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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Review by Wendy ♥ Of Smoke And Cinnamon: A Christmas Story by Ace Gray

 A Review by Wendy
4.5 Never Too Late Stars
* * * * 1/2  
Spoiler Free

Oh, our younger selves....How they make mistakes and never communicate the way they should. How things are left unsaid or assumed. How these moments either slip away or get magnified by What if... or I should have. Or worse, misconceptions of what really was happening at the time...

We all have experienced something like that in our is just a matter of what and its importance. Ace Gray takes all of the above and weaves a love story which will capture your heart and not let go. She times it during the Christmas season... but it could happen anytime in someone's life...the season just makes it all the more special.

We have her; Camilla Collins. Hometown girl of Willow Creek, Colorado made good. She took her keen interest of science and bourbon, mixed the two and created a new presence in the market based out of Portland. It has been bitter sweet in many ways... she named it 13 for the special meaning it held...She loved her family, yet refused to come back home to visit. The heartbreak pain was still to intense...

Full out love for another will do that to you...Heartbreak so deep, you can't let go and won't forget...
The idea of the boy, now man, and what his life must be...cuts and only a mother's begging and pleading finally makes the girl, now woman, come home for Christmas after 13 years.

We have him; AJ Jenkins. Hometown boy who has suffered the loss of his father from a battle of cancer. Devoted to his town as a volunteer fireman, a man who loves his mom and crafts wood and steel to make works of art. Everything he touches has the trace of lost love embedded deep, making the furniture more alive, more beautiful.

For this man is steeped in pain for a heartbreak inflicted by Cam...She left him, never giving them the chance they deserved...

But there's the puzzle...for each is heartbroken beyond repair...Each swearing the other broke them.
And each is wrong about how everything went down.

Cam is back in town due to her mother's begging and how she ended up in front of The Bar she can't remember. Yes, she knows her mother talked her into seeing everyone... informal reunion and all...But she is hesitant to even go in. Her decision is taken away from her when an old high school friend grabs her and pushes them through the door.

Cam stumbles, trips and almost falls catching herself by grabbing unto the long oak bar. She hasn't been this klutzy in years. She has been a Louboutin wearing woman for years, thank you very much and never fell in them before. As she gets her feet under her, she is welcomed by her best friend from school, the owner of the bar.

They exchange hugs and chat as if no time has gone by...secret looks and acknowledgements happen. Cam knows AJ is there in the bar and she tries to ignore the situation. She is whisked away by welcoming friends and pool games take over.

AJ saw her, felt her the minute she came through the door. Almost couldn't breathe it hit so hard. He pretends he is occupied with video games and friends in order to survive this happening...The night ends with AJ losing track of Cam... and it is all for the better. He leaves as the bar closes only to find Cam on the metal bench outside.

Upside down...which was her way...She is toasted and trying to find her cel...AJ offers his. Her mother doesn't answer and even though AJ needs Cam on his couch like he needs a hole in his head...He takes her to his home and settles her there, wrapped in a quilt that had too much meaning for the both of them.

In the morning, Cam makes a special coffee as a way to open up a possibility of a fresh start for the both of them. It is in that asking everything comes to a head... AJ's pain of Cam's breaking him. And in a quiet voice, Cam answers back, she remembers it differently... with him breaking her first.

It is that small sentence that bounces, no, crashes around in AJ's head... over and over again...

These two go on a journey together...finally approaching what transpired between them 13 years ago...What secret thoughts, what could have been prevented and what to do now.

The connection between them never left... they fit perfectly and now the grown people they are love better, deeper and more sure than ever. (Amazing Sexy Times, Just Sayin')

The love is there. The need is there for the both of them but life has changes these two and what to do with their lives now is complicated....

Or is it...

Ace Gray wrote a story of true love... of the type that is real and solid from the start. It is the kind that can be frightening when it happens so young...but life changing all the same. If you have the opportunity to have a second chance at it... you should grab onto it with both hands and never let go.

This is a very sweet, sensual Christmas Second Chance Tale... and I for one, would like more.

A gifted copy was provided by author/publisher for an honest review.

About Ace Gray

Ace Gray is a self-proclaimed troublemaker and connoisseur of both the good life and fairy tales. After a life-long love affair with books, she undertook writing the novel she wanted to read, which culminated in her first release STRICTLY BUSINESS. When she’s not writing, she owns her own business teaching Pilates. She loves rainy days, shellac manicures, coffee shops and bourbon—all of which are bountiful in her adopted home of Portland, OR where she runs amok with her chef husband and two huskies.

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