DUELING REVIEWS: Accepting the Fall by Meg Harding

Author: Meg Harding
Book: Accepting the Fall
Page/Word Count: 286 pages, 62K words
Categories: Contemporary Romance, Gay Romance
Release Date: June 8, 2017

Blurb:
Confronting the past is never easy.

Cole Whitaker is happy. He has the job and boyfriend he always wanted. His heart’s in no danger of being broken, and he can’t ask for more from life. As a kindergarten teacher, he sees it all; however, one troublesome student has him reaching out to the parent, wanting to help. There’s something about Savanah that tugs at his heartstrings.

He never expected her father.

Zander Brooks hasn’t had an easy life, and he’s made some mistakes. Freshly retired from the military and working as a firefighter, Zander thought he’d left Cole in the rearview mirror. He’s not expecting him to appear in St. Petersburg, Florida, of all places, teaching his daughter’s kindergarten class. Suddenly, his biggest mistake is being shoved in his face.

This is Zander’s chance to close a door he’d never fully shut, but time with his former flame might change his mind.

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Excerpt:
“I’ll handle this,” he said. He fished around in the backpack he’d brought along and withdrew a small pill bottle. “Ibuprofen. Take one.” He held it out.

Zander glared. There was a drop of sweat beading at Cole’s temple and his hair—what could be seen of it poking from the hat—was curling. Zander simultaneously wanted to see Cole looking similarly hot and flushed while underneath him and to tell his upbeat ass to fuck right off with his ibuprofen and sunny attitude.

Cole shook it, his lips twitching. “On second thought, take two or three. Your eye’s started to twitch.” Whatever restraint Cole had been using must have escaped him, and he let a smug smirk takeover his stupidly handsome face.

Before common sense was able to get a word in, Zander stepped forward. The animal instinct part of him had one goal in mind: kiss the smirk till it went away. Their past didn’t matter in the present. Cole was here and everything about him tugged on parts of Zander he didn’t know what to do with. Only Cole had ever made Zander’s brain go blank with need. Cole turned Zander into the kind of person Zander didn’t know how to be, and much like in the past, it was irresistible.

And terrifying.

Unlike his seventeen-year-old self, the adult Zander did now—deep down—possess the tiniest inkling of self-control. It was this iron will that enabled his common sense to kick in right as the tips of his shoes brushed the tips of Cole’s. Cole’s hand, bottle covered by his curled fingers, pressed against Zander’s diaphragm. Zander could feel the jut of Cole’s knuckles through the thin fabric of his shirt. Cole’s eyes were wide saucers, the blue almost entirely swallowed by the expanding black of his pupils.

It was the same look he’d given Zander on the bus.

Zander sucked in a shaky breath and on legs that felt wooden, took several steps back. He held his palm out and Cole let the bottle fall, landing dead center. “Thanks,” said Zander, far too huskily.

reviewericon-natalie

4✨s – Second chance romances can be tough for me to enjoy sometimes but this one really struck the right tone. I really like how the trope was presented with men who had truly loved each other once, now shocked by how much of that feeling still exists and realizing how they ended had colored their lives ever since. It also forced Cole to admit to himself that his feelings for his boyfriend Patrick just weren’t enough and break things off. Repeating for the class; there is no cheating except maybe a little in his mind. I felt really bad for Patrick though! There was much in Zander’s past that contributed to their breakup and part of the reason for the surprise appearance of his daughter. I loved that she made him determined to do the best he could for her, if only he could figure out how.

What impressed me most was how balanced the characters and story elements were. Every bit of dialogue and situation moved the narrative forward and built onto the MC’s personalities. The little girl, Savanah, was very much a part of Zander and Cole’s interactions yet never overtook the romance, drawn well to show her as quite bright but still acting and speaking in an age-appropriate way. It’s a pretty slow burn for Zander and Cole as they don’t even begin to date until more than halfway through the book. I was actually surprised when I hit that point it read so fast and smoothly. The growth of their new relationship was wonderfully told, well-paced, never feeling either too slow or fast. Really good secondary characters fleshed out Zander and Cole making them even more believable and relatable. Plus who wouldn’t love a kindergarten teacher slash animal rescuer and a man who will burn brownies for his daughter’s teacher?

