Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Chance Dumont has decided to move forward wit his life. Chance decides the best way to put the past behind him is a relationship with the young man, Rory, who idolizes him. At least it seemed like a good idea at the time. But lately the relationship feels constricting, and Chance can see it deteriorating in the near future. But how to tell Rory that its over? Unfortunately, Rory saw it coming and made one of the worst decisions of his young life. Now both men must deal with the tragic outcome. Chance realizes that second chances are hard to come by and makes a hard decision. Then his past walks through the doors of his bar after five years. And Chance is face to face with the hardest decision he has ever made. Who will get the second chance at love, his past or his present?
Second Chances Are picks up shortly after the end of the first book in the series, Chances Are. Chance Dumont, that quintessential damaged ex cop is back and trying to move on with his life, one that was destroyed both career wise and emotionally five years earlier. Chance has decided to put his past behind him and give romance a try once more. His choice of partner? That would be Rory, a young gay cop who is clearly in love with the older man. Lee Brazil brings us again into the weary, sarcastic personality that is Chance Dumont, a man who gained his nickname from a grandmother he both loved and hated. One who always said, “Chances are you will come to no good, just like your pa”, and the appellation stuck.
We reenter Chance’s life just as he has made a decision to try and move forward with his life. New boyfriend, new attempt at a relationship (although on his terms). But when the story opens, Chance is realizing that Rory will never be the one he wants and that’s a painful reality. Chance is a difficult man. He is complex, with his own set of rules and laws he goes by, not necessarily society’s ones. He is a Dom and wants someone who not only has the same kink he has but something more. Something he once had and lost. Chance is not a bad man and he realizes the damage this is going to do to the young man who idolizes him. It won’t be pretty, in fact, Chance is sure it is going to get ugly quick. I love that Brazil’s characterization of Chance is realistically layered and contradictory in his thought processes. He is human, not always likable but trying to be as honorable as possible. Brazil’s Chance is a man who knows life is hard but is still surprised by the depths people will sink to. I really like this man and can see why the author created Rory, his opposite in almost every way. We need that to illuminate the truth of Chance and it works.
A traumatic event happens to Rory that changes the dynamic between the men. Just when Chance had made one decision about their relationship, an attack on Rory changes everything. Soon Chance is dropping that hard won decision altogether in favor of a different path, one that is 180 degrees from the realistic one Chance thought was best for them both. This is a hard choice for Chance and Brazil lets the reader into Chance’s inner thoughts and moral arguments as he works through his own culpability with respect to Rory and the attack. This intimate look into Chance’s mindset is necessary for the reader to continue to be emotionally attached to a man who can be perceived as cold and removed. Chance is a great character who continues to grow as more about his past is revealed and our attachment to the man grows with him.
In this case, his past walks through the door towards the end of the story. The reader knew it was coming but the emotional implications and impact on Chance is still as disastrous as we expected. It’s wonderful when an author can do that with an anticipated segment of their story, and Lee Brazil does a great job with it.
We get to see Wick Templeton or at least hear him mentioned as a possible course of action, so you know things are dire when Wick is the weapon of choice. I think it is wise that Wick is accounted for in these linked series by something as fleeting as a phone call. I am not sure that either series can hold both men together at the same time. That’s a lot of testosterone and trouble for one series, let alone two.
The other aspect I need to bring up is that this is not truly a romance, at least not yet. There are elements of BDSM, a D/s relationship, certainly affection as well as bitterness over a past love. But romance? That would be no. And it’s really not needed here. This is a portrait of a man who is trying to move forward in his life, leaving his career and obviously love behind. We don’t have the facts yet but they are coming. Some of them just walked in the door. What Lee Brazil does give us is tension, the realities and hardships that life dumps at your feet, and taking responsibility for your actions. This is a grown up story and I love it.
So start at the beginning and work your way through the series. Then head on over to Wicked’s Way, Havan Fellows’s series and grab that one up too. I have two more stories in this series to review so stay with us all the way to the end. You won’t be sorry.
Cover art by Laura Harner is appropriate for the book and the series. Works well to brand the series too.
Books in the series in the order they were written and should be read to understand the characters and events within:
Chances Are (Chances Are #01)
Second Chances Are (Chances Are #02)
Fifty Fifty Chances Are (Chances Are #03)
Ghost of a Chance (Chances Are #04)