My One Despair is a new standalone from Claudia Burgoa. It takes place a few years after My One Regret, featuring the now adult Tess Hades, and Gage Rodin, teacher/barista/bartender and dreamer of being a musician. They meet at the bar where Gage is working, when a guy brought Tess seemingly on a date but in reality to get her to see his band and tell her father, famed rock star Kaden Hades, about them. Tess quickly figures out she’s being used and Gage looks out for her. They meet again later when her biological mother is harassing Tess’s younger sister in the middle of the school where Gage teaches. He stops her and drives them home. Tess and Gage fight their attraction – she’s in college in San Diego and he doesn’t want her to think he’s using her to get to her dad. Eventually they begin their relationship, she continues her studies, his music career explodes, and life is beautiful for them.
Until it suddenly isn’t. Unexpectedly in the middle of the night, everything changes.
Six years later they meet again. Tess is still heartbroken but there is someone who needs her and she can’t walk away. But then she discovers the truth about what happened that night six years ago, what even Gage’s brothers did not know, and suddenly all their lives are changed again. But can Tess and Gage find their way back to each other?
What I liked: I loved grown-up Tess. She has come such a long way from the teenager of My One Regret. It was so nice to visit with the Hades family again, too, and see the relationships the girls have with Sadie now. I also liked Gage. He was more mature than many romance heroes, and that is refreshing. He is sure of himself and of Tess, even when she is not. His brothers are great, too. And of course, since all of Claudia’s books take place in the same world, I loved the ever so brief Decker appearances. And the reveal at the end was intense.
What I didn’t like: Besides Gage’s boneheaded decision that ruined everything? Nothing. This is a very well written book that draws the reader in from the beginning.
Overall: Get this book. It is out tomorrow, November 1, and you can get it on Amazon here