Second Chances

Lauren Dane
Second Chances
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Carina Press
Release Date
October 2010
BDSM, Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance

Ten years ago, Rori Simon left town shy, unattractive and with zero self-esteem. Now she's back, older, stronger and finally loving herself—and it shows. Hot men are soon knocking at her door, including Jude Callahan, the bad boy who starred in her teenage daydreams...and her adult fantasies.

Jude can't believe the sexy, confident woman before him is actually Rori! She's gotten under his skin like no other woman has...and she brings out secret desires he can't resist. He wants to dominate Rori with every fiber of his being. Wants to own her and pleasure her. To cherish her as he makes her his.

Rori discovers she likes being controlled. She also knows Jude is not a one-woman man. Everything changes when she meets Zach Helm. Edgy, sensual Zach knows just what she needs, and before long, she's in love. Jude watches them together and wonders if he's lost his chance forever...

Book Review by Ashia (reviewer)
Oct 25, 2010   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
161 people found the following review helpful
Lauren Dane is a master at writing unforgettable characters and making the reader care for them, engaging the reader's emotions and twisting them all into a knot. Second Chances is no different!

Rori Simon returned to Oakley after a self-imposed exile, with newly improved looks and increased confidence, a woman who knew her own worth. She also knew that she still wanted bad boy Jude Callahan, and she knew the score about him, knew that if she jumped into bed with him, she would just be one of his many women. She accepted it, because her lust for Jude was already too long denied. Unbeknownst to her, Jude not only reciprocated her desire, but he was also on shaky ground, because for the first time in his life, a woman got under his skin and panic lit his veins. But things fell apart for them, and Zach Helm was there to hold Rori's hand...

The younger Rori's situation reminded me eerily of myself, as I too have a mother who undermines my self-confidence with disparaging remarks about my looks and weight in my younger days. Every word was like a stab at my gut, they were so spot-on. So, I feel for Rori, and while I escape into books, Rori literally left Oakley when she went to study in university, and thereafter, she worked in Paris. While out from under her mother's thumb, she found herself, lost weight and blossomed into a hot, sexy young woman who was sought after by all the guys when she finally returned to Oakley after a decade. Yet, despite being entranced by all the man candy, only Jude has ever rang her bells.

And so, brimming with self-confidence and the knowledge that Jude wants her too, she slid into a relationship with him, and boy, was it ever hot! The pages steamed from the tension and the sex, and the games of domination and control. Jude was a dominant, but he rarely showed this side of him with the women with whom he enjoyed casual sex. He goes to clubs to fulfil that side of him, but with Rori, he found himself wanting to go all out with her, to share with her that part of his sexuality that he kept hidden from others, and he's partly elated and partly in a panic that she so obviously enjoyed being dominated. Because, for the first time, he felt protective and possessive over a woman, and he could imagine the 2.5 kids and a house with her. And in his terror and inability to deal, he pushed her away.

In the earlier part of the story, Jude wasn't all that likable, but in him, Ms Dane has created a hero that we don't see often. He's a player, and he continued in that role even when he was seeing Rori. He made no apologies over it, because that was what he was. Yet what galled me about him was that although he could have his women, he didn't like that Rori has other men. This kind of double standard really irritates the hell out of me.

Jude was a total asshole in terms of his attitude and behavior. Granted, he was in a panic and in denial, but he hurt Rori pretty bad with his actions. He was also selfish and immature and such a jerk that I just want to scream. A lot of times, I wanted to shake Rori out of her infatuation and tell her to dump him and go on to the other guys who also wanted her, but well, one can't dictate the heart. If this is the message that Lauren Dane was aiming for, she got that across pretty well.

Believe me, I was tempted to just stop reading and go on to my other TBR, but having invested this much emotion into the characters, I wanted to see Jude get his comeuppance! Either he lose Rori for good or he lose body, heart and soul to her and her alone. I won't be satisfied with anything else. And we did see that losing Rori to another man shook Jude enough to wake him up and make him realize that he was losing the best thing that ever happened to him. But will he change in time to have a second chance with Rori?

Interest spiked when gorgeous Zach Helm entered the scene. He's also in the control and dominance game, and he's able to give Rori what she wants and needs. He soothed Rori's jagged nerves from her encounters with Jude, just as he did mine. He was so sexy and I just love reading his thoughts on Rori, how he was so sure she was the one he wanted with him forever. Totally good shivery feelings.

The question now is: Which of these two men does Rori really want and love? Who will Rori end up with?

Lauren Dane took me on a wild, emotional rollercoaster ride that engaged all my emotions and I loved it! Rarely has an author ever done such a thing to me. Events in the second half of the story threw me for a loop, and the ending wasn't what I expected. Let me just say, to avoid giving away spoilers, if Ms. Dane had asked my opinion while she was writing this, I'd have said Chapter 14 is a good ending. But that was before I'd reached the end of the story. As it is, the story matured over the last six chapters, along with the characters, and it acquired a certain depth that would've been missing if it had ended as I wished. HEA certainly didn't come easy for Rori. Second Chances isn't your typical romance, and the pacing at times was a bit slow and laid-back, but I loved every page and I couldn't read fast enough, especially when Zach came on the scene. The book has some bondage and D/s scenes that are light enough for a beginner reader in such themes.
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