Part II of II | Angst | Awakening | Friends to Lovers | Family | Slow Burn
Buckle up. Hearts broken and wings clipped, Roe and Jake have mountains to climb, walls to tear down, and countless private moments to bring them even closer in this final part of their journey.
I’d gotten what I’d asked for, right? The ground beneath me had finally settled. I had the wife. I had the kid—my beautiful baby boy. Work was great. I was traveling the globe with my best friend, and together we were Roe Finlay and Jake Denver. Inseparable.
That was the f— That was the problem. We were inseparable. Even though he would never be the man I’d once wished he could be, I couldn’t freaking cope going a day without seeing him. When we were together, all was well in the world. I could breathe easier.
Then I found his damn journal from…therapy. That was right. My best friend, who defined “man of few words,” was in therapy. The ground started shaking again. I got desperate. I swam in denial. I…almost lost him on the job when he saved my life.
Nothing was settled anymore.
Series: This Will Hurt II of II
Genre: MM Contemporary Romance
Release Day: Friday, June 2nd, 2023
What the fuck did you wear to a country concert?
I grabbed a pair of jeans and boxer briefs from the closet, then walked back into the bedroom and picked up my phone from my nightstand. I sent Jake a message.
I’m fresh out of chaps and cowboy hats. What should I wear, hoss?
While I waited for his response, I removed the towel around my hips and put on the boxers and jeans.
“Dada, I’m-wa no baff!”
I glanced over at the door as my boy ran in, with Sandra hot on his tail.
I grinned faintly and swooped him up. “Look out, we got a runner ova’ hea’.” I peppered his face with smooches, and he giggled up a storm. “You can’t escape bath time, baby boy. But you know what comes after, don’t you? Mommy’s gonna read you a story.”
“Nooo,” he complained.
“Yeees, I mimicked.
Sandra sighed and smiled ruefully. “Let’s go, sweetie. We’ll get extra bubbles and everything.”
“Hear that? We love those bubbles.” I handed over the clinging monkey to her and pressed a kiss to the side of his head.
“I don’t wannaaa,” he whined.
Sandra carried him out, only to stop in the doorway and turn back to me. “You sure you don’t wanna cancel?”
Positive—and I wasn’t fighting with her about it again.
“I won’t be late,” was all I said.
The teasing glint in her eyes faded, and she walked out.
I released a breath.
My phone dinged on the nightstand, and I walked over and read Jake’s text.
I’ll tell you you’re pretty no matter what you wear, sugar.
I laughed silently and shook my head.
Whatever. I returned to the closet and dug out a long-sleeved tee that made my biceps look good. We were going to an outdoor place up in Griffith Park, so it was bound to get chilly. But I liked that it wasn’t a huge concert. Only some five thousand people. It beat going to the Staples Center.
Jake picked me up downstairs fifteen minutes later, and the most country thing about him continued to be his truck. It made no sense to drive a truck in LA. But he loved it, and I really had no room to argue choices of vehicles. I was still a laughingstock after buying a sports car before Casper was born. Worst deal ever. I’d probably lost twenty grand when I’d traded it in for a family-friendly SUV.
“Hey, pretty.” Jake pulled out from the curb. “I see you found clothes.”
“No thanks to you.” I smiled and buckled my seat belt. “Will I see a lot of chaps tonight?”
“If I drop you off in West Hollywood instead, I’m sure there’s a club for you.”
I laughed. Funny.
“Oh, this is a good one.” He cranked up the volume on the stereo. “He’ll probably play this tonight.”
I side-eyed him, more interested in studying Jake than hearing a song. There was something inherently sexy about how he drove. He made life look easy when he was on the road. One arm along the edge of the window, the sleeves of his open flannel shirt rolled up—some serious forearm porn going on—two fingers gripping the wheel loosely at the bottom. He tapped his foot to the rocky beat, and his lips moved subtly to the singer’s voice.
Ratty USMC ball cap on the dash. Since he always wore it backward, he took it off when a headrest was in the way.
Fitting lyrics, about holding on to things you believed in.
Of course, it being a country rock song, the topic was the singer’s truck.
“It’s the miles that make a man.”
How many miles till I fell out of love with him?
“I’d be nothing without you, so I’m holding on.”
Surprisingly, a line not about the truck.
“I’m not the openin’ act,” he chuckled. “Quit starin’.”
That was the fucking problem, wasn’t it? He was the headliner.
Oh man I couldn’t wait for this book. Book 1 didn’t end really on a cliff hanger. But it was a bit of an omg moment And, of course, their story wasn’t over.
We left off with Roe married. After sleeping with Jake in Las Vegas. But they were both drunk so there was a lot of justifying going on in their minds.
In this book, we watch as both families grow. Jake and Nikki have another baby. Roe finds out he is going to be the father of twins. (and his wife didn’t tell him before announcing it on Insta?!?!?) They have hired more people for Two Condor Chicks and their podcast, documentaries and series are all hugely popular.
It’s pretty unspoken that they don’t talk about Vegas and they haven’t repeated Vegas. Until they do. Roe is a mess. His wife has severe postpartum depression and he is trying to do it all. Something has to give. And it’s how he feels for Jake.
Yes, he cheats on his wife. But we all know he belongs with Jake so it is super easy to forgive him. And they actually talk about their relationship and what will happen in the future. You can’t help but cheer for them.
Jake still has a TON of internalized homophobia to work through. It’s just heartbreaking the damage his parents did to him. So when they start telling people, Jake is fine telling those closest to him. But now that they are semi-famous, he has a hard time thinking about telling the world.
PS- almost no one is surprised 😉
This 2 book series was the epitome of love overcoming all else. These guys were the best of friends. Their kids all acted like siblings. Their lives are so nearly perfect. The final piece was them becoming an actual couple.
The kids are integrated SO well into the story. They are never forgotten yet they never take over the story either.
Everyone had a role, no one was there as filler. There were subtle cameos of several characters from other Cara Dee books, which is always fun. And again, they fit. They weren’t gratuitous cameos to please readers.
A 10 plus year epic from the first time they meet up to them blending their families and living happily ever after.
Read these books. Seriously. And they are totally vanilla if kink isn’t your jam.
4.5 pieces of eye candy
I’m often awkwardly silent or, if the topic interests me, a chronic rambler. In other words, I can discuss writing forever and ever. Fiction, in particular. The love story—while a huge draw and constantly present—is secondary for me, because there’s so much more to writing romance fiction than just making two (or more) people fall in love and have hot sex.
There’s a world to build, characters to develop, interests to create, and a topic or two to research thoroughly.
Every book is a challenge for me, an opportunity to learn something new, and a puzzle to piece together. I want my characters to come to life, and the only way I know to do that is to give them substance—passions, history, goals, quirks, and strong opinions—and to let them evolve.
I want my men and women to be relatable. That means allowing room for everyday problems and, for lack of a better word, flaws. My characters will never be perfect.
Wait…this was supposed to be about me, not my writing.
I’m a writey person who loves to write. Always wanderlusting, twitterpating, kinking, cooking, baking, and geeking. There’s time for hockey and family, too. But mostly, I just love to write.
Find Cara on social media here: https://www.caradeewrites.com/cdwlandingpage