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Aftermath

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Brent Weyland was the life of the party until an injury ended his hockey career. Now he’s retreated alone to a lakefront house, trying to make sense of a life and body that don’t feel like his anymore. Jon Norquist was happily married right up until he wasn’t. Now a single father in his forties, he’s trying to figure out what comes next. In the meantime, he pours his heart Brent Weyland was the life of the party until an injury ended his hockey career. Now he’s retreated alone to a lakefront house, trying to make sense of a life and body that don’t feel like his anymore. Jon Norquist was happily married right up until he wasn’t. Now a single father in his forties, he’s trying to figure out what comes next. In the meantime, he pours his heartache and regret into the lyrics he sings for the wine bar crowd a couple of nights a week. When a friend coaxes Brent out for a night of wine and music, he puts Brent and Jon on a collision course. Their chemistry is instantaneous. Jon gives Brent’s battered body a much-needed remedial lesson in pleasure. And Brent gives Jon a reason to smile again. Multiple reasons, actually. Neither man wants anything serious, but love has a habit of showing up whether it’s welcome or not. No matter how hard they try, the two can’t help having feelings for each other, even as life continues to throw them curveballs. But they’ve both got baggage to unpack and hurt to move past, and if they can’t leave their pasts in the past, they might just miss out on an amazing future.


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Brent Weyland was the life of the party until an injury ended his hockey career. Now he’s retreated alone to a lakefront house, trying to make sense of a life and body that don’t feel like his anymore. Jon Norquist was happily married right up until he wasn’t. Now a single father in his forties, he’s trying to figure out what comes next. In the meantime, he pours his heart Brent Weyland was the life of the party until an injury ended his hockey career. Now he’s retreated alone to a lakefront house, trying to make sense of a life and body that don’t feel like his anymore. Jon Norquist was happily married right up until he wasn’t. Now a single father in his forties, he’s trying to figure out what comes next. In the meantime, he pours his heartache and regret into the lyrics he sings for the wine bar crowd a couple of nights a week. When a friend coaxes Brent out for a night of wine and music, he puts Brent and Jon on a collision course. Their chemistry is instantaneous. Jon gives Brent’s battered body a much-needed remedial lesson in pleasure. And Brent gives Jon a reason to smile again. Multiple reasons, actually. Neither man wants anything serious, but love has a habit of showing up whether it’s welcome or not. No matter how hard they try, the two can’t help having feelings for each other, even as life continues to throw them curveballs. But they’ve both got baggage to unpack and hurt to move past, and if they can’t leave their pasts in the past, they might just miss out on an amazing future.

30 review for Aftermath

  1. 4 out of 5

    Cadiva

    I enjoyed this entry in the Vino and Veritas series but I also found it frustrating at times - even though the situation both men were in made their behaviour completely believable. Both Brent and Jon have serious issues they're dealing with and that gave a bit of a melancholy air to a lot of the narrative which, for me, meant I didn't rush through it like I had with some of the others in the series. That's not to say it wasn't a great romance, because it really is. It demonstrates beyond any doub I enjoyed this entry in the Vino and Veritas series but I also found it frustrating at times - even though the situation both men were in made their behaviour completely believable. Both Brent and Jon have serious issues they're dealing with and that gave a bit of a melancholy air to a lot of the narrative which, for me, meant I didn't rush through it like I had with some of the others in the series. That's not to say it wasn't a great romance, because it really is. It demonstrates beyond any doubt that love is love and if you love someone enough, you will move all obstacles - even the ones you create yourself with doubt - to make it work. I also very much appreciated one specific element of the narrative, which I won't go into detail on because I think it deserves to be read and understood as you're going through their experiences. I think it was handled with incredible care and sensitivity. And, as someone who lives with chronic pain and serious mobility issues through atrophy and other tendon/muscular related reasons, I would seriously like to thank L.A. for the consideration and accuracy in which she explored Brent's injuries and debilitating medical conditions and the very realistic affects they had on his daily life. There are some really beautiful moments in this book but also times when I wanted to shake or slap them both and tell them to just have a bloody conversation about their fears 😁 The ending is incredibly satisfying though, and I loved the dogs and Jon's son Cody. Brent's dad, he needs to gerrint bin as we say in Yorkshire. #ARC kindly received from the publishers Hearts Eyes Press in return for an honest and unbiased review

  2. 5 out of 5

    ✰ Bianca ✰ BJ's Book Blog ✰

    Brent + Jon. A year ago, 29 year old Brent was a famous hockey pro. Now he's retired and in constant pain after a horrible car crash. 41 year old massage therapist Jon has been divorced for 18 months now. He shares custody for his 10 year old son with his ex. Brent and Jon meet at Vino and Veritas, where Jon perfoms twice a week. It’s insta attraction for both, but they’re also not really looking for anything serious. So one night might be cool, right? Nope. That night does not go according to p Brent + Jon. A year ago, 29 year old Brent was a famous hockey pro. Now he's retired and in constant pain after a horrible car crash. 41 year old massage therapist Jon has been divorced for 18 months now. He shares custody for his 10 year old son with his ex. Brent and Jon meet at Vino and Veritas, where Jon perfoms twice a week. It’s insta attraction for both, but they’re also not really looking for anything serious. So one night might be cool, right? Nope. That night does not go according to plan. And the newly formed friend/relationship is not what most people might call 'normal' either. LOL. LET THE FUN TIMES BEGIN! ☺ ═════════════════ I loved reading this. I think this will definitely go on my World of True North favorite list. I loved Brent and Jon. Both are so adorable and sad and heartbroken. And in Brent's case in so much pain. I just loved to see them fall for each other in this sweet and insta but also so very slow and grown-up way. It was a tiny bit too much with their constant .. But this is just a friends-with-benefit thing & He won't want to be with me anyway-bla-bla. Yes, we got it the first time. But you should finally get that it's NOT a FWB thing and that you're both falling! The book was a tiny bit too long with all that back and forth and repeat... BUT I really loved all the moments. The dog and kid and cuddle and sexy time moments. Just adorable! And sweet and heartbreaking and so full of pain for poor Brent. But we hope so hard for a happy end in all aspects of life for our darlings! Beautiful story! And ooh how I hate Brent's dad! What an awful guy - I wish he would've gotten a bit better towards the end :/ Like I always say: I could read these kinds of books every day for the rest of eternity! I also wouldn't mind seeing this whole world on Netflix one day! Can't wait to get more Vermont soon! AFTERMATH was such a sweet + sexy + heartbreaking + beautiful + hopeful love story! I adored it! Run to your nearest amazon for your own Brent + Jon - they'll be sold out in no time! 💜 💜

