Monday, November 26, 2018

First Light (Heartsville #2) [Aubrey & Oliver] by Christina Lee & Felice Stevens

PERFECTION. I"ll write a review though I think I can sum it up in two words MUST READ, or in three words GRAB IT NOW. I knew this book is going to be awesome not only because I trust Christina, but also because I loved "Last Call", the previous book in this series, together with Felice. It was different, yet the most important things stayed the same - wonderful writing, beautiful and tender story, and characters who are here not only to get their HEA but to evolve and grow in the process. It was almost a "slow burn" in the way the friendship between Aubrey and Oliver progressed and I loved it to pieces. So let's make a deal, okay? Scroll down, order it, then come back here and I'll tell you my thoughts in more than 2 or 3 words.

Are you back yet? you're here? Great! Let's start at the beginning...

Two years ago both Aubrey Hendricks and Oliver Hansen's lives changed. It was the difference between life and death. The life of Lisa - Aubrey's wife - in exchange for Oliver's. While Aubrey sunk into himself, barely living, going through the motions and working as hard as he can in his farm, Oliver discovered life with the new heart he was gifted from Lisa through her organ donation. He was a successful lawyer, living the life in New York, yet the pace started to feel all wrong. Everything around him felt alien and so he started to look for new things to make him happy like learning to cook and bake even if he has no one to cook or bake for..

Two years later Aubrey is almost in the same place, still lost and aching, yet Oliver is ready for a change though he isn't sure what exactly. It starts with thanking the husband of the woman who gave him her heart. Driving to "First Light" the farm Aubrey and Lisa shared for twenty years before she died in a car accident is the first step but once he is there, the grumpy Aubrey seems too out of reach for Oliver so instead of professing his gratitude he somehow accepts a job. Wait, what? Yep.. Aubrey's first step into some kind of healing is bringing Lisa's love - her bakery - back to life. Seeing a stranger on his property he first assumed Oliver is there for the job he published in the paper.. and when Oliver accepts it's somehow settled.. Though both are quite confused about their own haste decision.

Oliver is ON THE JOB. As he starts working on opening the bakery he realizes how he wants this job to work! This is such a different scenery than his previous life in New York, and yet every minute of it fills him with joy, also getting close to Cassie (Aubrey's worker and his helper in the bakery) and also finding camaraderie with Aubrey. It's a slow process. Aubrey is a quiet guy, who mostly keeps to himself. He wakes up early for work, and returns home at light's end every night. Yet they find time to sit and have a late drink or eating dinner (mostly made by Oliver). The only problem is, Oliver STILL hasn't found the right time to confess to Aubrey WHY he has come to "First Light" in the first place..

The "right" time never actually came so when Oliver found himself confessing it's no wonder it almost broke them apart. It broke my heart as well. Though Oliver himself was hurt by Aubrey's reaction he was still trying to do the "right thing", to give Aubrey the little he can. Oliver's selflessness was making my heart ache. It wasn't just this instance it was all over the place. Oliver truly wanted Aubrey to be happy and it took him a LONG time to be able to ask for the thing that would make HIM happy. Yet with time, it came for both of them.

Once the shock and anger were over Aubrey realized that Lisa's heart beating inside Oliver's chest means NOTHING when it comes to how much he genuinely enjoys Oliver's company. It was so dark for two years and Oliver somehow brought into his life LIGHT and with this light a possibility for so much more.

They are both hesitant. Their friendship isn't totally platonic, things are changing, but they are not rushing it. They are taking their time to get to know one another, to be sure of themselves. Aubrey's life is in the farm, no place else, while Oliver is a city boy who can have so many other options than work at a bakery in the small town of Heartsville. Will Oliver stay with him forever? That Aubrey can't answer, like Oliver can't be sure Aubrey wants him for his OWN heart and not his late wife's..

They get a second chance in life, for Oliver literally, for Aubrey mostly a second chance of love and it's the most beautiful thing. I loved the way EVERYTHING progressed. Slowly slowly and always RIGHT. Taking their time was crucial to build something genuine and that they did. When it was all said and done, when they were ready - the words, the actions - were perfect. I couldn't have asked for a more tender and heart breakingly beautiful story, for more genuine characters. It was, as I've started with - PERFECTION.

One last thing I forgot! Though Emery, Gray and Quinn (from "Last Call") DO appear in this one, it's truly a stand alone.

I kindly received this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion. 

This book is already OUT - Grab it through Amazon / KU

Read on:
24-26 November 2018

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