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Monday, March 21, 2011

Second Chance Dad by Pamela Stone

Second Chance Dad by Pamela Stone
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (171 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 4.5 books
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Moving back to her Texas hometown after her divorce seemed like a good idea at the time. Until Hanna Rosser's usually well-behaved son gets into trouble at school. The single mother knows exactly who's to blame—Vince Keegan, father of her son's new best friend. Vince may be the most irresistible man on the block, but he's got a lot to learn about parenting.

All right, so Vince's daughter is a little high-spirited. Hanna's downright overprotective of her precious boy! Unfortunately, she's also far too appealing for this widowed dad's peace of mind.

Maybe it's time Hanna and Vince let go of their pasts and gave in to what's happening between them. Just because they're parents, doesn't mean they can't have a second chance at love!

Sometimes kids get it a lot faster than adults and in this story, the kids steal the show with their antics throughout this adorable story.

Hannah is the heroine who is just recovering from a divorce; her self-esteem is low and her having to come back home to live with her mother isn’t the best situation. I liked that Hannah has a good relationship with her mother and she understands the pitfalls that come from moving back home. She’s an easy character to respect because in almost all of her decisions, she puts her child, Ashton, first. The author did a good job of balancing motherhood with fledgling romance and danced the line just right between reality and fantasy. The story didn’t get morose and it didn’t feel unbelievable so I was able to enjoy myself. Here was a woman having to learn how to be a single parent while being discombobulated by her young son.

Vince is the man who tries so hard to be everything to and for his daughter, Kenzie, that he’s forgotten he’s a man with needs. He has a huge guilt chip on his shoulder and he does a good job of hiding it until the author had him spilling his guts to Hannah. It took her and me by surprise. I thought he had it all together. It’s easy to accept men at face value when they seem so capable and in charge, so much so that we forget that they are human too. They have to deal with feelings and have the added pressure of being the one that everyone looks to, to fix things. His daughter has a situation that comes up that truly put him out of his comfort zone. That scene really depicted how hard it is for men to raise daughters alone just as much as it must be for women to raise sons. There are challenges inherent in both that are a mystery to the other. Second Chance Dad explored that a bit and it was very sweet.

The author threw in a few environmental developments that helped depict the colorful small town life that Hannah grew up in, escaped and had to come back to. I also got a kick out of how the author started the story and how she ended it – like bookends. The conflict is definitely internal with two people at different stages in their life finding common ground to find happiness together. It was a nice romance.

I guess the only thing that kept this book from getting a perfect score was the lead in to the ending. I had to reread it twice to find the transition from struggling to accept that this might be real love to the “I love you” part. The book was meticulous in buildup and characterization and good dialogue but the pinnacle of the moment where it comes together and validates the happy ever after didn’t seem to match, and I missed it. Of course this is my opinion but I think at least an extra page of true self revelation from either Hannah or Vince with a solid conviction of love being expressed would have made it a tad smoother. As it was, Vince’s declaration seemed like being pushed into a pool - I never saw it coming when it came.

Even so, Second Chance Dad is a very sweet and well written romance spiced with hijinks from the kids and a bit of idiocy from the ex-husband. I enjoyed the fact that both Vince and Hannah remained responsible adults even when passion rode them hard. When they did manage to express themselves in the physical sense, it was quite romantic and vividly expressed. For readers who are looking for a simple romance focused on the emotions and trials of falling in love between two people healing from hurt and loss then this book should fit the bill. It’s entertaining and it’s easy to care for the characters.