Thursday, May 19, 2016

LIVING AGAIN by L.L. Collins


Author:  L.L. Collins

Publish Date:   10.04.13

Publisher:  L.L. Collins

Category /Genre:  Contemporary Romance

Recommended for:  18+ due to adult content, sex

Grammar/editing:  ungraded – book received as an unedited ARC  / errors excused

Received from:  L.L. Collins (in exchange for an honest review) /blog tour

Goodreads:  Living Again

Date completed: 11.04.13


Description from the publisher:

Kayley Carson thought she had it all...married to the love of her life, a great job, and a baby on the way. Then one day, her life changes forever when she loses her husband in a tragic accident. No longer sure how to navigate life after her enormous loss, Kayley clings to her newborn baby, her family, and her friends to keep herself living.

When she meets someone that challenges her belief that she's better off alone, she has to decide if she is capable of letting him in after swearing she was never going to love anyone the same way again.

She's not the only one with a painful past. He is struggling with trust issues after a previous relationship went horribly wrong. After a terrible misunderstanding brings out both of their insecurities, will the painful memories of the past keep them both from living again?



The three of them walked down to the water to meet up with the rest of the group. Chairs were set up in a circle, with a table in the middle holding Alex’s urn. Alexis and Cate were dancing and playing near the water, oblivious to the real reason for their beach visit. If only I could feel that carefree, Kayley thought, but then smiled. She was glad that her daughter didn’t understand this. Someday, she was going to have to explain it to her.


Everyone talked in quiet voices, reminiscing about Alex and sharing their grief with one another. They had all lost someone vitally important to them: son, brother, husband, friend, and father.

“Remember that time when Alex was 10 and he decided he was going to build a treehouse for himself and his friends?” His dad chuckled, remembering. Kayley had heard this story before, but smiled anyway. The group giggled softly. This story exactly showed Alex’s stubborn yet determined nature. “So he gathered all this wood from the garage, and set out in the backyard to do this. He had a few of his buddies over from the neighborhood. They collected as many hammers as they can find, and asked around for donations of nails. I remember telling him, Alex, you need to make sure you support it well. He didn’t want me to help him, you know, because he knew everything. So, here he is, just this little thing, hauling all this wood and trying to make this treehouse. He worked on this thing for days with his friends. He would come in at dinnertime, filthy dirty and totally exhausted. He could barely eat his food he was so tired. Then he would be out there again at dawn, hammering nails into the wood. He said he was going to be a carpenter someday.” They all roared with laughter, knowing that this was absolutely not Alex’s strong suit.  

“So after about a week of working on this, he thinks he has enough done that they can have their first meeting in the treehouse. He starts dragging in stools and snacks and pillows from the porch furniture. He goes up to take one more load before inviting the boys to come hang out in his “Man Cave”, and then it happens.”


“The thing starts creaking, and he’s standing in the doorway,” Alex’s mom takes over. “I’m standing on the porch watching him with Adam and Amber, and then, it was like a train wreck I could see about to happen but I couldn’t do anything about it.


One piece of wood splinters, then another, and before I know it, Alex is on the ground, surrounded by wood and furnishings and nails. I was never so scared in all of my life, but he jumped up, stomped on the piece of wood, and said, as loudly as I can ever remember him talking, ‘Son of a….’. He then realized we were all standing there and he stopped. Realizing he was okay, we all burst out laughing. That was the end of Alex’s treehouse.”


The group laughed together, then quieted. “I will never forget the time he scared the hell out of my prom date,” Amber started. “He didn’t like this guy, but I insisted on going with him to the prom. So he told me that he was going to have a ‘chat’ with him. I didn’t think he really would, but oh did he ever talk to him. That night, when he rang the doorbell, Alex told me to stay in my room for a few minutes. He took him out on that porch and told him that if he even thought that his baby sister was going to be one of those girls, he could just walk away right now. Then he went on to say that he was a guy and he knew how guys thought and that if this guy was thinking that way about his baby sister then he would track him down and kill him. I’m surprised the guy even took me to prom at all after that.”