  3. 4 out of 5

    ItaPixie

    Brent is an ex hockey player, after a car accident that almost killed him he doesn’t feel like himself anymore and he preferes to stay at home by himself. Jon sings at Vino and Veritas twice a week, he is divorced and he feels lonely the weeks he doesn’t have his son custodity. When Brent’s best friend drags him to the wine bar doesn’t expect to see him taking an interest in the singer. Brent and Jon are instantly attracted from each other so they decides to become friends with benefits but soo Brent is an ex hockey player, after a car accident that almost killed him he doesn’t feel like himself anymore and he preferes to stay at home by himself. Jon sings at Vino and Veritas twice a week, he is divorced and he feels lonely the weeks he doesn’t have his son custodity. When Brent’s best friend drags him to the wine bar doesn’t expect to see him taking an interest in the singer. Brent and Jon are instantly attracted from each other so they decides to become friends with benefits but soon enough their relationship takes a deeper turn. Will they make some peace with the past to be happy in the present? Or their friendship is bound to break? I liked Brent and Jon, they help each other to go back to enjoy their new lives, stop sitting around, moping and feeling sorry for themselves. I was glad to follow them in this long and hurtful journey that will make them see they are nothing less than their previous self. I found this book a little wordy and repetitive but the characters and the storyline kept me interested till the end. Copy kindly provided by the Publisher/Author.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nadine Bookaholic

    The blurb of Aftermath and my past experience with the author is what drew me to this book, that and the fact that it is part of the multi-author series Vino & Veritas which is set in Sarina Bowen's True North World which I have been enjoying. I really liked most aspects of the book I loved that we got to see how Brent struggles as he tries to find his new normal after a horrific car accident that ended his pro hockey career and almost cost him his life. It's not an easy transition by any accoun The blurb of Aftermath and my past experience with the author is what drew me to this book, that and the fact that it is part of the multi-author series Vino & Veritas which is set in Sarina Bowen's True North World which I have been enjoying. I really liked most aspects of the book I loved that we got to see how Brent struggles as he tries to find his new normal after a horrific car accident that ended his pro hockey career and almost cost him his life. It's not an easy transition by any account, his body suffered injuries that required multiple surgeries and he is in constant pain, he also encounters some other side effects of the trauma that he hadn't even considered before he met Jon playing his guitar and singing at V & V one night after being dragged there by his best friend that was afraid Brent is becoming to much of a hermit. Jon is a divorced father of a ten year old son, he was totally blindsided when his wife asked for a divorce about two years ago, so after his divorce he dove back into writing songs and started performing at Vino & Veritas a couple of times a week. Then one night he locked eyes with a gorgeous younger man in the audience and almost forgot the words of his own song. I enjoyed the way Jon and Brent decided pretty quickly to be FWB because neither of them were looking for anything serious, here we have two men that are starting different chapters in their lives but if they can have a cuddle buddy, someone to spend time with and share that intimate contact that they each have been missing then more power to them....only you know it doesn't stay that way. The biggest issue I had with this story is the constant repetitiveness, it really got to be quite annoying at times. Other than that I really enjoyed this age gap romance. Jon and Brent worked well together and had good chemistry, and the author did a great job with conveying the chronic pain that Brent was in. I would recommend this book to those that enjoy MM Romance, Age Gap Romance, Sports / Music Romances, or Small Town Romances. Happy Reading!!! Read an Excerpt here: http://bit.ly/NBReviewA **I have voluntarily reviewed an Advanced Readers Copy of this book for my Blog, Nadine's Obsessed with Books** You can find me here:  https://linktr.ee/NadineBookaholic

  5. 4 out of 5

    Georgie-who-is-Sarah-Drew

    It's good that L.A. Witt is prepared to tackle the normally taboo subjects of chronic pain, divorce, depression, emotional abuse and erectile dysfunction within the parameters of a contemporary romance setting. It really and truly is. But to quote one of the great philosophers of the 1970s, I think you ought to know I'm feeling very depressed. It's good that L.A. Witt is prepared to tackle the normally taboo subjects of chronic pain, divorce, depression, emotional abuse and erectile dysfunction within the parameters of a contemporary romance setting. It really and truly is. But to quote one of the great philosophers of the 1970s, I think you ought to know I'm feeling very depressed.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Caz

