Review of Begin Again

With Excerpt!

Begin Again
A Stay Novella

Jennifer Probst

July 28, 2020

1001 Dark Nights Press


Blurb: Chloe Lake is finally living her dream. As the daughter of the Governor, she’s consistently in the spotlight, and after being dubbed the Most Eligible Bachelorette of NYC, both her career and personal life has exploded. Fortunately, her work as an advocate for animal welfare requires constant publicity and funding, so she embraces her role and plays for the camera—anything for the sake of her beloved rescues.

But when a big case is on the line, she’s faced with the one obstacle she never counted on: the boy who broke her heart is back, and in order to gain justice, they need to work together.

Chloe swears she can handle it until old feelings resurface, and she’s faced with a heartbreaking choice.

Will this time end differently—or are they destined to be only each other’s first love—instead of forever?

Owen Salt fell hard for Chloe when he was a screwed-up kid in college, and spent the next years changing himself into the man his grandfather believed he was capable of. But when his career led him across the country, he knew he needed to leave the woman he loved behind. He’s never forgotten her, but as the new darling of the press, now, she’s way out of his league. When work brings him back to fight for justice by her side, he swears he can handle it.

But he’s never really gotten over his first love—and he wants one more opportunity to prove he’s a man who’s worthy.

Can Owen convince the woman who holds his heart to take a second chance on forever—or is it too late for them both?

**For fans of Jennifer Probst’s Stay series, Begin Again is book five in that series.**

**Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you’ll enjoy each one as much as we do.**

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Begin Again by Jennifer Probst is short and sweet and just the way a romance novella should be written.

Taking Chloe and Owen, who appeared in the earlier novels of the Stay series and who had a history, Probst shows how to deftly write a romantic novella. Owen was 19 when he fell in love with Chloe who was a force of nature. He knew that he was not able to be his own man around her, not then. He needed to grow up and find his own path. Regrettably, his plan ended up breaking Chloe’s heart. Now, years later, Owen appears in Chloe’s life again, but can she ever forgive him for destroying her heart years before?

One of the issues I always have with romance novellas is the insta-love, which is definitely not an issue here. These characters have a history. Yet, because they’ve both changed, their story, their coming together is interesting and electrically charge. They so sweetly still understood each other. They were still each other’s earth. So romantic!

I loved that the subject matter surrounded animal rescue, which is one of my heart topics. Probst was not afraid to mention some of the rather disheartening issues facing animals and those who rescue them. And, how refreshing that both characters were vegetarian without any mocking! Yay, Jennifer Probst!

One of the reasons I so like Jennifer Probst’s romances is because she actually has her characters believe in something and be about something. She doesn’t just write a romance in which characters go to dinner and have sex. That’s not romance. Romance is sharing beliefs, accepting each other, really seeing each other, which Chloe and Owen do in spades.

Begin Again definitely scores with me!

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.


rating:

4-and-a-half

4 butterflies and a ladybug out of 5 butterflies


Excerpt

He cut the engine. Leaned in. Her hand drifted up to hesitantly touch his face, smooth and stubble free, his square cut jaw straight, full lips, and cut cheekbones straight from a superhero comic. “You’re very handsome,” she whispered.

  He chuckled. “Thank you. But you are a work of art.” He stroked her hair. “And it’s officially our fifth date. Would you invite me up?”

  Tension stiffened her muscles. She wasn’t ready to sleep with him yet. There was something sacred about inviting a man into her bed. When she was young and reckless, she’d made a bunch of bad choices, sleeping with bad boys to prove nothing could hurt her, and it only made a bigger mess in her head. Now she accepted her need to go slow and refused to apologize for it. “I don’t think tonight is a good idea,” she said. 

  He nodded, taking the rejection with his normal ease. “Got it. Then I’ll just have to show you how you make me feel right here.” 

  He lowered his head and kissed her.

  Chloe responded immediately, allowing her mouth to soften under his, her hands gripping his broad shoulders. He smelled of expensive cologne, a musky, ocean scent that should have driven her crazy. He knew what he was doing, expertly applying the perfect amount of pressure, slowly sliding his tongue with subtle precision, allowing her to warm up. Her body responded like a fine-tuned machine and she sank into the kiss, deliberately shutting her mind down to enjoy the moment. 

  When he finally lifted his head, satisfaction gleamed in his eyes. “You are delicious,” he muttered. “I can’t wait to see you again.”

  “Me, too.” She smiled and grabbed her purse. “I better go. Thanks for dinner.”

  “Thanks for saying yes.”

  Chloe climbed out of the car and walked to her apartment building. Nodding to Art, the doorman, she took the elevator up to the eighth floor and entered her sacred space. Kicking off her heels, she went straight to her living room, got comfortable, and took out her phone. 

  He answered on the second ring. “Sweetheart! It’s so good to hear from you. What’s up?”

  The sound of her father’s voice was everything good in the world, and she leaned her head back on the sofa, closing her eyes. Funny, for so many years, she hid everything from him, refusing to share any of her feelings. Now she looked forward to their talks, and though she had many close friends who’d be there anytime, she preferred going straight to her father. “Hi, Dad.   Am I interrupting?”

  “There’s nothing I could be doing where I’d consider you an interruption. You sound funny.”

  She laughed but it turned into a half sob. “I had a date. With Drew Dinkle.”

  A whistle cut over the phone. “That’s great! I’ve always liked Drew. He’s got his priorities straight—family values, hard work, and charity. If I had a choice to set you up with anyone, I’d pick Drew. How’d it go?”

  “Great. He took me to Felice’s.”

  “Our favorite place. See, he’s winning already. How long have you been seeing him?”

  “This was our fifth date. Dad, can I ask you something?”

  “Sure.”

  “Is it better to be ruled by your heart or your head?”


About Jennifer

Jennifer Probst wrote her first book at twelve years old. She bound it in a folder, read it to her classmates, and hasn’t stopped writing since. She holds a masters in English Literature and lives in the beautiful Hudson Valley in upstate New York. Her family keeps her active, stressed,  joyous, and sad her house will never be truly clean. Her passions include horse racing, Scrabble, rescue dogs, Italian food, and wine—not necessarily in that order.

She is the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of sexy and erotic contemporary romance. She was thrilled her book, The Marriage Bargain, spent 26 weeks on the New York Times. Her work has been translated in over a dozen countries, sold over a million copies, and was dubbed a “romance phenom” by Kirkus Reviews. She is also a proud three-time RITA finalist.

She loves hearing from readers. Visit her website for updates on new releases and her street team at www.jenniferprobst.com.

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