When Peggy Bird wrote and asked me to consider reading and reviewing her upcoming release, LOVING AGAIN, book 2 in her Second Chance series, I hesitated because it was a contemporary. Then to be fair, I read the blurb - aha, the story involves a murder - I was hooked. I'm quite pleased that I gave this author and her story a second chance.
***eARC provided by author in exchange for an honest and unscripted review.
Blurb for LOVING AGAIN:
One spring evening, at an art gallery opening, Portland police detective Sam Richardson meets Amanda St. Claire, a talented, young glass artist. He’s immediately attracted to her. Trouble is, they’re introduced by Amanda’s boyfriend, restaurant and club owner Tom Webster.
Then Webster is murdered and Amanda’s accused of killing him. Amanda and Sam grow closer as they try to clear her name. But as much as Sam wants her to stay she runs to Seattle to escape the notoriety of her trial.
Sam follows and convinces her to come back to Portland and to him. But when she does, strange things begin to happen. Another glass artist publicly accuses her of stealing his ideas. She’s stalked while out running errands. The sensor on the back door to her basement keeps going off, as if someone is trying to get into her house. Her studio is repeatedly broken into.
Then, two more people are killed and the evidence points, again, to Amanda as the killer. And this time, Sam’s life is threatened, too. On her own Amanda comes up with a plan to protect him. A plan that means she will have to shut him out of her life. But she can’t let anything happen to him, not after everything he did for her.
Even if it means losing the only man she’s ever loved.
* * * * * *
Just as glass artist Amanda St. Claire has begun to get her life back on track after a long year recovering from the bad press she got as the main suspect in the murder of her boyfriend, Tom Webster, life throws her one more curve. On the eve of leaving Portland, for a what she hopes will be a new start, Sam Richardson, the man who put his career on the line for her, tells her he wants her to stay - for him.
Sam Richardson hasn't been able to get Amanda St. Claire out of his mind. Since the first time he saw her, he's been unable to get her out of his mind. Then after working so closely with her to clear her name and find the real killer of Tom Webster, Sam knew he needed to tell her the truth about how he felt about her and try to convince her to stay or at least come back to him some day. It turns out to be a chance worth taking.
After one night of passion, Amanda leaves but Sam is never far from her thoughts. They share emails and phone calls until one day when Sam appears at her show to plead his case. She surprises him by telling him that she missed him just as much and that she is returning to Portland. They decide to see where this thing might go. All seems well once Amanda is back in Portland and happily working in her studio again. Then strange things start occurring - her house alarm goes off at strange times, she has the feeling she's being watched, and then a fellow artist accuses her of stealing his ideas. When two more people are murdered and it looks like she's the main suspect once more, Amanda fears turning to Sam not because she doesn't believe he'll take her side but because someone has threatened to harm him if she doesn't cooperate and keep her mouth shut.
LOVING AGAIN, book 2 in the Second Chance series by Peggy Bird is a gripping, fast-paced story that sucks in the reader very quickly and holds them there as the mystery surrounding Amanda St. Claire deepens even as the passion between her and Sam heats up substantially.
Having not read book 1 in the series, I was surprised and pleased by how quickly Peggy caught me up with the back story and kept me glued to this one. LOVING AGAIN by Peggy Bird works so well as a stand-alone that even if you haven't read BEGINNING AGAIN - which I plan to read as soon as I get a chance - you will want to after reading LOVING AGAIN.
I highly recommend this contemporary romance for its steaminess, it's thriving mystery and its characters who create a real world feel that many contemporaries tend to be lacking. Read LOVING AGAIN by Peggy Bird if you love a mystery that keeps you guessing right up to the last kiss.
Happy Reading Everyone!
LOVING AGAIN, book 2 in the Second Chance series by Peggy Bird, Crimson Romance, release date, November 12, 2012 in ebook formats.