The Ones Who Got Away

Roni Loren
The Ones Who Got Away
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Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date
January 2018
Book 1 of The Ones Who Got Away
Contemporary Romance

It's been twelve years since tragedy struck the senior class of Long Acre High School. Only a few students survived that fateful night—a group the media dubbed The Ones Who Got Away.

Liv Arias thought she'd never return to Long Acre—until a documentary brings her and the other survivors back home. Suddenly her old flame, Finn Dorsey, is closer than ever, and their attraction is still white-hot. When a searing kiss reignites their passion, Liv realizes this rough-around-the-edges cop might be exactly what she needs…

Liv's words cut off as Finn got closer. The man approaching was nothing like the boy she'd known. The bulky football muscles had streamlined into a harder, leaner package and the look in his deep green eyes held no trace of boyish innocence.

Book Review by Delta (reviewer)
Jan 20, 2018   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
4 people found the following review helpful
5 devastating yet dreamy stars for THE ONES WHO GOT AWAY!

Twelve years ago, Olivia Arias was a lucky survivor of a school shooting that killed many of her classmates. Her horrific memories of that day were only compounded by Finn Dorsey abandoning her in the closet for his own prom date. Back in Long Acre for a documentary about the shooting and the survivors, dubbed "The Ones Who Got Away" by the media. Liv and her fellow students are just trying to get this over with and get the hell out of this nightmare. But running into Finn again brings even more memories to the surface, especially the happier ones from BEFORE, when the two would frequently sneak off for intense, secret make-out sessions.

Grown-up FBI agent Finn is even more devastating, and even though Liv's days of numbing herself with alcohol and sex are long gone, she can't help but want to dull the pain with the man she used to lust after. Maybe the two can have a second chance at love to go with their second chance at life.

What a great book THE ONES WHO GOT AWAY was! The premise started off very dark, with survivors of a mass shooting at a high school, but Ms. Loren tackled it with a solemnity that the topic deserved. I loved getting to know the grown-up Liv and Finn and how their relationship went from very hard feelings about the shooting to rekindling the deep friendship the two used to have to a burning intensity of two adults who were falling hard all over again. And though there wasn't a ton of sex, what was there was mmmmm mmmmm goodness! The secondary characters were awesome also, especially Kincaid. Her southern, bless your heart attitude cracked me up and I'm looking forward to reading her story in The Ones Who Got Away series. I highly recommend this gorgeous love story for any fans of contemporary and rekindled romances.

Bottom Line: No OM/OW or sharing; mixed condom use; no BDSM/kink; no sexual assault; mild violence, discussions of murder and mass murder.
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Book Review by Pip (reviewer)
Jan 20, 2018
4 people found the following review helpful
I'd be hard-pressed to say that the second-chance romance trope is one that's always believable or easy to swallow. Roni Loren however, presents one of the most unusual and unique premises for reconciliation and reunion that this particular trope gains firm standing in circumstances wrought by extreme trauma that you can't help but accept and understand why people can and do go their separate ways.

PTSD isn't a cut and dried issue according to Loren and not typically confined to just the military heroes that seem to walk around bearing this tag in romantic fiction. It's complicated and not just something that's shrugged away. Reactions to trauma differ and for this reason, Liv and Finn struggle in their own ways (she through the self-destructive habits of drunkenness and promiscuity and Finn by channelling his efforts into law enforcement) to cope. Yet both are realistically flawed and behave in a way that shows a type of maturity that goes beyond just growing up.

I liked Finn more than I liked Liv and clearly my own preference is rearing its head here—I generally find it hard to sympathise with characters who are self-destructive in the way that they use people sexually to self-medicate while lacking the self-respect and dignity to get therapy until they hit rock bottom. Liv's reckless, loose-cannon-type personality that was a front for running away (Loren reminds us of this quite a few times about the many men she went through), in contrast to Finn's driving need to right this particular aspect of society's wrongs, felt more self-indulgent than beneficial (in the way Finn had centred his own career around it) even though those demons driving the both of them were essentially the same.

If the first quarter of the story was stellar however, I thought the pacing lagged a little in the middle as Finn and Liv danced around the same issues of wanting more but not wanting to step out to make the out-of-the-comfort-zone decision. After Finn/Liv agreeing to spend the weekends together, I thought the plot didn't seem to move forward very much, up until the point at the end where they finally decided to give a real relationship a go.

Loren's evocative writing nonetheless, brings to light the complexity of these struggles and the impossibility of outrunning these traumatic memories. It's a series I'm definitely going to keep an eye out for and I can't wait to see what tropes Loren will write into her next few books.
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March 18, 2018 02:14 AM ( EST )