Title: Renewing Forever
Author: Kelly Jensen
Series: This Time Forever #2
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release date: November 12, 2018
Cover artist: Natasha Snow
Genre: m/m contemporary romance
Tropes: second chances
Length: approx. 85,700 words | 346 pages
Frankie and Tommy once dreamed of traveling the world together. But when seventeen-year-old Frank kissed Tom, their plans ended with a punch to the jaw and Frank leaving town without looking back. Thirty years later, Frank’s successful career as a journalist is interrupted by his uncle’s death and the question of his inheritance—the family resort where his childhood dreams were built. When he returns to the Pocono Mountains, however, he finds a dilapidated lodge and Tommy, the boy he never forgot.
Tom’s been keeping the resort together with spit and glue while caring for Frank’s uncle, Robert—a man he considered father, mentor, and friend—and his aged mother, who he refuses to leave behind. Now Robert is gone, taking Tom’s job with him. And Frank is on the doorstep, wanting to know why Tom is still there and why the old lodge is falling apart.
But before they can rebuild the resort, they’ll have to rebuild their friendship. Only then can they renew the forever they planned all those years ago.
I'm so enjoying this series so far. I loved the first book and I quite enjoyed this addition as well, although probably not as much as the first. But that's because I loved Charlie! I think the best word I can think of to describe this series is nice. It's such a nice comfort read and I love how happy the well-deserved HEAs make me feel!
I really loved getting to know Frank in this book. We saw glimpses of him in book one, and in this book we get to peel back the layers of who he is. I didn't fall in love with Tom quite as fast, but his character development was so well depicted, from who he is at the beginning to who he became at the end. I will admit that I could totally relate to his financial difficulties. Neither Tom nor Frank had an easy journey through the book, and I spent a lot of the book feeling so sad for them and what happened when they were younger. I did feel like this book dragged in a couple of places, but overall it's was such a nice read and it does have a very satisfying HEA!
The person I was saddest for, though, was the recently deceased Robert, Frank's uncle. Seeing him through Tom and Frank's eyes just made me feel so sad for him and how he'd been forgotten by everyone, just like his house. I think I shed more tears for Robert than for Frank and Tom lol.
Fresh writing, sympathetic and flawed characters, and excellent character development! I highly recommend both books in this series if you're looking for something smooth with mature heroes!
Frank spread his towel on a warm rock, kicked off his sandals, and dipped a toe in the water. “Shit! That’s not water, it’s liquid nitrogen.”
Tom stepped out of his flip-flops and stepped into the pool until the water lapped at the bottom of his shorts. “I seem to remember someone once telling me you had to jump in all at once. Like they did in Sweden.”
Frank met his gaze. He hadn’t expected Tom to talk about the notebook. “I never got to Scandinavia,” he said by way of continuing the conversation.
Tom’s mouth crooked up on one side. “You’ve got time.”
Nodding absently, Frank picked his way carefully over the arrangement of stones until he finally stood face-to-face with Tom in the shockingly chilly water. “It’s still cold.”
“You’ll go numb soon.”
“I might never find my balls.”
A flicker of something passed over Tom’s face, then he smiled a certain smile. By the time Frank had figured it out—what that smile meant—Tom had ducked down into the water and warm hands were tugging at Frank ankles. It was too late to steady himself. Set a stance. Find a rock big enough to hold on to. Too late to do anything but fall backward until he splashed down into freezing hell, creek water sloshing up his nostrils and over his head. Frank swallowed a yelp and more water. He splashed and flailed. When he surfaced, his sinuses burned and his mouth tasted like old tea. And Tom was sitting across from him, hair plastered in a wet tangle across his forehead, laughing.
Slicking his hair back with one hand, Tom lunged forward with the other, catching a wave and pushing it toward Frank’s face. Frank’s block came too late. After swallowing another bellyful of creek, he gathered water on both sides, creating a wave on two fronts that Tom couldn’t escape. Except he did, the bastard. He ducked underneath the swell and splash, and his hands, cooler now, tangled with Frank’s ankles again. Frank kicked backward only to find he’d reached the rocks stacked around the edge of the creek. Tom pulled him under.
Frank opened his eyes under the water and sought out Tom’s sleek shape, catching a leg before Tom managed to swim away. He yanked him backward and pushed him down. Bubbles rose up. He let Tom surface briefly before dragging him down and rolling over him so they tumbled through the shallow pool, each fighting to be the one on top. Frank forgot about air and breathing until he tried to suck in a mouthful of water. He tapped Tom’s side, a gesture from thirty years or more gone by, and Tom immediately let him up.
And then they went at it again, remembering how to play. How to tease each other with the thought of drowning, how to sneak in a small pool of water. How to shout and laugh and splash too many times, but not once more because enough was enough.
Frank could feel bruises developing on his elbows and knees. His hip ached and by the time he dragged himself out of the water to lie on his back on a wet, slick rock, chest heaving toward the sky, he existed in a place he hadn’t visited in forever. A space without conscious thought.
Tom landed beside him with a wet squelch, and panted breath joined his chorus.
About the author:
If aliens ever do land on Earth, Kelly will not be prepared, despite having read over a hundred stories of the apocalypse. Still, she will pack her precious books into a box and carry them with her as she strives to survive. It’s what bibliophiles do.
Kelly is the author of a number of novels, novellas and short stories, including the Chaos Station series, co-written with Jenn Burke. Some of what she writes is speculative in nature, but mostly it’s just about a guy losing his socks and/or burning dinner. Because life isn’t all conquering aliens and mountain peaks. Sometimes finding a happy ever after is all the adventure we need.
Win one signed paperback of Building Forever, by Kelly Jensen. Open Internationally.