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Second to None (A Second Glances Novella) MP3 CD – Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged
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But now we come to a new series about love lost, love reclaimed. In this novella, we are introduced to Max Varela, a chemist. Max and Captain Jake Wade, a Marine stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, worked together to develop light-weight protective armor for men destined for war out of the flexible polymer Max created for his Ph.D. thesis. Captain Wage is married to Emily and they have a very young daughter. Because Max was a single, young man fresh out of college, Emily invited him to their home for meals because he was alone in their city. He and Jake became close friends and Max came to love the Wade family, including their young daughter.
After the military project was complete, Max moved to New York City and he lost touch with Jake and Emily - on purpose. It has now been 7 years since Max left Camp Lejeune. When the fortunes of war leave Emily a widow with a young child, her “aunt” invites her to move into her home in South Harlem while Emily adjusts to the loss of her husband. Upon the death of the aunt, the house is left to Emily.
Emily's aunt is also responsible for Emily becoming the director of The Carver Center, an after-school program for disadvantaged kids. Now Emily is in Max’s office to seek assistance in obtaining a grant for a program she has developed for the center.
Emily applied for one of the grants offered annually by V-Chem, Max’s company, but was turned down. Recognizing that the kids at her center need to understand responsibility and unconditional love, Emily has developed a program called K-9 Angelz. She also plans to teach the children how to grow healthy food which they will then eat after school. Unfortunately, the vacant lot next door the center she needs for use in the new program is about to be sold to someone who made an offer over asking price. So, time is of the essence.
Without realizing that Max can do nothing about the $500,000.00 grant requested by the center, Emily invites him to the center so she can show him her plans. Just before Max arrives, one of the youngsters, Diego, comes racing in out of the cold weather without a shirt on. It seems he has come across some kids mistreating a dog and when he runs them off, the dog runs off too and gets hit by a car. So Diego takes off his shirt to wrap the dog to bring it to the Center.
Emily is waiting for Max to arrive. When Diego barrels into the Center, with the injured dog wrapped in his shirt. Diego wants Emily to take him and the dog to the vet right then. Emily is torn between needing to wait and show Max around the Center and explain the reason she applied for the grant and needing to show Diego, a youngster who was kicked out of his home by his loan shark dad because Diego would not use his large size to intimidate customers who were behind in their payments, the value of loving even an animal and taking responsibility for it.
Emily finally decides it is more important to get Diego and the dog to the vet than to wait on Max. Then Max arrives. Since no one at the center has a vehicle, she “commandeers” Max’s vehicle - which turns out to be a limo - to take Diego and the dog to the vet. Diego is not the only one to get a lesson in unconditional love that day.
If I go any further, I will let the cat out of the bag and I don’t want to do that. It is too good a story for me to spoil it for you. You NEED to read this kick-off to Nancy’s new series. I’m thinking it just may help me move on from Nathan, Luke, and Gavin - but I certainly won’t forget them. They have a special place in my heart because it was due to them that I became a reader of romance novels.
I’m sure before the next installment of Second Glances comes out I will be having DTs. No pressure Nancy.
I liked that this wasn't typical. The right beats were there. But the tropes were played with just enough to feel fresh and new. I loved Emily's daughter, Izzy. She was a neat and fun kid with just the right amount of innocence and wisdom. Emily herself was a fun character. She wasn't afraid to admit her weaknesses but she also wasn't willing to be bulldozed. I loved that she stuck to her guns especially in the face of some pretty daunting odds. I liked aspects of Max. I liked his science background and his understanding of himself.
What I didn't like was that Max fell into the trope of "throwing money at the problems until it goes away' which is often overused in billionaire romances. I also wasn't overly fond of a few of the dog related events which happened and I had a few concerns about "white savior" in regards to the center.
However the good definitely outweighed the bad and I walked away satisfied with the story. I'll definitely be on the look out for more from the author.
***I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley***
The story of “Second To None" unfolds as the blurb predicts, so there's no need to provide yet another summary. What I'd like to point out though is that the heroine Emily Wade is not your stereotype romance novel damsel in distress but a business woman in her own rights, who wants her enterprise to be successful. Bonus points for this being a non-profit one. So yes, here's to reading not only about a dashing billionaire, and smart kids and cute dogs but an interesting, full fledged woman too!
The problem with a novella is, well, its inherent shortness but since “Second To None" is the kick-off to a new series, fans of Nancy Herkness can look forward to a full length novel soonish. Maybe soon?
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