Wild Kisses (Wildwood #2)
Montlake / January 10, 2017 / $12.95 print, $4.99 digital
A “second chance” romance usually refers to the main characters having an opportunity to reconnect and have a second chance at love, but I also think of this trope when the characters need a second chance at life. In Skye Jordan’s latest, Wild Kisses, the main characters are trying to outrun the mistakes of their youth that put their lives in a tailspin. They have paid the consequences for their mistakes, and they are both trying to restart their lives. But they find not everyone believes that someone deserves a second chance.
Trace Hutton is trying to rebuild his life after several years in prison on a drug possession charge. He has paid dearly for that bad decision. He returned to Wildwood to take care of his aging father and to rebuild the construction business that he was forced to leave behind. There aren’t many who are willing to support him. Most of the people in town have known him all his life, but being a good kid and kind to your neighbors, doesn’t mean anything after you have spent a few years behind bars. Those small-town neighbors now only see an ex-con and instead of giving him a helping hand and a second chance, they are waiting around to see if he falls again.
“I didn’t know how to take care of my mom or my brother. When I was twenty-two, those fears were very real, and I didn’t see any help on the horizon. When I was twenty-two, I didn’t know what prison was like or how much it would change me. When I was twenty-two, I didn’t know how being an ex-con would label me for the rest of my life.”
Avery’s prison wasn’t made of bars, but of her own choices. Avery ran away with her boyfriend at seventeen. They married and he joined the army. Then Avery spent all of her time waiting; waiting for him to return from his deployment, waiting for him to write her or call her, then waiting for him to show her some type of affection. Even when he returned physically, he was gone emotionally. It took Avery eight years to acknowledge that her husband survived the war but her marriage died a long time ago.
Warmth suffused Avery’s heart, and those damned tears stung her eyes again. She’d gone years without crying. Years living more or less numb. She hadn’t realized how numb until she’d gotten here and old friends and estranged family refilled her life with warmth and love, acceptance and happiness.
Avery is the only one who understands how hard it is to rebuild your life and how much it means to have someone believe that you can be better than the person you used to be. So it is Avery who is willing to give Trace a chance to prove his skills and to let him rebuild her father’s old bar into her new bakery so that she can restart her own life. The success of her bakery is the one chance for both of them to finally turn their lives around for the better.
An upbeat song from Lifehouse echoed through the unfinished space, its lyrics filled with hope and talk of fresh starts. That’s what this project was about for both him and Avery—the perfect opportunity for each of them to give their lives a boost.
Yet as hard as Avery and Trace work to prove themselves, not everyone is as supportive as they want the world to believe. There are those who are waiting to see if Avery’s business fails before or after the ex-con goes back to prison.
People can make such foolish choices in their youth. Sadly, it is only after suffering the consequences that they realize just how badly one decision impacts their entire future. There are those that will learn from those mistakes and rise above them—but having an opportunity for a second chance at getting it right might be more than some people are willing to give. Maybe you only need that one person to believe in you so that you can begin to believe in yourself.
Learn more about or pre-order a copy of Wild Kisses by Skye Jordan, available January 10, 2017:
H&H Editor Picks:
Lucy Dosch writes book reviews for her blog http://ebookobsessed.com. Her e-reader has turned her love of reading into an obsession. When she is not reading, she likes to spend time with her husband and two daughters.