My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Chasing Shade by Sommer Marsden is not just about instant love, but about how instant love can be so strong you find a way to rise out of despair, hurt, and the ashes of being alone, from a past that nearly destroys you. Archie Rader was running away from a past that had left him broke, angry, hurt, betrayed, and alone when he ran over a hair piece in the middle of the road. That led him to Betsey Smith who was hiding out from a past that nearly destroyed her. The victim of a brutal crime, she had no one to count on except the small pseudo family she had built herself.
For Archie, “being homeless and drifting had not been in his game plan for this year. Settling down, starting a family, being a grown-butt man…that had been his plan.” He was “At least six-foot three, he had dark-dark-brown hair and pale blue eyes.” Betsey noticed him the moment he walked into the diner where she was a waitress. Archie noticed her too “There was something almost painfully real and honest and kind about Betsey Smith. Definitely a when-a-life-hands-you-lemons woman.”
When Betsey discovers how bad off Archie is she immediately helps him find food, a job, and a place to live without a second thought. Archie can’t believe the kindness from this stranger and it makes him feel a connection to her. Their attraction is almost immediate and extremely powerful, which makes each of them think it couldn’t possibly be real. Betsey sees how hurt Archie is and is convinced that she can only bring him pain. She doesn’t think that she is good enough for him or deserves someone like him. Archie believes that she is just what he needs with her kind soul, which makes him desire her even more.
Archie is a true “knight in shining armor” because he doesn’t try and save her. Instead he is there for her, by her side, asking her what she needs and giving her the space to do it. She is able to lean on him, talk to him, ask him questions, and go at her own pace. When she is faced with a tough decision about her past, Archie becomes her safe haven, when she is in his arms it feels like home and she finds strength in that, that she didn’t think she had. As they each try to let go of their pasts, will they be able to build a future? A future that is real and true? Is it possible to have instant love that will last? Is there such a thing as happily ever after when there was no “time” to fall in love?
I loved reading my first Sommer Marsden’s book, it didn’t disappoint me at all. It took me less than one day to read it because it kept me so engaged. The author keeps a steady pace with the exception of one chapter that felt rushed. The characters are strong, complete with great background stories, feelings, and sexual tension. The author writes vividly and it feels extremely authentic.