Life is always looking for ways to screw you over. Scott McDermott survived the foster care system and knows better than to let anyone close, but Liam Walsh is his one vulnerability.
Twice Scott let down his guard, and twice Liam vanished from Scott’s life.
So when Scott comes face-to-face with Liam for the first time in six years, he punches Liam in the nose. Only after Scott’s friend—and Baltimore County police officer—Jamie reads him the riot act does Scott discover that in the intervening years Liam has been to war and lost his leg.
Liam hasn’t had the easiest life either. He took care of his drug-addicted mom when she was unable to take care of herself. He’s fallen in love with Scott twice, but when Liam saw Scott going down the same path as his mother, he left. The lesson that he can’t save everyone has been a painful one for Liam to learn. Maybe what he and Scott had can’t ever be fixed.
Scott and Liam have never fallen out of love—which becomes obvious when they start working together—but what will make this time any different from all the others? Will the third time really be a charm?
This is a grittier second chance at love story than I’m used to reading, and at first rather higher on hurt than comfort, but I enjoyed it very much. Love certainly isn’t for the faint of heart in this story, but I loved how these characters ultimately found their way back to each other. It’s not just about finding love though, but also very much about following your own path in life and finding friends and a community.
Scott and Liam have both had a difficult childhood, part of it spent (or misspent) in the foster care system. Outwardly, Scott is the tough guy and asocial misfit, whereas Liam seems all charm and affability, so at first glance these two seem a very unlikely pair. Liam and Scott both have fears and insecurities to overcome, but as we get to know them better, Scott seemed to me to be the more vulnerable of the two. I can certainly understand his initial angry reaction upon seeing Liam again after all those years.
The bond between Scott and Liam is incredible intense, but laced with the pain of past mistakes. Their connection is really strong, tinged with inevitability even, and comes across the pages very clearly and powerfully even when a HEA seems impossible. They are obviously meant to be together, but can’t seem to figure out how to make their relationship work, how to let their guard down (again) or how to take a chance on love and trust in the possibility of a future together.
There’s an amazing moment in the book where the author captures the essence of their relationship in the lyrics of a song. That scene really got to me. Beautifully written and very emotional.
Scott is very caring and considerate toward Liam, trying to help him regain his independence, no strings attached. He’s such a sweetheart, though one with a temper and a very short fuse.
This book can be read as a standalone, though I would recommend you read the other books in the series first. Quite a few of the main characters from the previous books come along to lend our current heroes a hand or weigh in with an opinion, so it’s more fun if you’ve read the other books as well. Though perhaps it is merely a case of meeting new friends instead of reconnecting with old ones. Either way Scott and Liam are in awesome company!
This is a great addition to a wonderful series!
Number of stars out of 5: 4