I’m not sure why but this was my first book by Monica McCallan. I’m looking forward to many more, now.
When Quinn moved to New York City from her hometown of Kingsford, she left everything and everyone behind: her depressed mother, her younger sister Kelly, her former best friend Sawyer who meant everything to her. Close to twenty years later, work brings her back to her hometown and a second chance at broken relationships.
In my book, this qualifies as a second chance romance, but it’s not completely accurate. While Quinn and Sawyer never were together before Quinn left Kingsford, they secretly pined for each other. I still want to add that trope to the childhood friends to lovers and return to hometown ones, since it’s got all my favourite ingredients.
I’ve said this before, I love second chance romance novels because the chemistry is already existing. Maybe it needs to be awakened, rekindled, or maybe it’s still as strong. In both cases, it burns hot. Despite everything that went on before Quinn left, despite the way she left, despite the hurt and misunderstandings, neither Quinn nor Sawyer can fight the attraction that blazes back as soon as they meet again. Monica McCallan makes all that pent-up lust, all the feelings both MCs fought as teens rush up to the surface in a way that makes them palpable to the reader.
It took a little while for me to warm up to Quinn, just as it did for Sawyer when Quinn comes back. Through Sawyer, I understood Quinn’s reasons for leaving, and from then on was all in. I really love Quinn and Sawyer together. The shift from anger to lust on Sawyer’s part may feel a little rushed but I don’t care. I believe it.
Sawyer is too kind for her own good, which can be mistaken for meekness. Witnessing her learning to stand up for herself was a thing of beauty. Sawyer is wonderful, she deserves all the happiness in the world. Quinn’s journey is at once more subtle and more brutal. She’s convinced herself that she’s content with her outwardly perfect life. Coming home, however reluctantly, reminds her that loads of money you don’t have time to spend and a job you don’t hate aren’t what life is supposed to be about. And second chances aren’t limited to lovers (or wannabe lovers), family sometimes deserves them too.
Speaking of family, I hate Shane, Sawyer’s brother, and love Kelly, Quinn’s sister and Sawyer’s best friend, and the nieces and nephew on both sides. And I wish the relationship between Quinn and her mother got a little more on-page time. I like the way the author handles it, and I wanted to see where it was going.
I would have read Back in Your Arms in one sitting if I didn’t need to sleep from time to time.