By Hayden Hunt
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I thought he was out of my life for good.
I always hoped I’d run into Jackson again. I didn’t think it was ever going to happen, but I always hoped. So the day I found his lost kitten felt like fate. I didn’t even know he was in town, and now I was going to be seeing him again so that I could return his adorable cat.
But it’s been years since we last spoke and things didn’t exactly end well. I used to be in love with him, and I still have so many feelings, but can I forgive him? He’s been wonderful to me in the past but he also hurt me deeply. I can’t deny, though, that the bond between us is still strong. At least, it is for me. I can’t be sure how he feels. Especially considering how he left…
I was such a fool to ever let him go.
I haven’t been the best person, I will fully admit to that. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life, but leaving Grant behind was by far the biggest. He was my best friend, I’ve never been closer to anyone else.
And that’s the scary part for me. My biggest fear about returning to my hometown to help out my family was that I’d run into him again. I don’t want to get close to him again because it might mean losing him. And I already feel crushed from losing him the first time.
Grant and Jackson have always loved one another, but things just never fell into place after they graduated from high school – Grant was willing to take a chance by confessing his feelings, but Jackson was scared of what his feelings meant once he realized how strong they were. The two haven’t seen one another in more than a decade, and it’s only by chance – connecting over a lost and found kitten – that they have their shot at a second chance. This time, though, it’s Grant who is hesitant about aggressively pursuing what he knows is true love because he can’t risk having his heart broken a second time. This time Jackson is willing to do whatever it takes to make sure they get and stay together because they’re made for one another.
The story never dives into a deep or complex plot, but stays lighter-hearted and focuses instead on the positive evolution of their second chance at building a real relationship as a couple and not simply best friends. Jackson is willing to do what he needs to do to repair the damage he caused when he walked out on Grant so long ago, even though he’s dealing with his cancer-stricken mother. It’s a novella, so it’s a quick read, doesn’t go into a lot of detail or have a lot of drawn-out scenes, and some parts of the build-up to their physical relationship are rushed along.
What I appreciated most about the story was that the angst and grief was experienced in the past and instead the couple focused their energies on moving forward and building a future together.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of New Leaf, and I would recommend it to readers seeking a feel-good M/M second chance romance.
Review originally posted on Amazon and Goodreads on November 11, 2016.