Book Reviews

The Second Time Around by Rowan McAllister at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Cowboys / Romance
Reviewed by Christy Duke on 11-September-2018

Book Blurb

Though born into wealth and privilege, Jordan Thorndike can’t keep pretending. He’s never going to become the lawyer his parents hope for… or provide the daughter-in-law and two-point-four grandkids they expect. Faced with an ultimatum—carry on living the lie or get out—Jordan leaves with only what he can pack in his BMW.


Homeless, jobless, directionless, Jordan heads to one of his mother’s pet charities: Better the Second Time Around Rescue ranch. With his family name and charm, he has the staff eating out of his hand in no time—except for one man.


Russ has never been handed anything, and he resents the spoiled rich brat using the ranch to live out a fantasy. Though Jordan is determined to prove himself to Russ through hard work, family and old wounds complicate matters. Will Jordan realize that what he sees as an escape is real life for most people? And can Russ accept that Jordan can grow—and that he wants him? 


Book Review

“The problem was, he’d been pretending to be someone else for so long, he didn’t even know who he was anymore—if he ever had. He was free now, but free to do what? It wasn’t as if he’d ever been really good at anything, not good enough anyway. Having a rich father had opened a lot of doors for him that he never would’ve been able to open on his own. Could he survive on his own merits?”

Jordan’s reality, once he uttered the words that, apparently, had far more power than he believed – “I’m gay and I don’t want to be a lawyer” – ceased to exist and he found himself with no family, no job, and no income. Volunteering at B STAR (Better the Second Time Around Rescue) in Texas, far away from his family in Virginia, seems like just what he needs. Working himself into the ground every day, too tired to move by bedtime, is just what Jordan needs to keep his brain from thinking too much. Russ, however, has little use for the trust-fund brat as he has seen his kind before and feels sure he knows the outcome of Jordan’s “volunteering”. Both men have a lot to learn, not just about each other, but about themselves as well.

“Apparently, Russ was going to be a bit of an obstacle to Jordan’s search for the Zen he needed to figure out his next step. Russ might have decided not to like him, for some unknown reason, but Jordan needed this place too badly to let some super-hot asshole get in his way.”

I’ve never been wealthy with everything given to me, well at least, everything material. So, I felt for Jordan and the way he couldn’t turn his brain off worrying about money, whether he needed to pay the insurance on his car, did he need to officially drop out of school, did he have health insurance and, if not, what would he do if something happened? Jordan is running himself ragged physically and mentally, and Russ doesn’t help the situation, certainly not in the beginning. Luckily, it doesn’t take Russ too long (with a shove from his boss, anyway) to figure out that Jordan isn’t just some trust fund brat and that he has genuinely suffered at the hands of his family.

“I meant what I said. Once I’m in, I’m in. I don’t play stupid games. With the people I choose to care about, I’m honest to a fault. I put everything out there…. Maybe you can understand now why I’m extra careful about who I let in. Why I’m a bit prickly on the outside.”
“So you don’t get hurt,” Jordan reasoned. “Because you’ve been hurt before.”

‘The Second Time Around’ is a lovely, and very sweet, romance that I enjoyed very much. I got frustrated more than once with Jordan but he got his head on straight at the end and learned a little more about how to adult. Russ is a wonderful man and exactly who Jordan needed. I was a little disappointed at the very abrupt ending but, all in all, this is a good read with fantastic characters, some angst, hot man on man action, and a special love story.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 200 pages/67606 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 11-September-2018
Price $6.99 ebook, $14.99 paperback, $14.99 bundle
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