Once again I thought this author was able to portray the heartache of reality built together with the ideas of love, hope, and perseverance. In the first book, it leaves you off in a place of fight – fighting to be alive, fighting the will to want to live, and fighting the emotions that come with struggles of cancer. At the beginning of this book, Will has chosen to fight to live, with Tori by his side. This will not be an easy journey and while both of them have their doubts about success, they decide to fight to win a life lived together. Without giving too much away, Will does make it home after extreme chemo and a stem cell transplant. While he does make it home, it doesn’t mean that survival is guaranteed. The story walks you through how Tori, along with others that love him, takes care of Will, both physically and mentally. We see the realistic and sometimes negative effects of recuperation such as low self-esteem, guilt, caregiver burden, and many other weaknesses. However, through these weaknesses, Tori finds ways to provide him dignity and ways of still feeling like a man. And day by day, you can see the shift in Tori as a caregiver, to becoming a full, equal partner in a loving relationship.
One thing I love most about this duet is the realistic nature of the story. In my previous review of the first book I mentioned that I have a daughter with Cystic Fibrosis and have been her caretaker for 10 years. As I read, I understood all of the feelings that were being portrayed, for both characters. I believe that having a healthy relationship between reality, optimism, and hope – it provides the best combination for fighting and resilience. Do we falter along the way, of course, but if you have a foundation to work from you can always find your way back to success. Will at the beginning didn’t have this foundation, but with Tori’s help ended up finding it in the end. The book portrays this balance very well and could provide a foundation for someone going through a difficult time but hasn’t found that balance yet.
Lastly, what I was most surprised by was the romance aspect throughout the book. Even in these situations I found them not only to be very steamy, but honest. Again the author has a skill for blending insecurities and reality, but still making me blush. The descriptions of these scenes had me picturing everything so clearly in my imagination – this is how I know I love a writer and a book. The characters just possessed and showed so much true love between the two of them that nothing was off limits, limitations could be erotic, and there are just some things that are worth the wait. I really love that I have found this duet series and look forward to reading other things the author has put out.