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It was like in the movies: their eyes met from across the room and they fell in love.
Nine years later, Chess and André are the envy of all their friends.
But this is real life….and things are never what they seem.
Still waters run deep—the better to hide Chess’s ugly past. He’s worked hard to bury the troubled teen he once was and is living a life he never imagined possible. André’s love is a gift that makes him believe in second chances, and Chess is grateful for it every day. The only thing he wants is what André finds impossible to give: his time. Six months apart might be the breaking point, even for Chess.
One horrible night changed André’s life forever. Formerly a party boy of the Hamptons social scene, André buries himself in work for years until he meets Chess and learns to enjoy the simple things. He’s tired of being away from home all the time and ready to step down from his role as CEO of the family business, no matter how they try and pull him back in. But old habits die hard…and so do memories.
Photos from the past and present surface, shocking Chess and André out of their carefully constructed dream life. They are forced to face the unthinkable: the love they thought would last a lifetime may be on the brink of falling apart. Secrets are exposed, opening a Pandora’s box both men hoped would stay locked forever. Now Chess and André face the hardest question: do you ever really know the person you’re living with?
The first book in Felice Stevens’ new Second Chances series of contemporary romances – The List – introduced readers to Elliot, Spencer, Wolf and Chess, four men in their mid-thirties who have been best friends since their college days. Footsteps of the Past is book two, and although it’s probably not essential to have read The List before it, that book sets up the group dynamic and establishes their very different personalities as well as containing a sweet, sexy romance. Of the four friends, only one of them – Chess Braxton – is in a relationship when we first meet them all; Elliot is a hopeless romantic, Spencer is a self-confessed and unrepentant manwhore, and Wolf is taciturn and very reserved (these two take delight in needling one another and strike sparks off each other like nobody’s business). Elliot got his HEA in The List; Footsteps of the Past is an angsty, relationship-in-trouble story featuring Chess – a university professor – and his long-term partner, André Webster, the CEO of an international, multi-million dollar corporation.
Their friends have long looked upon Chess and André as the perfect couple – #relationshipgoals. They’ve been together for almost nine years and are as much in love now as ever, but over the past couple of years, things have begun to become a bit strained due to the fact that André has taken on all the responsibilities involved in the running of Webster Properties since his father’s death and is spending more and more time away from home. When Footsteps opens, André has been away for six months, but while he misses Chess terribly, it’s hard for him to step back from the job, especially as his mother is depending on him so much and he knows how many employees are relying on him, too. But he’s reached the point where he knows something’s got to give and, determined that that something is not going to be his relationship with Chess, André tells his mother that as the bulk of what he’s been working on is done, he needs a break and he’s returning home to New York. To say she’s not pleased is an understatement.
Meanwhile, André’s prolonged absence has been difficult for Chess, not only because he’s missed him but also because it’s allowed all sorts of long-buried doubts and insecurities to creep back in to his psyche. And when, just before André is due to return home, Chess is tagged in a post on Instagram (which subsequently disappears) showing photos of André kissing another man… well, those insecurities are only intensified. Chess wavers between his deep down certainty that André would never cheat on him and wondering whether life with a mere university professor has become dull for a sophisticated, wealthy businessman like André… and even worse are those niggling whispers at the back of his mind telling Chess that if André were ever to know the truth of his past, he’d leave without a second thought.
You can read the rest of this review at All About Romance.