Once in a Lifetime by Harper Bliss is not your typical erotic romance, or even a typical second chance story. A full length expansion of the excellent novelette As Years Go By, it opens with a breakup, and most of the book is spent with the main characters apart.
Leigh Sterling and Jodie Whitehouse have been partners in life, love, and kink for six years, with an uncommon passion and compatibility between them. But loving each other isn’t enough anymore because Jodie wants a second child, and while Leigh loves Jodie’s son, she doesn’t want to be a mother.
Jodie and Leigh move on with their lives, Jodie having the second child she always wanted and Leigh transferring to San Francisco and becoming partner at her law firm. Both attempt to move on with other women, but something is never quite right.
When Jodie’s son, Troy, is in university near Leigh, he strikes up a relationship with her again, and it’s at his graduation that she sees Jodie for the first time in 11 years. Is it time to face who they truly were to each other?
The characters in this book are one of its strengths. Leigh and Jodie each have so much growth, and all of it makes sense. The supporting characters are also well done, especially Troy and Muriel.
The Writing Style
The writing style is good and the story is emotionally satisfying. That said, because I had read and loved the novelette so much, I was disappointed the first time I read it because Leigh and Jodie are only around each other for approximately 30% of the story. However, on rereading Once in a Lifetime, I saw that its current structure works beautifully. They need the time apart and with other partners to have the second chance that comes later. That’s also where we see them remembering scenes from their first six years together.
If you like super hot stories with explicit kink that are deeply emotional, this is the one for you. Also, I love that the kink doesn’t take place in an impossibly ridiculous, perfect club, and is part of everyday life.
There should have been at least one scene with Leigh and Rosie, Jodie’s daughter, interacting on their own.
This book may not follow conventional romance novel structures, but that’s exactly what makes it special.
Excerpt from Once in a Lifetime by Harper Bliss
“Just… one last hug. To say goodbye properly.” Jodie’s a few inches shorter than I and when she looks up at me like this, her eyes pleading and her lips trembling, I actually want to question my desire not to have children—again.
I wrap my arms around her. Her head presses against the flesh above my breast, as it has done countless times, and at first the embrace we stand in is strangely soothing, until wetness spreads where my blouse is open, and Jodie is sobbing, her tears hot against my skin.
“Hey.” I curl my fingers around her neck, also a tried and tested gesture between us, and pull her up so I can look at her. I know this sucks, I want to say, but what the hell kind of difference will it make now? I wipe away some of her tears with the back of my hand, but it’s pointless, because a gazillion more of them moisten my hand and her cheek, as if something has broken behind her eyes, something that, right now, looks like it can never be fixed again. So, instead of talking, I slant my head toward her, and I kiss her. Her lips taste salty and they are slippery, but she easily allows me access to her mouth. My tongue slides in and I try not to think of the circumstances. I try not to wonder about the uselessness of break-up sex. I’m not even sure I can do it. I’m not sure this can go further than this sloppy, wet kiss, which could be considered as part of that goodbye hug she asked for.
Or perhaps she was asking for more.
Jodie’s lips are frantic on mine. She bites and sucks as if there’s no tomorrow. I can’t blame her, of course, because for us, there is none. There’s only now. One last moment. One last opportunity to be Jodie and Leigh. One last chance to change our minds, perhaps? But no, I think we both know that ship has sailed. This is just a way of saying goodbye, as opposed to the hurried manner in which I fled the house in The Hamptons.
Jodie’s tugging at my shirt buttons already. Her mouth has descended to my neck. Her hands are on my belly, crawling upward, and her fingers slip under the underwire of my bra. I have no more time to question if I really want to do this. Jodie has decided for me. For once, I let her. We can have this. Even if it’s just an instant during which we don’t have to face the consequences of who we have become. Two people wanting vastly different things from life.
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Bits and Bobs
ISBN number: 9789881420459
Publisher: Ladylit Publishing
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