“On our wedding day,” Kayley began, and a hush came over the crowd. “Alex was very much into the superstition, ritual, whatever you call it that the bride and groom do not see each other first. But, he kept having different people bring me different things every hour, so I knew he was thinking of me. First, he sent me my favorite latte from Starbucks, with a note that said ‘I love you a latte’. Then, he sent me my favorite pack of gum with a note that said, ‘I’m stuck to you forever’. Over the course of the day, he had sent me my favorite lunch, flowers, jewelry, and then, his final present was a letter he had written to me before we were even together, talking about his dream for our life together. Our wedding day, our marriage, our family….” Kayley trailed off, her voice breaking. “He was the most thoughtful, amazing man I have ever known. All of us here loved him for so many reasons.”


She stood up, picking up the urn and heading for the water. “The beach held so many special times for us,” she said, facing the water. The group started gathering behind her. “Alex loved to be here. He said that there was something so amazing about the beach. He called it miraculous, a true representation of God’s creation.” She turned to look at Alexis. Scooping her up, she nuzzled into Alexis’ little baby neck. “He thought Alexis was miraculous, too, and she is. She completely saved my life over the last year. She’s a part of Alex I never have to give up.”

The group of Alex and Kayley’s family and friends gathered behind her, sniffling quietly and each remembering Alex in their own way. Kayley handed Alexis to Emily and then opened the urn. The sun was starting to set, and it was the most beautiful time of the day. It was the time that, had Alex been here, he would’ve been walking down the beach with her, hand in hand, stopping every few seconds to kiss her and tell her he loved her. But he would never do that again.


“Alex,” she started, trying to control her voice. “You’re gone from this earth, but never from our hearts. We will always love you. You’re special to all of us. You will never be forgotten. This is goodbye here on Earth, but not forever.” Kayley poured the contents of the urn over the water, watching it absorb into the sand below and then ebb and flow away with the tide.


They all stood quietly, eyes looking at the water, for several minutes.


“I love you, son,” Alex’s mom whispered, gripping her husband’s hand. “We’ll never forget.”


Adam and Amber came over next to their parents, holding on to them as they looked out into the horizon. Kayley’s parents, Emily, Cate, and Trevor, surrounded Kayley and Alexis.


“I’m going to stay for a bit,” Kayley announced, and everyone nodded. They expected nothing less. Emily took Alexis back home with her, and the crowd left, leaving her sitting by the water, watching the rapidly setting sun. Alone.



When Kayley is eight months pregnant, her husband is killed by a drunk driver.  She believes she will be alone with their child, a single mother lonely and mourning, for the rest of her life.  Dr. Yummy, also known as Ben, meets Kayley when she rushes one-year-old Alexis to the hospital.  They feel an immediate attraction that she isn’t willing to pursue, but friends and family encourage her and help him.  Ben has his own past that he must confront before moving forward with Kayley.


I loved this story of heart-wrenching loss and love.  I lost count of how many times I cried during this, so make sure you have a full box of tissues before you start, but it is SO worth it. My only criticism of the story was the repetition that happened throughout.  Ms. Collins has created a sensitive and empathic presentation of the stages of grief from denial through acceptance and the reawakening to life that follows.


Ben and Kayley are perfect together.  Kayley is loyal and loving.  Ben is so romantic he makes every other man look like a slacker, but that is the prerogative of fiction.  In my opinion, if you happen to find a man even half as romantic, grab him and never let him go!  Then there is baby Alexis. She is a precocious, sweet princess who has Ben wrapped around her little finger.


Back when I was in high school, I actually babysat for a woman who lost her husband while she was pregnant with the sweet little girl I was babysitting.  She was one of my favorite parents to visit and had a great joy of life.  I couldn’t imagine how hard it was to face delivery and life as a single mom for her back then.  Now I have a new respect.


I am looking forward to reading REACHING RACHEL.  We need to find out why she isn’t able to reawaken from her past.   The teaser provided really is a tease!


Other books in the series:

  1. Living Again
  2. Reaching Rachel




Giveaway- one signed paperback with bookmark (US only)

 $10 Amazon Gift card

 5 signed bookmarks (US only)






originally posted 11.04.13 on my previous website closed that site because I promoted authors and their books


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