I ADORED this book. Marc, Hunter, the issues the book dealt with, everyone who was given a second chance - in romance or generally in life. There was so much optimism and also acceptance. Let's be honest, Marc wasn't always a "good guy", if you've read "Liam Davis & The Raven" you might recall, but even if you didn't, Marc takes ownership on his behavior, only thing is, he isn't sure how to actually express his apology and mostly how to BECOME the person who DESERVED to be forgiven or maybe just accepted. His struggle is even more intense with Hunter but it's also complex with his uncle Ben (whom we've met as Chief Benedict the guy in charge of the "Scribe" newspaper).
As I don't want to spoiler the previous book I'll just start by saying Marc Jillson was HIGHLY affected by the occurrence of last year leaving him isolated. Most of it was self imposed. He simply couldn't step outside of the basement he lives in with his uncle Ben, spending his time playing online games and eating Cheetos - that's how or rather where he "met" DeMage. They play the game together, or rather DeMage keeps saving him, but they also chat quite a lot about their lives. Yet once DeMage reveals he has figured out who he is, things change. Marc would never have guessed it's actually Travis Hunter who also works at the "Scribe". The same guy he more than just rude to more times than he can count.
As this book is only written from Marc's POV it's hard to know what Hunter is thinking and HOW he can be so forgiving / accepting. If I'm being honest, I'm not sure I would have been. But considering he saw SUCH a different side to Marc and considering what Marc has been through lately it's no wonder he was willing to give Marc a chance as his friend and maybe even more. Marc wants to impress Hunter, to show him he DESERVES him, even if just as his friend, maybe a bit more? He WANTS so much more, he YEARNS for everything Hunter offers.
Marc's only mode is hiding. His feelings, his wants, his fears. He lives behind a mask and though a lot affect him, showing his vulnerability is something he doesn't even know how to do. Hunter humbles him, it's really not the fact he is paraplegic. It's his confidence in himself and the authentic way he lives. Hunter SEES Marc. That's why he doesn't accept his attitude and offers a shoulder to lean on with sensitivity and acceptance.
Marc would do anything and everything to deserve Hunter which is why he immerses himself in the mission of saving a run down gazebo on the campus. It used to be such a "landmark" where lovers etched their names into the wood like Hunter's parents did and they certainly weren't the only ones. There's also K and V who shared a tragic love story Marc and Hunter try to decipher.
This book had everything I could have wished for. It was a heartfelt story of love, second chance and redemption. It was a story about forgiveness of others and oneself. I'm not easy to forgive bullies and though Marc was exactly THAT guy toward so many people including Liam (the MC of the previous installment as well as a close friend of Hunter) he was trying his best to do the right thing, to BE the best person he can be. He also tries to help Ben fix the thing he feels he has "broken" for him. It's not as easy as that, but he truly wants to be and do better and I believed him. People make mistakes and with Marc's past I could see how he built himself to be someone he is not.
I simply CANNOT end this review without addressing the issue of Hunter's disability. It's so rare that a romance novel brings a disabled character, especially a main character and not to mention someone with such a major disability. Hunter might be in control of his life, so very independent and confident. Yet he did have issues that weren't "ideal" for him as well as for anyone considering to be in a relationship with him. I loved how Anyta addressed these issues. How Hunter was portrayed. Yes he struggled with quite a lot, but he was also strong mentally and physically. He's the kind of guy I'll call a role model and not because of his disability - despite of it.
I ended the review of the previous installment with a request for Hunter to get his own book - So now I'm making another - Tyler. He has made an appearance in both books so I'm guessing Anyta has her plans for him as well. Fingers crossed!
I kindly received this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
This book is out TODAY - 14 May 2020 - Grab it now through Amazon/KU.