a divorce.
To get what I want, I’ll have to give him what he does.
OMG. OMG. OMG!! This book was absolutely AMAZING. I swear to you MY HEART WAS RACING on every single page!!!! ***DEEP BREATH*** It’s a super intense, emotionally charged second chance romance between a married couple and — HOLY HELL — the way this man LOVES this woman… His LOYALTY and DEVOTION to her. It’ll take your breath away. I absolutely adored this book and can’t recommend it highly enough!
Nicole Williams is such a strong, talented author. I love the way she writes. Her words bring the stories she tells to life in such a vivid manner that you feel as though you can them unfold right in front of you. This is why she’s what I call an “auto-click” author for me. Every time she releases a new book, I always want to check it out.
From the prologue alone, my heart was already hurting for both of them. I was FEELING their pain. I’ve seen a few people ask why this couple broke up in the first place. The answer is both simple and heart-breaking. Maggie and Canaan had grown up together, dated through high school, and married at eighteen. They were young but they were also deeply in love with each other. Canaan was a fighter. The true reason why he needed to fight is revealed later (and your heart will break all over again), but the bottom line is that he needed it and craved it. The bloodier the fight, the better. And he’d come home night after night to her bruised, cut up, bloodied, hurting, and often drunk.
“Watching the person you loved in pain was worse than experiencing that pain yourself, but watching the person you loved choose that pain… there wasn’t a word for the hell that kind of torture was.”
As much as she cared for him, it eventually just got too hard for her to see the boy she loved destroy himself each night and watch his face turn black over and over again from the hits. It was killing her inside and, for reasons he wasn’t ready to share yet, he couldn’t stop and so she left.
Lying on that couch, he looked so vulnerable. Almost like he needed someone to protect him. From the world. From his demons. From himself. I’d tried. God, I’d been trying for what felt like forever, but the only thing I had to show for my efforts was scars and pain.
GAH the scene where she left just killed me. I understood why she was leaving even though I personally didn’t agree with it. I couldn’t justify her choices but on some level, I could understand it. It was just too hard for her to watch the person she loved self-destruct so violently. And my heart just fucking ached for him. You’ll see why as soon as you ‘meet’ him. Seriously. THE FEELS.
Canaan wasn’t just someone I loved — he was someone I’d shared everything with. He’d walked with me though the hardest part of my life, and I’d walked with him through his. We’d been each other’s beacon, shelter, and compass through all of life’s shit… So how had we gotten here?
Five years later, she came back to town. And that was where the real story began. She came brandishing divorce papers but he begged her for a second chance. He said he’d changed — that he wasn’t the same man he’d been before. And as much as she wanted to run the opposite direction from him, he still made her heart flutter, he still drew her to him, and she couldn’t help but feel some kind of connection no matter how hard she wanted to deny it.
Canaan. I hadn’t seen or heart from him since that night. It was almost like he’d never existed. Save for that gaping hole I felt in my chest from time to time when a memory of him broke free of the box I kept them locked in.
“We were a couple of kids playing house. We should have known better than to think we could make a marriage work at eighteen.”
“I wasn’t playing anything.” His eyes flickered to mind, fire burning in them. “You and me, that was the most real thing I’ve ever known. I wasn’t playing. But that doesn’t change the fact that I fucked things up.”
He asked for a month. One month to prove to her that he was worthy of her love. One month to make her fall in love with him again. If he didn’t succeed, he’d sign the papers. If she didn’t give him the month, he wouldn’t sign anything. He was determined to fight for the woman he loved and he was willing to do absolutely anything to prove himself to her.
His eyes closed as he shifted into just the right spot on the stairs. It’s not over.”
“Maybe. There’s a fifty-fifty chance, because one of us is delusional about this whole divorce thing. Time will tell if that person is me. Or you.”
It’s worth repeating here: I LOVE THE WAY NICOLE WILLIAMS WRITES. She just get it. She understands people very well and knows exactly what to convey through her words to FEEL the story. Reading a written story is such an interesting method of storytelling if you think about it. The reader is essentially blind and they rely solely on the author to help their minds picture the story they’re being told so it’s completely up to the author to tell them the exact details they feel best convey each scene. Sure your imagination can embellish what you know, but you rely on those written words to build the story in your mind. And I guess I just really love the way she chooses to describe each scene. Like, there’s this moment where he opens up the envelope with the divorce papers for the first time and I just loved the way she described it: “My vision got foggy as I watched his hands explore the sealed folder. They looked so different from the last year we’d spent together. No split-open knuckles. No swollen fingers. No dried blood staining the crease of his palms. Other than a few dark smudges that I guessed were grease, they looked whole. Healed.” — Like, those words just tell you so much. If she hadn’t chosen to write that, you as the reader would still be aware of what was happening in that scene and that he was opening said envelope. But because of that description, you not only knew the scene, but could feel it too. That is damn good writing.
