Friday, August 10, 2018

Reunion (The Oleander Chronicles #1) by Lynn Van Dorn

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A man betrayed

The day Brett Payne turned eighteen, he attended a party that left him disillusioned, his trust shattered, and feeling betrayed by Tony Russo, his first love.

Nearly fifteen years later, Brett returns to his hometown of Oleander, Florida to help his mother, who’s in the hospital. When chance brings Brett and Tony back together, it turns out that while sex isn’t off the table (or the floor, or the shower, or the countertops), Brett isn't sure he can truly trust the man who broke his heart.

A man rejected

Fifteen years after he was abandoned by Brett, Tony's dreams for the future were smashed, one by one, until he’s forced to return to Oleander. Barely scraping by as a handyman, he’s hired, reluctantly, by Brett to make improvements at his mother's house. Being near his first love awakens old feelings that Tony thought were buried forever, and he is irresistibly drawn to the stranger the years have turned Brett into.

A second chance at love

Together, Tony and Brett’s passion sets fire to both their lives and plans for the future. Past hurts are unburied, secrets are uncovered, and their lives will never be the same. For the first time in years, Tony feels he might have a future worth looking forward to, but only if Brett is willing to once again risk his heart.

Reunion is an extremely steamy standalone romance with HEA featuring two grown men who desperately need to find their way home, geographically misplaced waterfowl, and a town where just about anything might happen, and often does.

My Rating - 5 Stars!

Reunion (The Oleander Chronicles #1), by Lynn Van Dorn, is everything I want in a romance!

The story is detailed, with many different facets, and an absolute emotional journey. I am impressed with Lynn's writing style, as it is written with heart, humor, and emotion. 

As it's essence, Reunion is a painful and emotional second chance story for two flawed characters. Through a misunderstanding, and a horrific event that took place years ago, the two have not spoken since. Upon meeting again, the misunderstandings and lack of knowledge are still in their way. And, unfortunately, Brett is still too angry to let Tony tell him the truth about that fated night when everything changed.

But men suffered that fated evening, so long ago, and both had the course of their lives forever altered. Tony was supposed to go on to college and play ball, but instead he is struggling as a handyman in his hometown. Meanwhile Brett, now a doctor, is back in town, on the tails of being dumped, and is having his mother's home restored.

Tony's character completely tugs at my heart-strings. His life is so far off course, and he is sad and lonely and just living without any hope. The story of his ex, as Tony starts to reflect upon it, is so painful and unexpected that I felt myself breaking inside.

This book contains misunderstandings, grudges, anger, and some explosive angry sex. It also contains one very homophobic cop, threats, some bigoted townspeople and an ex looking for a reunion.

Their journey towards a reunion is not an easy one. Both men are portrayed as having major flaws, and I like how the process of overcoming these flaws realistically took a long time. It was ugly, it was complex, and it was so darn worth the journey.

I am elated to have stumbled upon Reunion, and am highly impressed with Lynn's writing. Her ability to create such an emotional read, along with very layered and complex characters, is impressive. As well, there are some super side characters who are also well developed and contribute greatly to this story.

Throughout, I found myself getting frustrated, angry, swooning, and also laughing. 

Reunion is a great book for anyone who is looking for a complex and riveting romance.

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