Second Chances: Beautiful Mistakes – Felice Stevens
The other side of loathing might be lust …
Or love …
Desire: What Wolf struggles with from the moment he sees Spencer Hawkins the first day of college.
Fear: Not a word in Wolf’s vocabulary except when it comes to facing his feelings for Spencer.
Lust: What he gives in to that changes everything between them. And his life forever.
Denial: Something Wolf is all too familiar with—denying who he is and who he wants. It’s better this way, even if it’s tearing him and his friendship with Spencer apart.
Hide: What Spencer does best. He hides from everyone, especially himself and the crazy attraction to Wolf he can’t shake.
Walls: Spencer throws them up to protect himself from all the hurts life heaps on him—his mother’s death, his father’s indifference, and the men who share his bed and walk away.
Betrayal: Not by just anyone. By Wolf. The one man he can’t forget. Or forgive.
Want: Spencer wants to live in the moment, but he can’t stop thinking about that night. And it doesn’t help that he and Wolf keep knocking heads…and locking lips.
Love: What these two idiots need to realize is happening between them. What started out as their ugliest regret could end up being the most beautiful mistake they ever made.
Sometimes, you meet one character in a story and you just know right off the bat, their own book is going to blow you away.
This is what happened with Wolf. I met him in Second Chances, Book 1. He barely said two sentences when I immediately latched on to him. Then seeing his antagonistic interactions with Spencer, I was super eager to find out what was going on between them. So much so that I didn’t wait to finish the first book and completely skipped the second. I jumped right to their story.
Beautiful Mistakes is an angsty, slow-burn, frenemies to lovers romance of mega-lawyer Garrett Wolf and fashion stylist Spencer Hawkins. The tumultuous history of the two started way back in college. They were rooming with two other students, Elliot and Chess.
For some reason, Wolf found himself attracted to Spencer. He couldn’t understand why because he has never been attracted to anyone. He never acted on it, not wanting to be just another one-night stand to the very active Spencer.
Fifteen years later, the four are still friends. Elliot is now a freelance journalist and Chess, a college professor. Wolf still wants Spencer.
Second Chances is a character-driven series. One of the things that makes Beautiful Mistakes the best installment is that both Wolf and Spencer are very compelling characters. They stood out individually and as a couple. The biggest hurdle of the first book was I didn’t care much about Elliot’s and Win’s issues. Here, I was heavily invested in Wolf’s welfare. I really, really wanted him to be happy because our boy is too hard on himself.
Wolfie is the workaholic of the group. An enigmatic, dominating presence, he tends to be serious, scowly, blunt, and aloof. He has a deep, dark secret he spent his entire life running away from. And trying to make up for. He also thinks there’s something wrong with him because no one seems to interest him at all. Excerpt for one very infuriating man.
He kept his desires strictly under lock and key for years, thinking he’s not good enough for Spence. Until one moment of weakness in Milan. Then, he ghosted the next morning. They kept that magical night a secret from their friends. Spencer was hurt by Wolf calling it a mistake. Things were progressively going downhill for them. It got so bad that Chess and Elliot had to stage an intervention.
Gad! Spencer is annoying! The two tried, boy, they really tried, to talk things out. Several times too. My heart went out to Wolfie. It’s already difficult enough to explain his painful family history, much more about his complicated feelings for a friend. The idiot Spencer would interrupt with a ridiculous comment that would totally derail the conversation. It’s frustrating as hell!
Spencer also has some family drama he prefers to leave in the past. He might be silly and outrageous, but he’s talented, ambitious, and driven. I loved the way his personality jives with Wolf’s sardonic humor.
They clash because Spencer is a flamboyant, life of the party. His motto is the more, the merrier. Meanwhile, the demisexual Wolf doesn’t approve of Spencer’s cavalier way with sex. He insists his friend deserves so much more than randos. Me! Me! Poor Wolfie cries silently. Unknown to him, Spencer was also attracted to him since way back when. I wanted to crack their heads together.
The push and pull between the two men was intense! They had that crazy good annoy-you-because-I-want-you-so-bad chemistry that makes the enemies or in this case, frenemies to lovers trope a joy to read. When they finally realized why they liked pushing each other’s buttons so much, BAM! Fireworks!
I struggled with Elliot and Win’s story, The List. It didn’t have enough hook to keep me engaged. I also wasn’t so keen on Chess and Andre’s book, Footsteps of the Past. I would have loved to read about an established couple but Chess is kind of meh. However, these two couples make great supporting characters in the third book. I love how the four college friends plus the men in their lives built this lifelong bond with each other.
If there’s one book that badly needs an epilogue, this is it. I can’t believe it left Wolfie and Spence standing in front of a window. I need more!
Still, Beautiful Mistakes is a well-written finale. It flowed just right and hit a perfect balance of emotional notes. The book is deep and moving. Many times, heartbreaking. But it’s also funny, snarky, sweet, and heartwarming.
The way Wolf and Spencer zing throughout the book! The way they became each other’s rock when the past caught up to them. How right it felt when they finally came to terms with their feelings and let each other in. It’s beautiful and damn near perfect!
4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away
I might have jumped the line but Second Chances is best read in order. Witness hopeless romantic Elliot find his ideal match in hotshot detective Win in The List. Watch long-time boyfriends Chess and Andre rediscover why they’re stronger together in Footsteps Of The Past. All the while, you can enjoy the delicious USTs building up between the bickering dorks. The first two books have rave reviews so I think you can’t go wrong with this series.
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