    L.A. Witt is someone who is prepared to tackle difficult issues in her novels but who always handles them with respect and sensitivity, and nowhere is that more evident than in Aftermath, her entry in the Vino and Veritas series. Her two main characters are a twenty-nine-year-old former hockey player whose career was ended by a horrific car accident that almost cost him his life, and a forty-one-year-old divorcé with a ten-year-old son. They meet by chance when Brent’s best friend encourages L.A. Witt is someone who is prepared to tackle difficult issues in her novels but who always handles them with respect and sensitivity, and nowhere is that more evident than in Aftermath, her entry in the Vino and Veritas series. Her two main characters are a twenty-nine-year-old former hockey player whose career was ended by a horrific car accident that almost cost him his life, and a forty-one-year-old divorcé with a ten-year-old son. They meet by chance when Brent’s best friend encourages him to go for a drink at Vino and Veritas, where Jon is providing the live music that night. There’s an instant attraction there – for Brent, it’s the first time he’s felt anything remotely like it since the accident – but as he discovers, while the spirit is willing, the flesh is… not at all on board, and the night ends somewhat disastrously. Fortunately, he finds the courage to text Jon the next day to apologise for running out on him and after that, they settle into what they both believe is a friends with benefits situation – even though it’s quickly clear to both of them that whatever is going on between them isn’t really a casual arrangement at all. They hang out together, sleep together – even though sex is rarely on the table – and eventually Jon brings Brent to meet his son… but what if they’re not really on the same page? Brent worries that eventually, his limitations will become too much for Jon to deal with; Jon worries that a hot, young former athlete will wake up one day and wonder what he’s doing with an over-the-hill single dad. While at first sight they would seem to have little in common, as the story progresses it becomes apparent they’re both going through stages of grief for the lives they thought they were going to have and a period of adjustment to their new ‘normal’. The story includes a lot of things you won’t find in many romance novels; chronic pain, sexual dysfunction, depression, emotional abuse – but they’re presented in a very realistic way, especially when it comes to Brent and all the limitations his injuries have imposed on him and the toll his reduced mobility and the way his life has been completely upended has taken on him mentally. Kudos, too, for the way she presents the issue of Brent’s ED; in a genre in which male characters – regardless of sexual orientation – are often presented as well-hung studs who can go all night and then some – it’s… maybe not ‘nice’ exactly, but it’s good to see the issue represented in a very matter-of-fact but compassionate manner, and in this particular case how, with Jon’s unconditional support and encouragement, Brent is able to at least start to come to terms with the changes to his libido and sex life. Jon is a really sweet guy, who is still reeling a bit from his divorce two years before (which completely blindsided him), and he, too is nursing insecurities he needs to put behind him. I liked him and Brent individually and together – they’re good for each other and for the most part they communicate well and the author does a good job of developing their relationship. On the downside, this is a fairly long book and it was sometimes a bit wordy and repetitive – but I enjoyed it despite that. The love between Brent and Jon is so strong, their connection so well-developed that by the end, you know they’re absolutely solid and in it for the long haul, equipped to deal with whatever life throws at them, together.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Aaly

    ***ARC kindly provided in exchange for an honest review. *** This story gave all the feels about two people who were not looking for love but ended anything falling for the other without even trying. When Jon met Brent, sparks obviously flew but still these two had a lot on their plate, from the newly single father to the injured hockey player who had to stop his career. These two were just tenderness overload, all the freaking butterflies and Jon… that man won me over with his compassion, looking ***ARC kindly provided in exchange for an honest review. *** This story gave all the feels about two people who were not looking for love but ended anything falling for the other without even trying. When Jon met Brent, sparks obviously flew but still these two had a lot on their plate, from the newly single father to the injured hockey player who had to stop his career. These two were just tenderness overload, all the freaking butterflies and Jon… that man won me over with his compassion, looking to feel a connection again with someone. Brent had severe physical damage since his accident, trying to live with the pain constantly. Somehow, Jon was seeing through this, patient and kind, just wanting to be with him. Their story might have started like friends with benefits but they were only fooling themselves because they turned very quickly into so much more. I was so rooting for these two. A newly form of friendship/lovers totally unusual and refreshing. Brent was struggling and adjusting to this condition, broken and defeated. Just broke my heart. Meeting Jon at this time of his life was so unexpected, finding someone who could help you fight your battles, mature and not overstepping. What I loved the most that I was falling for these two, following the rhythm of their story, something cute, smoking hot and tortured at times, through a wide range of emotions… Damn my heart! I’ve been overwhelmed, totally invested in them. Their definitely magic in the air and I loved every moment. A couple that captured my heart with their sincerity, honesty and their broken parts. A sweet and heartbreaking story that truly captured my heart. Hopeful and beautiful. So well written with in-depth characters who were not trying to be perfect, just real. I freaking loved it!!!

  8. 5 out of 5

    KerriLee

    Another sweet addition to this series! Admittedly, I did skim a little bit of the internal monologue bits but didn’t overwhelmingly detract from the story. I don’t deal with chronic pain but the author handled Brent’s conditions in a very thoughtful way that seemed very real. And Jon’s journey felt equally as true and honest. Really enjoyed this one!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    This tender book addresses issues I've never read before in a romance book, and it's all the better for it. Two injured souls--one of them with physical injuries that mirror the emotional ones and the other with deep wounds that get deeper--find solace with each other and eventually love. This is why you read romance, people! For books like this! This tender book addresses issues I've never read before in a romance book, and it's all the better for it. Two injured souls--one of them with physical injuries that mirror the emotional ones and the other with deep wounds that get deeper--find solace with each other and eventually love. This is why you read romance, people! For books like this!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Deanna (A Novel Glimpse)

    Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion. Aftermath was a story that felt unique to me. I hadn't really read a romance like it before. Brent had some issues resulting from a major injury that I hadn't read in a book before. I liked that it felt like I was learning something while also enjoying the love story. Brent and Jon started out casually, but things got serious faster than they or I expected. I liked how they built trust and intimacy in unexpected ways. I also loved the ma Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion. Aftermath was a story that felt unique to me. I hadn't really read a romance like it before. Brent had some issues resulting from a major injury that I hadn't read in a book before. I liked that it felt like I was learning something while also enjoying the love story. Brent and Jon started out casually, but things got serious faster than they or I expected. I liked how they built trust and intimacy in unexpected ways. I also loved the maturity Jon brought to the story. It was such a sweet romance. Original review: A Novel Glimpse

  11. 4 out of 5

    ✰ BJ's Book Blog ✰Janeane ✰

    ; ARC received for an honest review I am calling it - Aftermath is my favourite Vino and Veritas/World of True North book! Brent and Jon's story is a lot heavier than the other books we have read so far - sure, they have all had their issues, but these guys guys them by the busload. I am not saying that in a bad way, just that their pasts are affecting them more than others. I love how they kept seeing their relationship as a FWB thing for so long, when Blind Freddie could see that that was ; ARC received for an honest review I am calling it - Aftermath is my favourite Vino and Veritas/World of True North book! Brent and Jon's story is a lot heavier than the other books we have read so far - sure, they have all had their issues, but these guys guys them by the busload. I am not saying that in a bad way, just that their pasts are affecting them more than others. I love how they kept seeing their relationship as a FWB thing for so long, when Blind Freddie could see that that was never their thing. My heart hurt so much for Brent. As an old fart, I complain about aches and pain, but I could never imagine the mental strain being in constant pain. I ache just thinking about it. I love these cuddle buddies - who doesn't love a good cuddle? There are a couple of scene stealers that come into the story lateer, but you need to read to find out about them yourself. This was one of those stories that I couldn't wait to turn the next page, but didn't want the story to end. This series need to go on for eternity, I know I would keep reading. ARC received for an honest review I am calling it - Aftermath is my favourite Vino and Veritas/World of True North book! Brent and Jon's story is a lot heavier than the other books we have read so far - sure, they have all had their issues, but these guys guys them by the busload. I am not saying that in a bad way, just that their pasts are affecting them more than others. I love how they kept seeing their relationship as a FWB thing for so long, when Blind Freddie could see that that was never their thing. My heart hurt so much for Brent. As an old fart, I complain about aches and pain, but I could never imagine the mental strain being in constant pain. I ache just thinking about it. I love these cuddle buddies - who doesn't love a good cuddle? There are a couple of scene stealers that come into the story lateer, but you need to read to find out about them yourself. This was one of those stories that I couldn't wait to turn the next page, but didn't want the story to end. This series need to go on for eternity, I know I would keep reading. ARC received for an honest review I am calling it - Aftermath is my favourite Vino and Veritas/World of True North book! Brent and Jon's story is a lot heavier than the other books we have read so far - sure, they have all had their issues, but these guys guys them by the busload. I am not saying that in a bad way, just that their pasts are affecting them more than others. I love how they kept seeing their relationship as a FWB thing for so long, when Blind Freddie could see that that was never their thing. My heart hurt so much for Brent. As an old fart, I complain about aches and pain, but I could never imagine the mental strain being in constant pain. I ache just thinking about it. I love these cuddle buddies - who doesn't love a good cuddle? There are a couple of scene stealers that come into the story lateer, but you need to read to find out about them yourself. This was one of those stories that I couldn't wait to turn the next page, but didn't want the story to end. This series need to go on for eternity, I know I would keep reading.

  12. 5 out of 5

    The Word Nerd Reviews Blog

    Aftermath is the fifth book in the Vino & Veritas series set in Sarina Bowen’s True North world. It’s a beautiful tale of trying to make the best of the bumps in the road and finding someone to help you navigate the ruts. Aftermath deals with some quite serious issues. Brent, a former professional hockey player, is badly injured in a car accident that ruined his career and almost took his life. Now living with constant pain that varies from a mild toothache to unbearable agony, he discovers at th Aftermath is the fifth book in the Vino & Veritas series set in Sarina Bowen’s True North world. It’s a beautiful tale of trying to make the best of the bumps in the road and finding someone to help you navigate the ruts. Aftermath deals with some quite serious issues. Brent, a former professional hockey player, is badly injured in a car accident that ruined his career and almost took his life. Now living with constant pain that varies from a mild toothache to unbearable agony, he discovers at the most inopportune time that his injuries have also caused erectile dysfunction. Luckily, the person responsible for him discovering his ED is also the person he needs most. Together Brent and Jon navigate, not always successfully, the bumpy road to their HEA. I loved how this author dealt with the issue of chronic pain. As someone who deals with chronic pain of a different sort, it was too easy to put myself into Brent’s shoes and understand him completely. It is hard for anyone who either doesn’t suffer themselves, or have someone close to them who does, to understand the isolation this type of condition brings with it. It is too easy for people to dismiss it ‘it can’t be that bad you’re still at work/school/whatever’, Witt captured this feeling perfectly, and Brent’s frustration with himself, his lashing out and the resulting remorse, was almost picture perfect. Ah Jon, I don’t think anyone could create someone as perfect for Brent as Jon. Although dealing with his own issues, he accepted Brent completely. Where Brent saw limitations and himself as lesser, Jon thought he was perfect. As much as I though Brent was a great character and so very strong for doing what he did, it was Jon that won my heart. That’s not to say they weren’t both stubborn mules at times, both of them with their own feelings of inadequacy when the other thought they were perfect. Of course, this caused drama, but each episode was dealt with relatively quickly and satisfactorily. I have only read a couple of Witt’s books, but I’ve always been impressed with her writing style and her characterization. Her characters always feel real. They have their strengths, but most importantly they have their weaknesses. As for the ‘bad guys’ they are so deliciously bad! In Aftermath, there are really only two major negative characters. Brent’s father and Jon’s ex-wife’s live-in boyfriend. Both are so well developed that you really feel like reaching through the pages and punching them yourself. Especially, Brent’s father who is unable to accept that his professional hockey career is over, instead he denigrates Brent, calling him weak for not trying to return to hockey. Honestly, I would have happily run this jerk over with my car! I really enjoyed the addition of Jon’s son, Cody to the mix, and I thought it was fantastic that Jon had had an open communication with him regarding his sexuality. I enjoyed that Cody accepted Brent, there was non of that resentment for encroaching on the established family (even if they are divorced) that sometimes comes up when a child is added to a story. I really enjoyed how Brent was able to help Cody deal with his mother’s boyfriend, he was an excellent role model for him, along with his father. Although this book dealt with serious issues, it was certainly not an overly heavy or intense read. Yes, it did become both heavy and intense in parts, with the subject matter how could it not, but there was also a lot of humour and lightness to stop it ever becoming depressing. Humour between Jon and Brent, the surrounding characters, and don’t forget the delightful pups! I really enjoyed Aftermath and I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys a serious story with amazing characters that also has a lot of humour, true romance, and more than a little heat! All my reviews can be found on my blog: The Word Nerd Reviews Follow Me: Facebook & Twitter

