Series: Taking Chances #1
Published by Montlake Romance on August 23rd 2016
Buy on Amazon
Avery Sparks is a master at controlling chaos—and she gets plenty of opportunities as fire chief and head of emergency management in her hometown of Chance, Nebraska. The only thing she can’t seem to control are her feelings when she’s around Jake Mitchell, the man who was her first everything the night of their high school graduation. But Jake was so quick to leave Chance—and Avery—behind that she swore she’d move on.
While Avery’s job is to minimize drama, Jake embraces the chaos of an emergency. After enlisting in the Army National Guard, Jake became a nationally recognized leader in disaster recovery. Yet a life on the road has left him restless. So when a class-four tornado wreaks havoc on Chance, he’s eager to return home—and to the woman never far from his mind.
Now, Avery and Jake must team up to help their hometown weather a siege of violent storms. But it’s clear to them both that nature isn’t the only force they’ll have to reckon with. Will Avery and Jake’s whirlwind love affair be an all-new disaster—or can they recover from their stormy past to build a future together?
Avery Sparks and Jake Mitchell have a history – albeit a short, intense one, until it all fell apart nearly a decade ago when Jake walked away and enlisted. But a kiss or two here and there in the past year re-ignites that flame, except that the small town isn’t exactly the ideal spot in which Jake can operate, whereas Avery is Chance’s fire chief, an entrenched figure who is finding her footing with newly minted friendships. Smack in tornado alley, Avery’s and Jake’s second-chance romance play out in the midst of disaster and recovery but when the debris is cleared, both need to reevaluate the meaning of friendship, familial bonds and what love really means.
The setting and atmosphere of the story drew me in immediately; Erin Nicholas’s stellar writing about a twister wrecking havoc in town, the subsequent recovery and morale-boosting efforts were so foreign and new that I couldn’t helped but be absorbed in it.
The lead characters and their relationship however, drew a little protest from me. Like every second-chance romance, especially those with a large time-gap between reunions, I’ve always tended to question the plausibility of each party never being able to forget each other, especially if one or the other has had multiple partners in between.
For this reason, Jake’s (in)convenient, cocky strut back into Avery’s life and town baffled me, made me wonder at his rather skewed and wavering perspective of love and commitment. As someone who’d moved on easily, his actions contradicting much of what he claimed: that Avery was the only one he’d been obsessed with over the past decade. On the other hand, I loved Avery immediately for her resilience and capable nature, and pretty much thought that she’d gotten the short end of the stick the whole time, both from Jake and his family. While I definitely do like Nicholas’s take on the nostalgic notions of home – as seen through Jake’s musings at least – I wish I were a little more convinced of Jake as a suitable partner for a heroine who deserved more.