Review: Hello Forever (Pay it Forward, #2) by Sarina Bowen


When they were only teenagers, Axel and Caxton were caught making out in the woods at church camp. And afterward, Cax had disappeared from all the youth group activities.

Six years later, Axel is astonished to spot his first love’s face in the crowd of a college basketball game he’s watching on TV—at a school which has just offered him a job. It’s a thousand miles away, in a tiny rural town. But suddenly, he can’t wait to get there.

Cax can’t believe his eyes when Axel appears in the same Massachusetts town where he now lives. And he’s still just as drawn to Axel as ever. But he can’t let himself go there again, because loving Axel will mean giving up everything else he holds dear.

Both men have so much to lose. But as far as their love is concerned, it's Hello Forever.

Hello Forever is a stand-alone novel with no cliffhangers. Readers of Goodbye Paradise will get to check in on Caleb and Josh and their clan.

What's this? Sarina Bowen wrote a sports romance and the sport isn't hockey????  Technically it's sports adjacent but still, not hockey.

Hello Forever is a coming of age/second chance at love story. Cax and Axel grew up together, were each other's first love, went to church retreats together and shared their first kiss in the woods at one of those retreats. When the pastor caught them and called their parents their lives diverged.

Axel's mother took it in stride, her love never wavering but Cax's father being the bigot he is took drastic measures. He moved the whole family to Massachusetts immediately so Cax never had a chance to say anything to Axel.

Six years later Axel spots Cax in the stands at a college basketball game where he's been offered a job which cinched his taking the job. When they first set eyes on each other two things are clear-the attraction is still strong as ever and not much has changed.

Cax's father truly is a bastard but Cax can't abandon his younger brothers solely to his care, so he's stuck. The rules are if he wants to be a part of their lives then he has to pretend to be straight which, honestly, hasn't been that much of a hardship until Axel moves into town and stirs up all those memories of what could've been.

They try to be friends but there's so much chemistry between them that makes it difficult to sustain the ruse. They both want more. But more comes with a price and-trigger warning-there is a serious gay bashing incident but they do get a hard won and heartfelt HEA.

Both protagonists are well drawn as are the secondary characters. I felt their connection throughout the narrative. Bowen does an exceptional job with creating tension and makes the reader feel the longing between Cax and Axel. I'm hopeful for a third book featuring Scott and his lumbersexual neighbor!

Caleb and Josh are Axel's landlords so we get to catch up with them but it's not necessary to read Goodbye Paradise prior to reading this.

Recommend to NA romance fans.

An ARC was provided.

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