  13. 4 out of 5

    Xanthe

    *4.5* Oh, my heart! This was definitely an emotional ride for the main characters and for me as a reader. Brent is a year on from a serious accident that has left him with chronic pain as well as injuries from his hockey playing days. He's struggling to cope and it's his closest friend, Ethan, who finally gets him out of the house to Vino and Veritas. Luckily for him, it's the night that Jon is playing live music and they make an instant connection with a hot attraction. Things get in the way for *4.5* Oh, my heart! This was definitely an emotional ride for the main characters and for me as a reader. Brent is a year on from a serious accident that has left him with chronic pain as well as injuries from his hockey playing days. He's struggling to cope and it's his closest friend, Ethan, who finally gets him out of the house to Vino and Veritas. Luckily for him, it's the night that Jon is playing live music and they make an instant connection with a hot attraction. Things get in the way for both men though, so they settle on a friends with benefits arrangement that works well for them both, until it becomes more. Jon has now been divorced for about a year and is has his son to stay every other week so doesn't want the entanglement of a relationship but can't help the way he's drawn to Brent even if he is younger, was a pro athlete and lives in the very, very good part of town. My heart broke for both men in this story. Jon's still dealing with some emotional and mental issues from his divorces and where he now stands in life. Brent has lost his career, livelihood, and what he'd been doing since the moment he could walk in hockey. The chronic pain is something I can totally understand and so was probably drawn to him for that as well. There is a lot of introspection that they each have to do along the way as well, in regards to themselves as well as what they want with each other. It's a good lesson in not being presumptuous and also letting in the person you're basically in a relationship with. All aspects of the story are very well written by the author. It's an emotional and often physical journey as the two men learn what limitations there are with Brent's body but also the possibilities of what they can do together. It's so sweet how what each man has missed the most is just physical contact, not sex, so cuddles buddies is a great term for what they do a lot of. There are great side characters involved as well, both good and bad. Ethan is truly supportive for Brent and often speaks quite plainly, which is helpful. Cody, Jon's son is a total sweetie. Brent's father is one of those people who just really need a slap because of what comes out of their mouth. I was honestly cheering when some things are finally said. Total stars of the show though, Luna and Winston. They won the hearts of the MC's so easily and the reader's too! Totally adorable and such perfect companions. This is a wonderful addition to the series. I love the variety of characters that have been written and am happy to see one with disabilities included. "Living in a body that doesn't work the way it's supposed to is exhausting" is so very true and it's affirming to even read fictional characters that continue on even when the going gets tough. I received an ARC and am happily giving a review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    **2.5 stars This is part of the Vino and Veritas world from different authors. This is my first read from this author and she tackled a lot of subjects--chronic pain, physical limitations, divorce, depression, and emotional abuse. It was a lot and at times a bit too much for me. This is my first read with an MC with chronic pain and so many physical limitations and I really liked Brent and my heart broke for him. This started out strong for me, but the whole middle of the book had me checking the **2.5 stars This is part of the Vino and Veritas world from different authors. This is my first read from this author and she tackled a lot of subjects--chronic pain, physical limitations, divorce, depression, and emotional abuse. It was a lot and at times a bit too much for me. This is my first read with an MC with chronic pain and so many physical limitations and I really liked Brent and my heart broke for him. This started out strong for me, but the whole middle of the book had me checking the percentage constantly and debating whether I could just quit it. At about 80% I was hit in the feels so I wanted to keep reading, but then I was back to wondering when we could be done. Jon is recently divorced after twenty years of marriage. Finding himself a newly single dad and dealing with what he felt was a sudden request for divorce, he is trying to find his new normal. Singing at V&V gives him an outlet for his grief and loss of his marriage. Brent is a former professional hockey player that was severely injured in a car accident. He too, is trying to find a new normal as he rehabilitates his body, not only from the crash, but from years of putting his body through hell. When his best friend drags him out of hiding, he encounters the older, sexy Jon singing and they connect with just a look. Deciding to be friends with benefits, they embark on a more emotional journey along with a physical one. I liked how this started with Jon and Brent. They are both a bit broken and for Brent especially he has sooo much going on with him. Jon was sweet and patient and all around perfect for what Brent needed. Where it lost me was the repetitive inner dialogue of "I'm not enough", "this is temporary" or the overly detailed medical talk or talk about the accident. It was just monotonous and overdone. That being said, I did like that Jon never saw Brent as someone with limitations . He always saw him as the hot, ex-hockey player and I appreciated that. But the continuous doubt and insistence of "just friends with benefits" was exhausting. I also wondered why Brent wasn't in therapy. I feel like that should be a requirement when you have gone through everything he has. Toward the end, my heart broke for Brent and it really caught me in the feels. But then it kinda ended with a HFN and the epilogue was just....fine. I can't say what I needed. Maybe more of them hanging out as just Jon and Brent, doing coupley things, and less talks about the accident, surgeries, and Jon's ex. Maybe not so much inner doubt that seemed incredibly melodramatic. I still want to give this series a try. I'm hoping that I can discover a new author I mesh with. Sadly, this one was not a hit for me.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Amy Dufera - Amy's MM Romance Reviews

