Title: Coming Home
Author: MJ O’Shea
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Characters: Tallis Carrington, James (Lex) Barry
Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance
Dead broke and newly homeless, Tallis Carrington is on the walk of shame to end all walks of shame. Back to Rock Bay, where he’d once ruled as high school aristocracy with his band of jocks, and tormented a freshman named James Barry. Until a scandal reduced his family’s name to little better than a curse word. He needs a job, and fast, so he can put the town in his rearview mirror once again. But the people of Rock Bay haven’t forgotten him, or the kid he used to be.
The only person in town willing to overlook his less than stellar reputation is Lex, the new coffee shop owner, who seems to despise Tally based on his reputation alone. Tally is desperate, so he takes the job, not understanding Lex’s hot and cold routine until he discovers that his gorgeous boss isn’t the newcomer he thought, but the very same kid he used to torture in school. Now he’ll pull out all the stops to prove he was never really the jerk everyone thought him to be. And if he can win Lex’s heart, the rest of the town should be a piece of coffee cake.
This is the first book I’ve read by MJ. O’Shea and it definitely won’t be my last! Once I started reading Coming Home, I couldn’t stop. I was immediately swept up into the lives of these characters and was fascinated by the story that they had to tell. Before I knew it, I had read the entire book and I’m not ashamed to admit, I wished for more! Since the blurb does an excellent job at describing the story, I won’t bore you by rehashing it. Instead, I thought I would talk about why I loved this book and why it’s one of my favorite books I’ve read this year.
Both Tallis and Lex are well-written characters. They live and breathe off of the written page and it was so easy to picture them and the lives they had made for themselves. Throughout high school, Tally made fun of Lex. He ran around and was the ruler of other bullies at school, and Tally was generally considered a nuisance too many people. Because Tally is such an unhappy person, he acts out, making others miserable around him. Tally knows he’s a disappointment to his family and he knows if they ever find out the truth about his sexuality, he’ll most likely be disowned. And it’s Tally’s attraction to Lex that makes him act the way he does towards him. As soon as he can, Tally leaves town with the intention of living his life the way he wants and he never intends to come back. But life has a way of changing our plans, and years later, Tally finds himself returning home penniless and living with his grandmother.
Even though Tally did some cruel things as a teenager, I was glad to see how much he’s changed. There isn’t a day that goes by that he isn’t made aware of his past mistakes and after a while, I really began to feel for him. I enjoyed watching him show Lex and the townspeople how much he changed and I really saw him as a strong, redeeming character. Even Lex starts to see Tally for the man he is, instead of the boy he once was. I loved watching Lex and Tally’s relationship form into something truly beautiful to watch and in the end; I thought they were really made for each other.
Coming Home is truly a character driven novel that lived within me long after I finished reading the book. They are humanly flawed people who are easily relatable and I loved the journey they took me on as the book progressed. The chemistry between Lex and Tally was both intensely beautiful and sizzling hot! I loved watching the love and friendship they had for one another grow and nourish into something very special, and I hated to see the book come to an end. It has a permanent place on my keeper shelf and I look forward to reading it again and again. I’m looking forward to reading more by this author in the future and will actively be looking for more books written by her.
Reviewed By: Gabbi