Title: Take Two
Author: Shira Anthony
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 214 Pages
At a Glance: I’m a sucker for second chance romance, and this one gave me all the feels.
Reviewed By: Lindsey
Blurb: Lights, camera, action! When Professor Wesley Coolidge accepts a summer job as a historical consultant to a pirate movie being filmed in North Carolina, the last person he expects to bump into is his soon-to-be ex, movie star Sander Carson.
Just like the flamboyant pirate he’s playing, Sander, aka Sam Carr, is used to getting what he wants, and he makes it clear he wants Wesley back in his life. Sam lost Wesley when he left their life in New York City behind for a career in Hollywood. But Wesley has finally managed to put the pieces of his heart back together, and he isn’t interested in Sam and Wesley: The Sequel.
Convincing Wesley to give their relationship a second chance will take much more than Sam’s apologies and reminders of good times past. If Sam wants Wesley back, he’ll have to show Wesley that they really can sail into the sunset together—a real-life happily-ever-after that won’t end once the final credits roll.
Review: I am a sucker for second chance romance stories and this one had all the feels.
The characters were great, the pacing was on point, the feelings for both Wesley and Sam are realistic, and the secondary characters were well developed. Yup—you could say I thoroughly enjoyed this story.
Take Two is, ultimately, about two men who love each other, and never stopped, but lack of communication shattered their marriage; Sam, in his quest to be the next big thing in Hollywood, staying closeted and spending more and more time putting his career as a priority, leaving Wesley with whatever scraps of time he had left after everyone else had their share; Wesley losing hope and feeling less and less valued, without articulating his feelings to his husband, eventually gives up and walks away. Of course, as it happens so often in relationships—“you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”—and once faced with losing Wesley, Sam realizes his mistakes. Despite the lack of time he spent with Wesley, Wesley was his anchor in the fast-paced world of Hollywood, keeping him centered without even knowing his role in Sam’s life.
The story starts just as Wesley is finding his feet and moving on with someone else, weeks away from the divorce being final, and Sam is giving a last ditch effort to win back the love of his life.
Was some of the plot over the top? Probably. The way Sam arranged everything to get Wesley to the movie set was borderline unbelievable. Regardless, I was completely okay with it because of how much I enjoyed reading the events unfold once Wesley figured out what was happening. Not to mention, I like a little bit of unbelievable every now and again, especially when it is written with such captivating characters and plot.
Communication. It is an essential element in any relationship and is also the word that keeps popping up during this entire story echoing in my head, and these guys just don’t have it.
Sam is so focused on winning Wesley back he does things that are not what Wesley needs or wants; the gestures and actions were based more off ones he would have wanted done for him. Some might find this unbelievable that after a decade of marriage he seems to not even know his soon to be ex-husband, who he loves and claims to know so well. I would disagree with those people; I found it to be realistic. People often tend to make gestures based on personal wants or desires, and when desperation and fear are added to the mix, often objectivity is lost. Sam had spent so many years in Hollywood, around people who are extroverts—like himself—that he has failed to truly take into account Wesley’s desires and feelings. All Sam knows is he can’t lose him. Yet, Sam hasn’t taken the time to figure out exactly why he is losing Wesley to begin with.
Wesley never stopped loving Sam, but he was not happy with his marriage. He continues to be attracted and the physical pull and chemistry is off the charts, but it wasn’t enough to keep them together because he didn’t talk about what he was feeling when he started to feel it. Since Wesley is not confrontational by nature and doesn’t appreciate the spotlight, rather than confronting Sam as he saw the signs of his marriage collapsing, he ignored it, until he couldn’t, then simply walked away. When Sam enters into the picture trying to win him back, he still avoids explaining the real reasons he walked away; rather, he spends his time trying to push Sam and his advances back.
I adore Shira Anthony’s writing style in this book; she adds enough humor to keep the very realistic cause of the divorce from being too depressing, and most of the characters were likable. I was very happy to find there was no definitive person whose actions resulted in the marriage falling apart. So often in stories like this, I find there is a finger being pointed at one particular person who ends up having to take the majority of the blame, but it is clear in this book both MCs are responsible to some degree, and I felt deeply for both of them as I cheered them on and yelled at them to just talk to get it out there.
If I had any niggle with the book, it was Wesley’s boyfriend and the situation with him. I predicted in the first chapter what was going to happen, and although I understood the reason for his character to be in the book, I had hoped the outcome with him wouldn’t have been as predictable as it was. Since he is more on the outskirts, and the focus is on Sam and Wesley, I can easily overlook this because of how much everything else worked for me.
This was a delightful second chance romance and an engaging read which I recommend to anyone who is looking for a sweet story with just enough angst and humor.
You can buy Take Two here: