Series: Second Opportunities #2
Published by Pocket Books on December 1, 2002
“I love you, Julie. I loved you in Colorado. I love you here, where I am. I will always love you. Everywhere. Always.”
FINAL DECISION: One of my all time favorite books, this book has action, suspense, mystery, a sexy leading man, a strong heroine, a full and complete story and a sense of romance and drama. I’ve loved this one for years and it doesn’t disappoint after decades of reading it.
THE STORY: Julie Mathison has done everything she can to do live an exemplary life after being adopted. On a trip out of her small town, she is taken hostage by Zachary Benedict, the former superstar Hollywood actor and director who was convicted of murdering his wife. Zach has escaped from prison and needs Julie and her vehicle to get to to the place he will be temporarily hiding. At first desperate to escape her kidnapper, Julie soon is convinced that Zach is innocent.
OPINION: I love this book. It is one of my all time favorite books. I love the heart of this story. Zach and Julie are such a wonderful couple.
This is a long book, and I enjoy every page. The story has time and space to breathe in these pages. We get to see what formed these characters before they even meet and then we get to see their relationship develop, the problems that almost tear them apart and then a resolution. And that might be what I love most about this book — when the “big problem” is resolved, the story is not over. Instead, we get to see the characters actually create their happy ending.
Julie could have been written as a stereotypical do-gooder, but instead, she has complexity. Her reaction with Zach mirrors other events in her life so it doesn’t feel like a stretch that she would turn her kidnapping into an advocacy for his innocence. I liked that she has morals even when she doesn’t live up to them all the time.
Zach is my favorite actor hero. I absolute loved how he is gobsmacked by his reaction to Julie. The cynical actor is enchanted with Julie who discovers Zach’s secret soft heart.
Not only is Zach and Julie’s relationship sweet and romantic, the book allows other relationships to be explored. Parental love, sibling relationships, and friendships are all important in this story. All the characters in the book have complexity and interest. (We also get some side romances.)
I especially enjoyed seeing Mathew and Meredith from PARADISE. They have significant roles in this book and the friendship between Zach and Matthew worked especially well.
This book was written in the early 1990s and the pop culture references are from that time. The book does, however, clearly point to taking place at a particular time.including dates and years for the events rather than being a book that could take place in current times.
WORTH MENTIONING: One of the significant twists in the story at the end has been negated by the subsequent changes from the original cover. The original pink with roses cover has an important role in the book itself so I’m rather sad that new readers might be left wondering what the characters are referring to at the end.
CONNECTED BOOKS: PERFECT is the second book in the Second Opportunities series. This romance here is self-contained and it is not necessary to read the first book in the series. The couple from that series does, however, make a significant appearance here.
STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.