Canaan was hella right about one thing. Broken marriage, separation, pain, you name it, nothing could dampen the chemistry they shared. Even if they were fighting at each other’s throats, the attraction between them just sizzled.
“You married me because I was—“
“Because I was in love with you.” The amused smile left. “I want to remain married to you because I’m still in love with you.”
The story flowed very smoothly. Actually, when I was reading, a friend of mine asked me to check in at 20% and let her know how I was liking it and I fully intended to but without realizing it I read all the way up to 30% before coming up for air. The story just sucked me right in.
“A hell of a lot of chemistry sure doesn’t go bad with all of that other love, trust, and respect stuff. Does it?”
… “I wouldn’t know.”
Canaan stopped in the middle of yanking a strip of tape. “I felt like we had those things. Maybe not in the amount we should have, but I always loved and trusted you. And I respected the shit out of you, too.”
Now, I knowwwww some of you will be curious about this. Maggie has a boyfriend back in the city. But he is a) not actual competition and b) not worth sparing any thought over. He was just there briefly. And then not there. He’s short lived, but serves a purpose. Don’t worry.
“You’re a married woman, Maggie.”
“My husband forfeited his rights years ago.” My eyes found his, expecting them to shoot away once mine made contact.
They didn’t. His gold eyes held to mine. “He’s here to reclaim them.”
And I know even more of you will want to know about whether Canaan was with anyone during their separation — for many of you, including me, this is something I really like to know and the answer is NO. Not even a little bit. He is the definition of loyal and devoted. You’ll understand within a few minutes of meeting his character that he is genuinely a one woman man. Maggie was not only the woman he promised to love forever, he was also the woman he wanted to love for ever. So there is absolutely no questioning of his loyalty. Like not ever.
“Let me spell it straight out for you. Canaan has not so much as looked at, touched, or fucked another woman since you.”
“I’m being serious.”
His eyes sparked. “So am I.”
“No one else?” I said after a minute.
He didn’t pause. He didn’t blink. “No one.”
“You waited five years.”
He gave me a funny look, like he doubted my question. “I’d wait forever.”
But OOOOOOMG this book seriously has one of the hottest sex scenes ever in it and they’re literally both fully clothed and don’t even kiss. Curious??? Just read it!!! Gah. HOTTTTT!!! In fact, I think I’ve read enough of this author’s books to be able to say that this is definitely the hottest book she’s ever written.
Back to Canaan. I’m a little scattered here, okay. I literally just finished reading this book and my mind is still buzzing with feels. Okay. Canaan. He is an AMAZING book hero. There’s just something about a deeply devoted married man that is just HAWT. And he’s so tortured!!! The length he goes to win Maggie back and prove himself to her will melt even the coldest of hearts. I’ve always been drawn to flawed heroes. Let’s be honest, Prince Charming is boring. At least to me, I loved the tortured, flawed, broken heroes who mess up and fall down so low because it’s how they make amends, heal, and fix their mistakes that truly stays in my heart.
“We didn’t work once. In face, we were a goddamn chaotic mess. Why should we even think we might have a chance at getting it right the second time around?”
… “Because you can’t write a great love story without a tragedy to overcome. Because that’s when love’s proved. Not when life’s easy, but when it’s so damn hard you can hardly breathe.”
Ohhhhhhhh and THE PAINTINGS *sobs* that was just about the sweetest and most heart-breakingly swoony moment of the whole book. THE FEELS!!!! Gah.
Also, for the record, I highlighted 35 quotes in this book. That’s a lot of swoon!
His hand slid across the desk toward me. “You know how I feel about you. You know I still care about and want you.” His throat moved before he could keep going. “That I still love you. More than anyone’s ever loved another person, but still less than you deserve.”
Honestly, I’m super proud of myself for being able to actually properly verbalize all the reasons why I loved this book here because I wrote this directly after I finished reading it and my initial reaction was more along the lines of HOLYSQUEEEEEEJUSTFUCKINGREADTHEBOOKANDTHANKMELATEROHMYHEAVENLYSWOOOOOOON but of course, a few more details/words were needed. So here you have them. Words. ^^ Woohoo! 😀 #FeelingProud
To summarize: This is one of the BEST BOOKS I’ve read all year. I highly, highly recommend it!!!
Rating: 4.5+ stars!!! Contemporary Adult Romance Standalone