The only reason it didn’t make a 5 Star for me was lack of some kind of…oomph, for lack of a better term. I personally prefer some kind of strong tension or crisis point to add stimulus. It was nonetheless a very engaging, enjoyable read without big dramas or misunderstandings. The high point was the epilogue set in the future that allowed imagination and visualization for how Cole and Zander’s romance progressed. I have to add that I appreciated the single POC on the book cover. The author didn’t make it easy to distinguish which MC the model represents, only giving brief, subtle character descriptions to define them. This wasn’t a story with any direct racial or cultural issues as part of the plot so it didn’t really matter who lacked melanin. I’d recommend it highly, for quality writing and a great presentation of the trope.

reviewericon-Jen

3✨s – First of all…. Hey hot guy on the cover! This is my first read from this author, so I came in, really hopeful. I’m such a sucker for a hot dad, and this one had a great premise… I love a good ol’ second chancer. And in this one, Cole and Zander had known each other as young men, both being from military families, they knew that one place or another wasn’t permanent. So, where Cole seemed to wear his heart on his sleeve, longing for permenance, Zander knew it was impossible… Now, all these years later; Zander with a five year old daughter that he knew nothing about until last year, is living with him and they’re trying to figure everything out together. Easier said than done, right? Okay, so now, I’m going to rant for a second…. It’ll be light, because I actually really enjoyed the story, but, there were a couple things that bugged me throughout the whole book. First… and I can understand why, to an extent… because the little girl’s mother seemed to be a selfish cow, (she’s only mentioned in passing, but still), and I can understand how she’d be feeling out of place and dumped off with a father she never met and only being four at the time, how confusing and scary that would be… But, as a mother… I would’ve put up with her attitude for maybe a minute, and then, no…. She was disrespectful and bratty, and had no manners whatsoever. I couldn’t stand that!! And then, Zander… I also understand his reasonings for being emotionally stunted, but he was a jerk… Period, I knew that he liked Cole and he may have even loved him at one time… but he was a jerk, even when he came back and got to know Cole again… he was all about just sleeping with him, and getting it out of his system, but Cole made him take him out a couple times, and I just never felt it was anything more than Zander going through the motions until he could get him in bed. He literally was even like…. K, I know your not ready, but ….when are you gonna be? … Like, not in those words, but kind of! I honestly didn’t feel a connection between the two men until close to the end of the book. I also felt slighted, because we didn’t even get to see how Cole’s mom turned out. Did she survive? Did she ever warm up to Zander? Did she move out? Like, what happened to her? I’m confused as to why she was even brought into the storyline….

BUT, even though I said I would only rant for a second, I really did like them towards the end, and I’m glad we got to see a snibbit of what their life was like years later. Savannah seemed to turn out alright, I guess, and they Zander and Cole were still together 19 years later, happy and still in love. I can be done with this one and be satisfied about it. Not one I’ll likely revisit, but it was alright for me. 3 stars from me

About Meg Harding:
Meg Harding is a sucker for things on four legs and works as a pet sitter when she’s not writing. She’s an editor and a lover of fanfiction. She enjoys the theatre, concerts, and lazing about in front of the TV. Meg Harding is a graduate of UCF and Anglia Ruskin, with a bachelors in Psych and a masters in publishing. For as long as she can remember, writing has always been her passion, but she had an inability to ever actually finish anything. She’s immensely happy that her inability has fled and looks forward to where her mind will take her next. She’s a sucker for happy endings, the beach, and superheroes. In her dream life she owns a wildlife conservation and is surrounded by puppies. She’s a film buff, voracious reader, and a massive geek.

Where to find Meg Harding:

Meg Harding Amazon Author Page Meg Harding's Facebook Author Page Meg Harding on Goodreads Meg Harding on Twitter Meg Harding Website


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