One day a week. That was his rule. And it was also our downfall.
My marriage to Hank was one of convenience. When I got pregnant at sixteen, he took me in and kept a roof over my naïve head. We had an agreement—we could sleep with whomever we wanted so long as our children were kept in the dark. It worked great… until it didn’t.
Cocky Jack Swanson was never supposed to be mine. His marriage was open, but his heart was guarded… until he slowly let me in, revealing an alluring man with a painful past. With him, I felt what love could be. I felt wanted… needed. I’d never wanted to fall in love… but then I did.
And now… the rules have changed.
Jack isn’t the same man I fell for. Broken and gutted from his divorce, he’s a shell of who he once was. Sullen and worn down. I know I can bring the good in him back out, if only he’ll let me in. If only he’ll just stay, instead of giving me all his reasons to go.
First person, alternating.
You could read this without having read book one of the duet but I wouldn't.
This is an easier one to answer than with book one!
Yes, there is infidelity in that both Jess and Jack are married at the beginning of the book but it's offset somewhat by the fact that both their marriages are open.
However, unlike book one where Corrinne is married to Jack throughout the entirety of her relationship with Cole (with the exception of the last few chapters), in this book Jack is only married for the first 25% and Jess is separated from her husband before picking her relationship with Jack back up again.
Nope. Jess is not in love with her husband and the majority of this book is set more than two years after the events in book one meaning that Jack isn't torn either.
Book one in this duet, 10 Reasons to Stay, blew my mind. It sucked me in from the beginning and didn't let me go until long after the final page was read.
That book was Corrinne's book. This book is Jack's book.
Jack was Corrinne's husband.
Jack was the one who wanted an open marriage. Jack was a complete bellend.
I really didn't like Jack in 10 Reasons to Stay so really didn't have high hopes for how this book would play out... But I was curious.
So, I read and I have to say that it wasn't what I expected.
The first quarter of 5 Reasons to Go was pretty disappointing. It was essentially 10 Reasons to Stay from Jack and Jessica's pov but presented in a way that felt like I was sitting down with an acquaintance who was trying to catch me up on their life over a quick cup of coffee. It was all tell, tell, tell there was no show. No emotion. It caught the reader up to speed on Jack and Jessica's history but it lacked the addictive and persuasive writing of the first book.
However, everything changed when "2 years later" appeared at the beginning of a new chapter.
It was then that this story truly began.
Two years after the events of 10 Reasons to Stay, Jack is a complete mess, struggling with what happened to his marriage, his choices, past behaviors and the loss of Jessica.
Jess is living her life, going through the motions in a loveless marriage (in name only) and dreaming of a time when she will be free while still mourning the loss of Jack.
I wasn't a huge fan of either character up to this point but as the book moved on in the present (aka 'two years later') I came to really like and appreciate Jess's character.
She made a silly mistake as a teenager in thinking she was in love with an older man. She ended up pregnant and outcast by her family. She married the older man and lived in a loveless and sometimes violent marriage to provide stability and a home for her daughter and - later - her son. Over the years she made something of herself, ran a successful business, purchased a women's shelter to prevent it closing and then found the courage to stand on her own, kick an abusive husband to the curb and to go after the love of her life.
There was a lot to like and admire and I was rooting for her to find her happy ever after in whatever form that took.
Jack's growth throughout the book was impressive.
He went from a selfish, neglectful, thoughtless asshat to broken wastrel then to kind, thoughtful philanthropist. He became a loving, faithful partner who never takes a second of his happiness - or his partner's happiness - for granted. He fully acknowledged his past mistakes and failings and refused to repeat them. In the end, I admired Jack and even liked him a lot.
5 Reasons to Go didn't pack the emotional punch of 10 Reasons to Stay but in the end it was a pretty good read and it rounded off the duet nicely.
It won't be a favourite but I enjoyed it.
"Maybe... Maybe we're all just comets, waiting for the right person to collide with to form something new and beautiful."
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Candace Knoebel is a hopeless romantic with an affinity for whiskey and good music. Her love of words began when she met the boy who lived in the cupboard under the stairs. She's a self-proclaimed Lost Girl. Words are her mirror.
With two completed series, her work ranges from paranormal to contemporary, all centered heavily around romance. Currently she lives in Florida with her husband and two children, and has just completed her fifteenth novel, Ten Reasons to Stay.