    LA Witt's Aftermath is a wonderful small town romance. The fifth book in the multi-author Vino & Veritas series, this just may be my favorite. There is so much going on in this book. And I love it all. Brent and Jon are both suffering in their own way. There's chronic pain, a controlling father, feelings of inadequacy, an ex wife, and a child who's affected by it all. And dogs! Both men think they aren't worthy. Brent's a ex hockey player who suffers from chronic pain and has been living as a her LA Witt's Aftermath is a wonderful small town romance. The fifth book in the multi-author Vino & Veritas series, this just may be my favorite. There is so much going on in this book. And I love it all. Brent and Jon are both suffering in their own way. There's chronic pain, a controlling father, feelings of inadequacy, an ex wife, and a child who's affected by it all. And dogs! Both men think they aren't worthy. Brent's a ex hockey player who suffers from chronic pain and has been living as a hermit, giving into his depression. Jon is older, with an angry ex wife, a young son, and a plate full of baggage. The chronic pain aspect is brilliantly approached. I am in awe at how well the author addresses this. Every single moment with Brent is written with how this affects him. It isn't just written to guide the story and his issues, but it's written in every single thing he does. Every step is taken with pain. His sex life is affected by his pain. His pain is felt throughout and as someone who deals with chronic pain, I love every moment of this aspect. Both men have some external issues. Brent's relationship with his father. Omg. I won't even bother to go into the details, but, omg, I just want to punch him. I truly hate him. For Jon, it's his ex wife and her boyfriend that's the issue. Jon's a stand up guy and I applaud him for the way he handles her. Their journey and the way they developed into strangers is all too honest and heartbreaking. The dogs. Omg, the dogs. These shelter dogs are instantly a major part of this story and add a tremendous amount of love to this tale. But even more, they parallel the men so well. Both men are broken and struggling. Both men are trying to deal with their new situations and together help one another heal, as well as learn to live fully. And the dogs are the same way, both helping each other heal. It's wonderful! I have to start by saying that I love the writing style. LA Witt is a well known author in the genre and this is just one more amazing story by her. This story has a lot of description, but I love it. The writing shows us little things that are happening, but it's never overkill. As well, written in alternating first person pov, this book is loaded with internal dialogue. And no one does it better. These moments are fantastic, with so many important things being considered and contemplated throughout. I love it all. Aftermath is a long, well drawn out tale. It's a beautiful love story, but it's a big commitment, so put some time aside for this beauty. This LA Witt tale is a hurt/comfort romance that you can't miss. I love every moment of this story.

  16. 5 out of 5

    thunderlightning

    4.5 stars I suspect this will be my favorite in the series. It was so so well written and perfectly excuted. L.A. Witt did an amazing job creating this book and these characters and bringing them to life. Brent and Jon met when they're both in the lowest points in their lives. Brent is an ex-hockey player who suffered from a career-ending injuries when he was T-boned by a car six months ago and lost everything. Jon is a newly divroced single dad, who's suffering the aftermath of the divorce that 4.5 stars I suspect this will be my favorite in the series. It was so so well written and perfectly excuted. L.A. Witt did an amazing job creating this book and these characters and bringing them to life. Brent and Jon met when they're both in the lowest points in their lives. Brent is an ex-hockey player who suffered from a career-ending injuries when he was T-boned by a car six months ago and lost everything. Jon is a newly divroced single dad, who's suffering the aftermath of the divorce that seemed to come out of nowhere. Each character is going through their own journy and problems, and they were perfect to help each other out. I loved Brent's character, the way his injuries were portrayed, the way he didn't bounce right back or that his injuries took a backseat for the sake of romance. Brent was always in pain, always suffering the consequences of his injurney and the trauma hockey did on his body, and above all that he's trying to figure his identity when he's no longer a hockey player while withstanding his dad's toxic criticism. Jon is also trying to figure himself out. He was married out of 2o years, but now he's a divorced dad living in a fixer-upper house alone. He doesn't know what went wrong (btw I fucking hate Ashly, that fucking cold ass flippant bitch). Brent and Jon's romance was unlikely, but they clicked the first time Brent saw Jon preforming in Vino and Veritas. The attraction was instant, but what was amazing about their relationship that it revolved around way more than that. I loved, loved, loved that this book wasn't sex-focused. We had just few sex scenes sure, but Brent's body was still recovering from his injuries, and he suffered from erectile dysfunction. This is something I also loved; the author projected all the issues people face when they suffer from ED in such a positive and healthy way. Brent was so insecure about himself, feeling worthless and has litte to offer because his body's injuries and the ED, but Jon was so patient and he didn't care Brent could get it up or not. He treated it as a thing to figure out rather than something annoying to fix.They represented that relationships were more than getting each other off, and that pleasure can come in different form than just orgasms and coming. Jon was also amazing. Honestly he was what every partner and father should be. I loved how he put his son Cody above everything else; even his feelings, his anger, his ex-wife, or even Brent. Also shout out to Luna and Winsten. As if the book needed to be even more adorable. Anyway, 100% recommend.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Amy Dickinson

