I found myself enjoying almost all of the five short stories in this m/m anthology. Each had a slightly different take on the theme of second chances. I think the fourth story, Dirty Martini, was my favorite.
Non-Negotiable (T. D. Green) – It’s been six years since Alex broke Jacob’s heart and time has not healed the wound. After three years together, Alex bailed on their relationship, just as Jacob’s sister was dying. Now, Alex has found his way back into Jacob’s life through work. And it takes everything in Jacob to say no. But how long can he truly keep up his walls when he never really stopped loving his college sweetheart?
I liked this author’s voice and I felt like I had a good idea of who Jacob was, even with the short story length. But I thought he forgave Alex much too easily. I didn’t feel like Alex actually redeemed himself… just that circumstances and Jacob’s tender heart worked in his favor. This bothered me.
Heart of Glass (L. J. Harris) – I enjoyed this one. It’s basically a story of an instant connection between two men who find exactly what they need in one another. Zack is an American who has moved to Australia to get a fresh start after a bad break-up. Heath is a man who left his wife and old life behind in order to figure out who he really is. It takes hitting rock bottom to rebuild himself, but that’s what he does. His transformation doesn’t become complete, however, until he crosses paths with Zack. Attraction gives way to passion, and ultimately love. I would have been ok without the flash forward at the end, but overall, I thought this was sexy and sweet –and I was surprised by how much I felt like I knew these guys in a very short time.
Better Together (DaNay Smith) – Sometimes love just isn’t enough. Grayson gave up his career as an artist to follow Dom for his residency in Baltimore. But after years of putting his own needs aside, he up and leaves to go back to New York. He rekindles his career. He’s a smashing success. It’s not enough, though. His heart is empty without Dom. But can they get back what they once had?
I liked this second chance romance. Both men are flawed, but there is no doubt about how much they love each other. It was easy to root for them to work it out.
Dirty Martini (Bette Browne) – Daniel was only looking to drown himself in an alcohol induced oblivion when he dropped into Nate’s bar. He had just seen his ex out with another guy. But even through his drunken haze, he made a connection with his sexy bartender. The next night, he went back to the bar, hoping to make a better impression on Nate… and from there a romance was born.
This one is a little sexier than the other stories and I thought the bedroom action was well-done. The attraction between Dan & Nate was hard and fast, but thankfully the author gave them a little time to let the emotions grow. I liked it.
Notice to Appear (C. C. Lorenz) – Things seemed like they couldn’t get any worse for Josh when a lame date turned into a trip to court for driving with an expired license. But after the huge fines and massive inconvenience, the universe added insult to injury when his old high school crush turned up just in time to witness his humiliation. Fortunately, the story only gets better from there. Carter not only remembers Josh, but he asks him out on a date –and turns out to be everything Josh ever dreamed of and more.
This was a sweet first love story, though I probably would have enjoyed it even more if it were a little more fleshed out.
Overall Rating: B
*ARC Provided by Bottom Drawer Publications
Second Chancesby T. D. Green, L. J. Harris, DaNay Smith,Bette Browne and C. C. LorenzRelease Date: August 31, 2012Publisher: Bottom Drawer Publications