San Diego is a city of second chances for Jamie Carlson. His career as a photographer is taking off, and with the support of a loving surrogate family, he’s finally putting his party years behind him. The Bailey family helped him solve his drinking problem, but there’s no easy solution to staying sober now that Belle Bailey’s dying. Her last wish is a challenge Jamie can’t overcome without help.
Solving problems is Daniel Priest’s specialty. More than twenty years older than Jamie, he’s successful and experienced. He makes his living resolving corporate crises—but his personal life has been far from perfect. Now that his marriage is over, Daniel’s determined to make up for lost time. One night with Jamie isn’t nearly enough for him.
Daniel’s offer of help is more than Jamie expects from a one-time hookup. Even so, fulfilling the last wish of his surrogate mom seems impossible. Repairing her damaged family as she requests means facing his own past as well. Jamie could risk his hard-won recovery by admitting why he hit rock bottom. If he wants a future with Daniel, he’ll have to confront those reasons head-on.
There are times that I crave easy lighthearted stories to whisk me away. Then there are times that I want to fight along with my new fictional friend to reach the end. Those are the books that leave me exhausted and drained with salty streaks on my face, reluctant to say goodbye. When I want to ‘work for it’ I pick up something from Riley’s bookshelf. More often than not, Con’s stories leave behind a scar on my heart, making its mark while taking a piece of me at the same time. If I’m honest, I was a bit nervous about this book. Despite it being the second book in the Salvage Stories it can easily stand on its own. But the thing is, I didn’t like Jamie in the first book. At all. My feelings may have warmed towards him by the end of the book but in no way was I looking forward to getting to know him better. I was wrong. I judged him harshly and unfairly. And I’m so glad that I didn’t dismiss him and this book. Recovery is a heartwrenching journey reminding us that love wields great power but forgiveness may hold even more.
I think it’s important to know this is a personal journey involving love in every form. I wouldn’t classify this a romance as much as I would say it’s a second chance at life. Speaking of, Jamie has had a hard life. He has fallen more than he has soared. He has hurt people he cares about and in turn, he has also been hurt. There are many reasons that Jamie found solace in the bottom of a bottle, but he’s desperately trying to break free from the clutches of his addictions. I would imagine that if asked, Jamie wouldn’t wish away or regret the rocky road he has traveled because of where it led him. Or more precisely to whom. AA not only brought Owen into Jamie’s life but also Owen’s family. Which in turn became his family. Owen’s wife, Belle, tucked Jamie neatly under her wing and gave him something he never had before. Unconditional love. It doesn’t take long before Jamie finds himself woven into this new family, not sure he belongs yet never wanting to leave. Belle is losing her fight with cancer. And if Jamie can grant her anything he will. But he never expected her final wish to be…impossible. Or is it? She has shown him how important forgiveness is (regarding his own misgivings) and if he can help his new family embrace each other free of blame, maybe he can fulfill her last wish.
Daniel enters Jamie’s life as the tremors underfoot are gaining strength. It was supposed to be a one-off but he couldn’t find the will to walk away. Daniel is considerably older but discovers how insignificant the number of birthday candles on their cake really is. When they are together, they fit. He is aware that some things in life are worth waiting for and he’s a patient man. And if there’s anything he can do to help ease the tight grip of grief crushing Jamie, he wants to do it. There’s a lot going on here. We have anger and remorse. Fear and sorrow. New beginnings and final goodbyes. But at the eye of the storm, Daniel loves Jamie and Jamie loves Daniel. Prepare for an emotional tsunami! Yet through my hiccups and tears, my heart raced and lifted. It was not at all what I expected yet has etched a permanent place in my heart. This time it was Alex that grated on my nerves but I can tell you I’ll be first in line for his story if it ever comes to fruition.
Loss. Being prepared for death doesn’t ease it’s piercing pain. Recovery comes in many faces and forms. And love truly is blind when it comes to numbers.
If you’re searching for an intense yet tender tale of overcoming life’s battles one step at a time, I’d love for you to meet Jamie and his family. If you do, give them a hug from me would you please? They could all use an extra squeeze.
TITLE: Recovery (Salvage Stories #2)
AUTHOR: Con Riley
PUBLISHER: Figment Ink
LENGTH: 220 pages
RE-RELEASE DATE: November 12, 2019
BUY LINKS: Amazon