Dec 4 2014 2:00pm

This Time Around: Second-Chance Romances from Banks, Leigh, and More!

Today, author Jessie Lane joins H&H to talk about second chance romances. Jessie's latest release, Stripping Her Defenses, is the second book in her Ex-Ops series, and has an ex-couple who meet up again in the course of an undercover (in more than one way!) investigation. She loves the trope, and wants to share why with all of us. Thanks for joining us, Jessie!

I love second chance romances like my kids love cake: with such a passion that I consume it in five seconds flat. Okay, maybe I can’t read a book in five seconds flat, but let’s just say that I don’t put that sucker down until I’m done … or the husband pries my tablet from me.

What’s not to love? The heartbreak. The angst. The turmoil of swirling emotions as the characters play a Russian roulette game of ”he loves me, she loves me not.” Oh, the feels! These are all reasons for why I started my Ex Ops Series. The overall theme of the series is about second chance romance in one form or another.

What I love most about this sub-genre of book is the varied reasons behind the split. Miscommunication—or lack of communication—tragic events, or the H/h dealing with some sort of debilitating heartbreak to their partner are all common themes. Those breathtaking moments where you feel that pain, that agonizing emotion tearing through you, is the main reason I love these books.

The second reason I love second chance romances is the question of how a couple comes back from that sort of pain. The H/h’s fight to become a couple again is usually rife with ups and downs. It’s an inevitable roller coaster of slights, uncertainty, and hopefully, in the end, a reborn love. Nasty words are thrown at each other, and in the best books, sometimes the heroine throws more than words, like an object at the hero’s head. Then there are the internal battles each character goes through. Can they take the chance of loving this person again? Will their heart be broken a second time?

Periodically, an author throws a different sort of relationship killer into the mix: a health ailment of some sort. In my latest release, Stripping Her Defenses, the couple not only has a lack of communication then the tragic loss of their unborn son, but the heroine also has undiagnosed mental issues. Because she hides these issues, her husband can’t understand her occasionally drastic and frustrating behavior. Eventually, the two divorce.

Another author who wrote about a second chance romance involving a health ailment was Sophie Oak—aka Lexi Blake—in Away From Me. In the story, Callum, the hero who is also a Dom, has already lost a wife. Loneliness leads him to find a Sub, Gaby, but he makes it clear there will never be more than their Dom/Sub relationship. He has no desire to ever marry or involve his feelings again. The problem is, his Sub falls in love with him. When she finds out she has breast cancer, she asks him if he loves her without telling him why she’s asking such a question.

Of course, he tells her no, and she packs up her bags then leaves him in the dust without ever telling him about the cancer. I loved the health spin on this story. It was such a breath of fresh air for the second chance romance sub-genre, and Sophie Oak wrote it beautifully.

Maya Banks also tackles a completely different spin on a second chance romance in The Darkest Hour. The story starts off with a very depressed hero named Ethan, who’s currently living in the bottom of various liquor bottles as he mourns the one year anniversary of his wife’s death. Then, lo and behold, he receives a package containing pictures of his wife Rachel being held as a hostage in a jungle of the very country she was volunteering in as a teacher for poverty-stricken, undeveloped villages. Luckily, he’s a former Navy SEAL, and half of his brothers run a private special ops group—KGI—which can help him retrieve his wife.

Life isn’t all hearts and flowers after the hero rescues her, though. Their marriage had other underlying issues they have to work through on top of keeping the heroine safe from someone who never wanted her to make it out of that jungle alive. To say that Maya Banks told a story that sucked me in and spit me back out with a book hangover is a serious understatement!

In Shayla Black’s Belong To Me, the tough as nails former Navy SEAL hero Logan runs into his high school sweetheart Tara as she works an undercover operation with the FBI to investigate a sex-slave ring. Logan didn’t break his girlfriend’s heart because they were too young, he had a wandering eye, or anything else you might imagine up. No, Logan broke her heart because the man who killed his mother, and got away with it, sent him a note telling him to break up with his girlfriend, or she would be next. *gasp* What else could he do for the girl he loves except break up with her by making her think he wants someone else?

There’s a load of angst in this book as Logan works two separate objectives. One, to keep Tara safe as they work the mission. Two, win back Tara’s heart while keeping her safe from the killer who is still at large. This book is seriously packed with action, suspense, and Tara’s reluctance to take back the man who broke her young heart.

Last, but certainly not least, is one of my absolute favorite second chance romances, Nauti Nights by Lora Leigh. In my opinion, Ms. Leigh writes an alpha man to perfection. She showcases what every woman hopes to see: a man who makes you toe his proverbial line yet does it in a way that you know you’re his everything. While the story is somewhat of a classic one in the sense of there being a one night stand where the hero is drunk and the heroine subsequently gets her feelings hurt because of it, it’s written so well you’re sucked in. It doesn’t hurt that “Dawg,” the hero, blackmails Crista, the heroine, when she is set up to take the fall on a Homeland Security case involving missing missiles. The sensuality the hero uses to tie first Crista’s body and then reclaim her heart is smokin’ hot, and you’ll need a glass of ice water or a portable fan to get you through the book.

So, now that you know my favorite second chance romance novels, what are yours? And what are your favorite themes behind their heartbreaks?

Learn more about or order a copy of Stripping Her Defenses by Jessie Lane, out now:

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Jessie Lane is the best selling author of The Star Series, Big Bad Bite Series and the Ex Ops Series. She writes paranormal and contemporary romance, as well as Upper YA Paranormal Romance/Fantasy.

She lives in Kentucky with her two little Rock Chicks in the making and her over protective alpha husband. She has a passionate love for reading and writing naughty romance, cliff hanging suspense, and out-of-this-world characters that demand your attention, or threaten to slap you around until you do pay attention to them.

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1 comment
Jessica Moro
1. JessicaMoro
I loooooove second chance romance! Kristen Ashley has some that are really great. I love the angst around the characters and they show that relationships take work. They're have a lot of obstacles to overcome and i love not knowing how it's going to work out.
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