Title: One Step Back
Author: Edie Danford
Publisher: Amazon/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 316 Pages
At a Glance: This was a beautiful story of a lost love resurrected, defined, changed and made ever so much better than it had been.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: When you fall for a guy who’s about to become your stepbrother, do you listen to your heart and risk everything? Or listen to your head…and take one step back?
In high school I had a hundred reasons to steer clear of my soon-to-be-stepbrother, Joe Beneventi. He was a hothead, and I was reserved. His life was football, mine was academics. He wanted to be out and proud, and I desperately needed to keep my orientation secret.
But when we fell in love, my heart took the wheel, and I took every risk to be with Joe. Then one horrible night our secrets shattered. Joe disappeared–wrecking our families and breaking my heart.
Eleven years later, I landed a challenging job at a premier PR firm. And the hotshot publicist who’s been assigned to my first big account? Yep. It’s Joe. Fate truly hates me because now Joe and I have three days to hole up in a Chicago hotel room and nail down a deal that could make or break our careers. He keeps distracting me, but I’m too jaded to fall for sexy smiles, bedroom eyes, and his impossible-to-ignore body. Except…
I like being close to him again. A little too much. Working together 24/7 is showing me sides of Joe I’ve never seen before. And when we touch, being together seems like the only step worth taking.
Review: Before anyone begins to question the premise of this novel, I am going to put out a bit of a spoiler and tell you that Joe’s and Ash’s parents never marry, so any hint of impropriety or whatever you might take from them being potential stepbrothers doesn’t happen. Normally I wouldn’t start with a disclaimer like that, but I don’t want anyone to step away from this novel for fear of some kink they might not like to read being front and center. Instead, what we get is a first love that loses its way and then hangs in the balance, for much of the novel, as potentially lost forever. Intrigued? Well, then forge ahead because this is a gorgeous story and one that shouldn’t be missed.
Ash isn’t going to tell his dad anything about the fact that he is gay. Having lost his mother to drug addiction at an early age, his dad, while deeply flawed and homophobic, is the only thing Ash has left in a life that never seems to measure up. After his Dad begins dating Kim, he hears all about her son, Joe. Joe is a troublemaker and a rule breaker, and Ash is the total opposite. But when the two boys meet at the age of fifteen, something sparks, and that little flicker will flame into a full-blown first love by the time they are poised to become stepbrothers, the wedding imminent, three years later.
Where Ash is cautious to the point of anxiety attacks, Joe is fierce, unchecked and prone to never thinking before he acts. When Joe proposes to follow Ash to New York, where he is about to start his second year in college, Ash is reluctant to go full-in. First, it means telling their parents; secondly, it means openly coming out and committing to a guy who often acts before he thinks, something Ash never does; and thirdly, it means trusting that the relationship he has with Joe is truly solid and has a future, none of which Ash is ready to do. So, when it all comes out in a disastrous way the day of the wedding, Ash implodes, Joe runs, and it all seems to crash and burn…until many years later.
Edie Danford’s One Step Back is a journey. Told in present day realness scattered with flashbacks to the past to add context and important history, we watch this story unfold from both Joe’s and Ash’s viewpoints. Let that sink in for a moment. Not only did this author choose to keep the reader captivated by exposing much-needed backstory as the present unfolds, but she does so while also giving us the immediate impact on both Joe and Ash, and she does it very well indeed. Not once did I get lost or frustrated with being carefully guided through the lives of these two men and how each moment in the real day had echoes from the past, making it so much more important than some off-the-cuff interaction. There was so much that both Joe and Ash had left unsaid years before—a wealth of pain and loneliness that was dealt out to each other by two young men in love, who had no clue how to maneuver through the minefield that was their lives—and we sit front and center, reliving it all with them.
I really enjoyed the struggle, the fact it wasn’t that the attraction had died so many years before but that the pathway to making a go at an actual relationship as adults was the real battle for these guys. Life happens and it takes a determined person to circumvent all the hurdles Joe and Ash had in order to find happiness. It is not easy, and that is part of the appeal of this novel for me—no easy answers, no sweeping aside of what were real and devastating past emotional injuries in order to achieve a quick happy ever after. We walk through the minefield with these guys and are so much richer for the experience.
This was a beautiful story of a lost love resurrected, defined, changed and made ever so much better than it had been. I highly recommend One Step Back to you; this one is worth all the emotional upheaval that is gone through in order to secure a future for Joe and Ash.
You can buy One Step Back here:
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