    Overall Grade: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ There are often moments in fiction, any type of fiction, where a person’s truth is evident and keen. In L.A. Witt’s Aftermath, another story from the Vino & Veritas brand under the Sarina Bowen World of True North, the truth lies in a person’s resiliency and ability to find a new identity. This book tells the story of Brent and John. Brent is a twentyish young man who has been dealt a serious blow in his life. A former professional hockey player whose career ended dramatic Overall Grade: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ There are often moments in fiction, any type of fiction, where a person’s truth is evident and keen. In L.A. Witt’s Aftermath, another story from the Vino & Veritas brand under the Sarina Bowen World of True North, the truth lies in a person’s resiliency and ability to find a new identity. This book tells the story of Brent and John. Brent is a twentyish young man who has been dealt a serious blow in his life. A former professional hockey player whose career ended dramatically, he is struggling to “live” life again. Trapped in a world of pain, Brent doesn’t know who he is anymore without hockey. One night, Brent is coaxed out of his house by a friend who takes him to Vino & Veritas. There, a musician, Jon, performs, and Brent is drawn to him. At the end of Jon’s set, Brent befriends Jon, and they have instant chemistry. The problem is Brent is insecure about the brokenness of his body. Like Brent, Jon too is striving for a new identity. With the end of his marriage, he is trying to find a new normal for himself and his son. He also understands pain, but in a more figurative sense. These two connect immediately and the transitory nature of their initial meeting becomes something deeper as the story progresses. There is a truth in this story, the idea that dreams can be derailed and the need to find a new identity. Witt is insistent in telling the story of that reality. Through Brent and John, but more specifically Brent, we see the devastation of their dreams, but we also see the possibility of constructing new ones. As Witt shows us beautifully through their story, with the right person who can be patient and love us through our trials, we can find a new identity, a new place to inhabit. I will admit that there is quite a bit of exposition in this story about Brent’s accident and subsequent issues. It feels a little bit like being hit over the head over and over again by a book. You learn very quickly that he lives with pain, and this feels a little too drawn out. But what I think I loved the most is the genuine friendship and care between Jon and Brent. Honestly, Jon is a patient one, very thoughtful and compassionate towards Brent. It’s his simple want for touch and patience for anything more that makes him so incredibly likable. For the Vino & Veritas world, L.A. Witt’s Aftermath is a perfect addition. I appreciated the subtlety of their burgeoning relationship, the care between these two men. Even more, Aftermath is a perfect reminder that we can dream different dreams when our original ones don’t work, and in the end, our new dreams can be better than the original dreams.

  18. 4 out of 5

    NicoleR.M.M.

    3,5 stars. This book started off great. Now I already know L.A. Witt writes awesome books. I haven't read everything she wrote yet, but the books I did read have seldom disappointed me. Until this one. Ok, I still rate it 3,5 stars, but that's because of some of the sensitive topics she touches and handles so very well. It's also because I liked the first half of the book a lot, it was very promising. But then I just reached a point that I didn't anymore. That was when the dogs came in. Then the 3,5 stars. This book started off great. Now I already know L.A. Witt writes awesome books. I haven't read everything she wrote yet, but the books I did read have seldom disappointed me. Until this one. Ok, I still rate it 3,5 stars, but that's because of some of the sensitive topics she touches and handles so very well. It's also because I liked the first half of the book a lot, it was very promising. But then I just reached a point that I didn't anymore. That was when the dogs came in. Then the story started to drag and I even started skimming. And, at the end, I enjoyed it again and was curious to find out what was going to happen with Jon and Brent. So, yes, 3 stars seems too few, but it sure has not been a 4 stars read for me. Which was disappointing in the end. Or maybe my expectations were too high. What surprised me most though, was that it's kind of an insta-love story and for the first time in like forever, it didn't bother me. Which I think is due to this author's writing, because it's the one trope I really, really dislike. So hat's off to the author for accomplishing that ;) Jon and Brent were good together, the development of their romance felt really natural. The reasons why they fell for each other, why they looked for something they could find in the other, were very intelligible. I loved how the author handled the sensitive topics here. She doesn't shy away from those, but she also handles them with respect and with knowledge and empathy. But then the dogs came in. And I don't mind dogs in a book, but they started taking over almost the whole story here and I really did not like that. Not at all. So that's the part where I started skimming. Also, this was the part of the book that started to sound repetitive. Some continues thoughts that went on in circles the whole time. And then we came to the part where the MC's, instead of talking with one another, started to assume they knew exactly what the other one was thinking, which subsequently determined their actions. Which was quite annoying, and besides that, their assumptions didn't seem fair either, because in the past couple of weeks they had started to learn things about each other. It dragged on a little too long for my liking, things could have been solved way sooner. So, I found it hard to rate and it's only because of the start and finish and the way sensitive topics were handled, that I decided on 3,5 stars, but in all honesty, they are thin. I received an ARC by the publishers in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Quirks

