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I received this book for free from the author or publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Avery is introduced to us as a young woman at the end of her rope and refusing to let go. She has a strong, albeit small support system. Mason has hit rock bottom after a quick rise to the top. He has no real family to claim except for Ray Abbot. He returns home with his hat in hand and is taken in by Ray and given a job at Ray’s bar. His return is full of mixed feelings. The book centers on Avery and Mason. They have separate struggles that they have to overcome. Learning to trust is the first step for both of them. Max anchors them in the most wonderful and surprising ways. Though, kids like Max usually do.
“And I’ve never wanted to be someone’s someone. But damn do I want to be her everything.”
The plot was obviously different having a young mother of an autistic child. I thought that Mason and how he fit into their lives was unique and believable too. He didn’t come from something solid and Ray Abbott recognized that when Mason was young. So Ray became Mason’s rock. It was only natural that Ray would be where Mason turned when things went south.
“That girl – she’ll always see the best in you. Even when she doesn’t want to.”
I identified with Avery a lot. She put herself last and tended to carry the weight of the world on her shoulders. When Mason comes along and relieves some of that pressure, he mended him as much as it mended her. I loved seeing how symbiotic their healing process was. One wasn’t dependent on the other. Avery and Max didn’t need rescuing and neither did Mason. They needed to see the world from a fresh set of eyes and they did that for one another.
Ginger Scott writes true romance into her stories. By that I mean she finds what her characters need the most and makes a simple gesture to give them that with a beautiful moment. No helicopters and fireworks needed. Just a kiss, a note, sitting together in the moonlight… Ginger can write those simple acts in a way that will make you swoon like a teenager. So without giving away the beauty of the moment, I will say that I always wait for the “Ginger moment” in each of her books.
The support characters ranged from a best friend who was more like a sister to the bouncer who treated the Abbots like family. Then there was Mason’s bandmates. Some were there to support him and happy with the changes he was making and others were too far gone, unaware that they had hit rock bottom. All were well developed and equally contributed to the story. Ray is a great character. He is full of love for his friends, family and employees. He is warm and a pillar of strength for Avery, Max and even Mason. Max is a cool kid. The first Max/Mason moment steals your heart.
The community, the bar and all the characters were quite inviting. It was homey and the bar was the kind of place where I would hang out. The Abbott home seemed welcoming and comfortable. It was the kind of home that always had room at the table for one more. Ray was the heart of the community and it really showed. Like any smaller town, they were more like family than neighbors/friends and that was obvious in the story.
I was touched by how real everything in this story felt. From the opening scene my heart was captured by Avery and Max. I just FELT so much. The way the author threaded Mason and Max’s relationship together was creative and realistic. I loved that Mason was in awe of Max and his talents. It was like I was learning about autism alongside of Mason.
The ending brought many emotions to the surface. I was sad, scared, excited and then incredibly happy. Sheer joy was all I felt when I finished this book. All the loose ends came together and one question I had throughout the book was finally answered. I think my favorite part about how this book ended was that no one had to sacrifice in order for them all to get their HEA. As individuals, Avery and Mason resolved their issues and found ways to move forward in a healthier way than before. They both found their happy and got to keep, grow, and/or change their goals.
This wasn’t like your average rocker/girl next door book. Mason was a bad boy rocker, but he was sick of that life. Avery was dealt a bad hand and just powered through. The story had so much more substance than an average rocker story.
There were parts that at first seemed rushed as far as their relationship is concerned, but then I thought about Avery and Mason and how alone they both felt for so long and the past they shared. It really did make sense when you considered their history together and apart.
“But she laughs like that, one more time, her arms wrapped around her body and her green eyes lit up under the moon, and yeah… I’m ruined.”
Ginger Scott is a beautiful and expressive writer. She brings her stories to life and they play out like a movie in your mind. I read most of her books in a single day. I may forget to eat or sleep or drink… no wait, I rarely forget to drink – but I always devour her books.
I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a story about family, community and second chances.
Five HUGE stars and read it with Moscow Mule. Cheers!
ARC was generously offered in exchange for an honest review