Hold Her Again by Shannon Stacey
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: October 23, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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A country-music star returns home to win back the woman he loves in this charming holiday novella from New York Times bestselling author Shannon Stacey
Ava Wright isn't happy to see her high school sweetheart rolling into their hometown a few weeks before Christmas. He's only come back to bury his estranged father, but there's no way she'll be able to avoid him. No one can: he's become a country-music superstar since going solo and leaving Ava behind.
Jace Morrow grew up believing "money can't buy happiness" was something people said to make themselves feel better. But now he knows it's the truth: no matter how many number-one hits he has, he'll never recapture the magic of singing with Ava. Missing her—loving her—and living with making the wrong choice in life were what made him who he is.
When Jace is roped into being part of the town's annual Christmas party, he only cares about earning Ava's forgiveness. And though Ava's heart has never healed, she loved Jace too much and for too long to shut him out when he's hurting. As they fall in love all over again, they're both faced with choices for their future…and this time Jace intends to make the right one.
This book is approximately 30,000 words
One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you're looking for with an HEA/HFN. It's a promise!
I’ve read and enjoyed most of Stacey’s backlist. When I saw the premise for this novella I was super excited. Music star + reunited lovers by Stacey = Total Win! Sadly, it didn’t work for me as much as I thought it would.
Jace and Ava fell in love in high school and ran off to St. Louis together as soon as they could to pursue a career in the music industry. When a popular manager approached them and told Jace she only wanted him, he chose to leave Ava behind and pursue his dream of fame and fortune. She returned home and went back to work waiting tables at the local diner. Six years later Jace is forced to come back to their hometown for his father’s funeral. He hasn’t stopped loving Ava and can’t wait to see her again. But six years is a long time, and Ava doesn’t think she can let go of her hurt and anger over the way Jace turned his back on her….on them.
My biggest issue was with the time of separate between Ava and Jace. He was gone way too long for me to accept his feelings for Ava were genuine. If he never stopped loving her and thought of her every day, why did it take him six years – and the excuse of his father’s funeral – to come back? I might have been able to accept his reasons if he stayed away a year, but six? I just couldn’t get past it. I spent most of the book feeling all rage-y inside.
Ava was a good heroine, and I liked the town and secondary characters. I even liked Jace. But I didn’t like him for Ava. It was easy for him to claim he’d love her forever and never leave her again now that he’d already achieved all his dreams. The length of the story didn’t provide sufficient time for me to forgive him for what he did. As always, Stacey’s writing was wonderful, but even a great heroine and lovely writing couldn’t save this story for me.
2.75 out of 5