Tuesday, January 28, 2020

ARC Review: Second Chance by Barbara Elsborg

Second Chance
Ryder’s on the company bonding trip from hell, five days of competitive cycling with competitive colleagues and an even more competitive boss. Faced with yet another vertical climb, he ignores his uninvited, insistent inner cheerleader. No, he cannot keep up, and what’s more, he’s had enough. And the weather appears to agree he should stop, when sun turns in an instant to thick fog. 

Callan’s at Whittaker’s Auction House to bid on fae land that his werewolf pack need as their new home, when an unsuspecting human stumbles through the door. Ryder is out of breath, out of luck, way out of his depth—and apparently the newest item on the auctioneer’s block. Unexpectedly tempting, if Callan had the money. 

As the bidding heats up and Ryder proves dangerously irresistible to the assembled supernatural creatures, the situation grows more and more precarious. When Callan interferes, he puts his pack’s future in peril. Despite knowing how devious faeries can be, desperation makes Callan accept a deal, a chance to win the land for his pack and a future with Ryder. But it’s a risk. Possibly a deadly one. 

This is not 'just another Valentine's story', it's a Barbara Elsborg Valentine's story (ish). So don't expect the usual sonnets and flowers and Cupids, but do expect the unexpected - vampires, weres, witches and warlocks. Oh, and a vengeful fae. Things are not quite as they may seem. You have been warned!

Todd's rating:

Me during the first few chapters:
"Okay, if this dude doesn't stop talking to himself, to the point of internal arguments, I'm going to DNF the hell out of this story."
Me a few chapters later:
"Oooooh, m'kay. Nevermind." heh
I'll try my best not to be too spoilery, but basically Ryder, a London writer and magazine editor, took a spill on his bicycle and found himself in the Fae realm, being put up for sale on the auction block.

Then werewolf shifter Callan was torn between using his pack's money to buy a plot of land that they desperately needed versus bidding on Ryder to keep him safe.

But when Callan's vengeful Fae ex, Padraig, decided to fuck with them both, things got a lot more complicated, and fast.

There were deals struck with challenges to be passed, the first two of which I found really difficult to read.

All I can say is that there was WAAAAAAAAY too much sex involved during those "trials" for my tastes and leave it at that.

Thanks to the third "trial", which felt almost like a punishment for the first two, the tide of sex blessedly receded for quite a while, so I was able to enjoy an actual plot, which turned out to have a Big Twist that I enjoyed, even if I did see it coming early on.

Other than the third trial causing difficulties, a lot of the drama came from a pretty blatant act of betrayal, perpetrated by someone close to the MC's (for mostly unselfish reasons), but once revealed, I did like how pissed-off Callan and insecure Ryder stuck up for themselves and worked through the aftermath.

As the story wrapped up, I liked where the story had gone, and the HEA epilogue, but very much to my surprise, was truly sad when Ryder stopped talking to himself.

Don't ask, read the book. ;- )

I'd rate this story at around 3.75 stars and recommend it to shifter fans who can handle a whole lotta sex in a very short period of time.

My ARC copy of the book was provided by the author in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.


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