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Second Chances 101 (A Ripple Effect Romance Novella Book 5) Kindle Edition
|Length: 133 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Francie's character was introduced to me in the last book Lost And Found. I didn't really pay too much attention to Francie because I was so absorbed in the budding romance between Lydia and Blake and for some reason I thought, with a name like Francie, that she was...well...old. I must have glanced over the fact that she was a young single mother so I was happy I got another chance to get it right. Francie is coming off a difficult time in her life after the death of her cantankerous husband Greg. Now that he isn't around to hold her back and her son Rafe is heading to college she can focus on going back to school and getting her degree. I loved the tenacity in this woman. She managed to raise a kid with a spouse who verbally abused her almost daily and helped get him into a top college for her efforts. Francie sacrificed so much for her son that she's having to live off her home grown garden in order to eat everyday. Her survival instinct and her personality were what I loved most about her. She wasn't too hard and she wasn't too soft. Francie was a great balance of down to earth and assertive female.
Alex is a divorced father to daughter Samantha who is going through a goth phase since he split with his ex wife. Aside from the fact that his ex is a complete PITA who gives him hell at every opportunity, he's also dealing with budget cutbacks at the university he teaches at which causes him to share an assistant with his sleazeball coworker adding to his frustrations. I found myself really loving Alex throughout the story even though he seemed to have a little bit of an anger issue at first. It wasn't hard to understand the stress his ex wife always seemed to put him under especially with his worries of her turning their daughter against him. Alex was a devoted father and a hard working professor who loved teaching and seeing how his ex brow beat him about his passion really brought home the fact that Alex deserved to be angry. More and more I wanted to see him happy because he was just a decent, good guy who deserved a break. What really sold me on his character was how MUCH he loved his daughter. I'm a sucker for a dad who puts his children first and the fact that Alex was a pretty buff borderline nerdy guy was perfect for me. His relationship with Samantha was difficult at times but he always put his feelings aside to mend fences with her.
The romance between Alex and Francie was slow growing at first mainly because it took them forever to get out of their own way. Alex's initial gruff personality to Francie didn't help her general assessment but I was glad to see they moved past that. Office romances especially in a school setting with all the scandals in the forefront are considered to be frowned upon now. Despite their growing attraction, another office coworker makes it harder for them to enjoy anything with his constant meddling. Alex's daughter Samantha turned out to be a surprise player in the game and I really enjoyed seeing the bond between her and Francie grow stronger with every page. What started as Francie befriending the troubled girl quickly became a bond Francie couldn't live without after experiencing empty nest syndrome most parents go through when their kid leaves home. Samantha had a surprising role in not only Alex and Francie's relationship but a side story involving the sleazeball that worried me at first but soon had me cheering the goth diva.
Second Chances 101 just might be my favorite in the Ripple Effect Romance series. A series that started off by introducing a set of characters and who interacted with a particular secondary character who would then get their own story. I have to say I have loved the idea of this. How one author builds the character and passes them off to another author who then nurtures and cares for them. Each one has done an outstanding job of making sweet and tender romances seem believable and deep within a few short pages. As sometimes happens with novellas for me I was bitten by the "More" bug. By the time this story came to a close I was not ready for the story to end. I loved these characters so much I could absolutely see myself enjoying a full length novel with them and where they are after. Second Chances 101 was a fantastic quick little read with a great hero and heroine that will resonate with readers both younger and older. If you love a good second chance love story and don't have much time to devote to a full novel then grab this one asap!
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