To “I do”?
In this Billionaires for Heiresses story, Summer Bishop knew her parents’ anniversary party in stunning South Africa would be hard. Spending the week with her gorgeous ex-husband, Wyatt Montgomery, reminds Summer of their painful divorce but also—inconveniently—why she fell in love with him! Summer never told Wyatt why she left, and he’s determined to uncover her secrets. Will Summer reveal her heart for a second chance with her husband?
I was so thrilled to get the TBR Challenge for favorite trope. And then I struggled because I love so many tropes, how could I possibly pick just one? And then I remembered pre-ordering Second Chance with Her Billionaire specifically because of the second chance at love trope. I love a good second chance at love story. My personal library is filled with stories that focus on a couple who had a relationship and for whatever reason, that relationship was doomed, except the love didn’t die and fate shoves a second chance in their way. What made me want to read Therese’s latest novel wasn’t just the second chance plot, but also the fact the couple is forced together after two years of separation, and neither partner can say no.
Summer Bishop was a strong heroine, strong enough to do what she felt had to in order to protect her family, her ex-husband, and herself. Underneath that strength that allowed her to walk away from a bad family situation, also kept her from speaking her truth. This internal push and pull was nuanced and kept Summer from being a tragedy. Summer was anything but a tragedy. She is someone I want on my side because I know she’ll listen and kick me in the ass when necessary. Summer would also stand with me through thick and thin. Which makes the reasons why Summer left her ex-husband, and why she feels alone within her family so very complicated and real. And makes how she and her ex come back together realistic and poignant. She’s also very grounded, given that she’s the daughter of a billionaire and has benefited from her father’s wealth and legacy. Instead of relying on daddy’s money, however, Summer struck out on her own to sink or swim in business on her own merit.
Wyatt Montgomery carries the scars of a chaotic childhood, and uses his past to keep people at arm’s length, while still attempting to build solid relationships. Summer’s father chose him as a protege, and successfully became Trevor Bishop’s number two man in nine years. He is somewhat of a workaholic, however, and put his mentor on a pedestal, wanting the perfect life he thought his ex-father-in-law had. When Summer filed for divorce, it devastated him, and when he sees her again for the first time in two years, he battles his inner desire to be with her again and stay far away from yet another woman who left him.
Like Summer, Wyatt is a nuanced character with layers. He’s not bitter, even though he’s most certainly hurting. He’s willing to listen to people even when what they have to say puts cracks in his world view. He’s a man in love who panics at the thought of being part of a family, even though that is one of his greatest desires. Instead of being the cliched man who is scarred and angry at everyone thanks to his family of origin issues. Wyatt is trying to be a better man, and sometimes that means re-evaluating one’s perspective and beliefs around one’s actions and choices.
For a category romance, a lot was packed into these pages. I loved that this story took place at a resort in South Africa, and that the reason for these two exes to be together was a celebration of Summer’s parents’ marriage. The older Bishop’s were somewhat a foil to Summer and Wyatt, as well as a cautionary tale of what could happen when one isn’t honest with one’s family. Trevor Bishop isn’t the poster boy for how to build a business empire, raise a family, and nurture a marriage – something both Summer and Wyatt needed to acknowledge in order to move forward.
That said, while Trevor is in some ways a catalyst for what broke this couple apart, both Wyatt and Summer determined the fate of their first marriage themselves. And this is where I have the smallest of complaints, because Ms. Beharrie did such a great job with this reconciliation story. Without giving the plot away, the position Summer has put herself in as outside her family is because she didn’t tell her mother and sister a secret held by her father. She never confronted her father over the pain this secret has put her through. Instead, Summer withdrew. And I get this. Family secrets are toxic and when such a secret puts a child between both parents, it warps the relationships.
I can get on board with Summer’s reticence toward her father, and the distance she allowed to grow between her and her family. What irritated me was the fact Summer didn’t confide in the man she loves and married. Her rationale was that Wyatt had her father so far up on that pedestal he would never have believed her. And that he was becoming like Trevor in his work habits, being more involved in the business than being here for Summer.
One conversation would have opened the doors to healing while Summer and Wyatt were married. They could have talked about the fear and anxiety that stemmed from how they experienced their families. Summer could have spoken about her fear of betrayal, that she would always be second in Wyatt’s priorities. Wyatt could have explored just why he kept people at arm’s length, including his wife. It wouldn’t have been easy, and maybe it would have ended in divorce anyway, but secret fears might not have been the reason.
Given all the angst, the story isn’t riddled with it. There are moments of laughter that shine bright, and there are moments of poignancy that made the story emotionally rich. Both the heroine and the hero have a chance to shine, just has they have opportunity to fall flat on their faces and be vulnerable with each other. I did appreciate that Ms. Beharrie didn’t end the last chapter with everything resolved, but allowed us to see in a brief epilogue the steps Summer and Wyatt took to build a strong foundation for a second chance at life together.
I really enjoyed this book, and really, the only thing (aside from the lack of communication around the couples issues when they were still married) would have been if the book was longer. There is a lot of sexual tension, even though this is a closed door book and there is no sex on the page. The relationship arc was more than satisfying, and the consequences of Trevor’s actions were solid and not over the top. As was the slow slide to reconciliation between Summer and Wyatt. If you love closed door romances and second chance at love stories, this book is most definitely for you. If you eat up sexual tension with a spoon, you definitely want to read this book!
You can buy a copy here.