Bill Gates once said, “Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.” Someone also once said, Karma’s a bitch. That’s a good one too, because when Tallis Carrington returns to Rock Bay, Washington, humbled and lower than he’s ever been in his life, he stares a former nerd called Karma right in the face. It takes a while, though, for him to recognize that his own special brand of Karma is really called Lex Barry, and Lex? Oh yeah, Lex is staring right back at him.
It’s been said you can’t go home again, that once you leave behind the narrow view of the small world of your youth and set out to explore the big wide unknown, returning again to the place you came from is impossible. You can’t relive the past, nor can you change it, nor can you deny that you yourself have changed in significant ways. But sometimes being able to go back home again depends on why you left in the first place, and sometimes fate and circumstance leave you with no better option; then, really, the best you can do is to go back to the beginning and try to make a clean start, even if that means living with your grandma, facing the wrath of half the town, and being forced to prove that you’re not the same person you were when you left.
Tallis knows as well as anyone that he dug himself a deep enough ditch to try to climb out of. Being the mayor’s kid gave him some cache, and attempting to keep a secret that would’ve ruined him if anyone had ever discovered it put a lot of pressure on him to be someone he wasn’t or didn’t really want to be. Bullying, picking on the weak, degrading and humiliating one boy in particular, a boy Tallis tortured mercilessly for no better reason than he was a reminder of who Tallis truly was, was the way he hid and the way he led those who chose to follow him. But there’s also a saying that goes something like the bigger they come, the harder they fall, and when a scandal rocks the small town of Rock Bay, Tallis falls with a resounding thud, leaving town in disgrace.
Lex owns the café and sandwich shop where Tally goes to apply (read: beg) for a job, mostly because it looks like it’s going to be his last chance in a town full of people whose memories are long and unforgiving. Lex was the perpetual victim of Tallis’s cruelty, so when Lex’s nemesis walks into his shop looking every bit as beautiful as he was in high school—but doesn’t know who Lex is—all those humiliating memories come crowding back in to remind Lex of how miserable Tallis and his gang had made his life. But sexy Lex is his own form of revenge now and yeah, he tortures Tally in his very own way.
Coming Home is a sweet and sexy and angsty story of redemption and second chances and the difficulty of coming out and overcoming intolerance and a sordid past in a small town. Atoning for his mistakes and proving to the one and only person who truly matters that he’s not the person he once was—that, in fact, he was never really that person to begin with, but wore that façade like armor to protect himself from becoming the victim of the very cruelty he dished out—becomes a mission that Tally accomplishes until his past comes back to insinuate itself in the present and sends Lex into self-preservation mode and Tally back to square one.
Sometimes actions really do speak louder than words—it’s not what you say but how you say it that really matters when you’re trying to convince someone you truly do love them. Tally makes a pretty solid statement to argue in his favor, and I loved that Lex heard that message loud and clear.
Buy Coming Home HERE.