    Unlike the fourth book, which was fast-paced and interesting, this one just dragged on and on. And when it ended, I honest-to-god said, "Thank fuck," out loud. The book started off great. It's about Jon and Brent. Jon is a recently divorced man with a ten-year-old son, who's still trying to adjust to being single after twenty years. Whereas Brent is a 29-year-old former NHL player who was severely injured in a car crash. He's still recovering from his injuries and coming to terms with the end of Unlike the fourth book, which was fast-paced and interesting, this one just dragged on and on. And when it ended, I honest-to-god said, "Thank fuck," out loud. The book started off great. It's about Jon and Brent. Jon is a recently divorced man with a ten-year-old son, who's still trying to adjust to being single after twenty years. Whereas Brent is a 29-year-old former NHL player who was severely injured in a car crash. He's still recovering from his injuries and coming to terms with the end of his career, and that he'll be in chronic pain for the rest of his life and will never gain the mobility that he had. Both parts of the story were good, and they were done so well. We got to hear about both their struggles. I mean, a divorce after twenty years is bound to be a shock. And severe injuries like Brent's? I loved the care and attention the author devoted to the effects the injuries had on his life and his psyche. Both the characters were also very likable, and they had the sweetest relationship. The problem arose about halfway through when it started to become more and more obvious how repetitive the book was getting. The characters understandably have doubts, and they think about them often. And a lot of the time, it's the same doubt that's come to haunt them again. We didn't need a long inner monologue reiterating the things we read just a couple of chapters ago. Instead of two pages of the same thing, you could've just alluded to the character's thoughts, that they were the same as before, in a single paragraph. Though really, the book was verbose in general, even when it wasn't repetitive. You know what this book needed? An editor who could chop off 50 or more pages. And maybe change the conflict toward the end so it wouldn't be so generic. Speaking of... it wasn't a conflict I haven't read before. And while it might bother me in any other book, here it bothered me a lot. The author had taken so much time to develop a good relationship between the protagonists, and the conflict cheapened that. Not to mention, the amount of time it took for them to realize they weren't just "fuck buddies" was ridiculous. Overall, a book that would've been better had it not been so occupied with saying the same thing over and over. I was so tired of it by the end. And it'll be a while before I pick up another book by the author.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Heather (AllTheJuicyBits)

    I know I keep saying this, but the Vino and Veritas collection of books are AMAZING. I haven't read them all yet, but I sure plan to. Aftermath might be my favourite. Brent and Joe are a bit of an unlikely couple, but they're so so good together. Brent is still recovering from a horrific car accident a year earlier. His career as a pro hockey player ended that night, and along with it, the only life he had ever known. A crushed pelvis and shattered hip resulted in severe chronic pain. Trying to I know I keep saying this, but the Vino and Veritas collection of books are AMAZING. I haven't read them all yet, but I sure plan to. Aftermath might be my favourite. Brent and Joe are a bit of an unlikely couple, but they're so so good together. Brent is still recovering from a horrific car accident a year earlier. His career as a pro hockey player ended that night, and along with it, the only life he had ever known. A crushed pelvis and shattered hip resulted in severe chronic pain. Trying to adjust to this new reality would be hard for anyone, but for a pro athlete, it was like his identity was stolen that night. Brent doesn't recognize himself anymore, not only physically - between the scars and the muscle atrophy, his body embarrasses him, which he's never experienced. Mentally, he's struggling to figure out who he is without hockey. It's a heartbreaking situation and I thought LA Witt did a great job of showing how hopeless Brent felt. It was easy to understand his hopelessness - even though he had all the money he could ever need, it was pointless if he felt like an intruder in his own body. Joe is dealing with the aftermath of a different kind of tragedy. After being married for nearly 20 years, getting over his divorce from his wife, and trying to adjust to being a single, gay man as well as a single dad has knocked him off balance. Though he's a massage therapist by day, a couple of evenings a week he plays guitar and sings at Vino, and writing and performing the music is starting to help him heal. Joe is an absolutely WONDERFUL person. He's genuine and so so kind. Even after their first ill-fated attempt at hooking up went off the rails, once he knew Brent's story, he never once judged him or made him feel inadequate. Joe is the kind of person you really want in your life. Someone who will sincerely accept you, making allowances where he needs to, but not treating you any differently than anyone else. The relationship between them is so touching. They both discover that they are starved for affection and touch, it's not just about sex. They both crave intimacy, and the fact that they aren't always able to have actual intercourse makes their relationship even more intimate. I adored this book and I'll probably read it again!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Alcazar

    L.A. Witt made so many fantastic choices with this story that I don’t even know where to begin and I kinda just want to tell you to go #oneclick right now and that’s it. But I’m gonna give you more cuz I’m a giver like that :) The meet-cute was strong and sizzled. When I was reading the scene, I felt their connection and it was glorious. The ensuing relationship, friendship and lovers, was ridiculously satisfying for me. Both of these men brought a different dimension to their friendship. Truth b L.A. Witt made so many fantastic choices with this story that I don’t even know where to begin and I kinda just want to tell you to go #oneclick right now and that’s it. But I’m gonna give you more cuz I’m a giver like that :) The meet-cute was strong and sizzled. When I was reading the scene, I felt their connection and it was glorious. The ensuing relationship, friendship and lovers, was ridiculously satisfying for me. Both of these men brought a different dimension to their friendship. Truth be told, several different dimensions and it made their story more poignant for me. Brent wasn’t just an injured ex-hockey player reinventing his future and Jon wasn’t just a newly divorced single dad revamping his future, they were both lugging around very heavy backpacks full of history they needed to navigate and move past. I have to give props to LA Witt for writing Brent’s growth in the story respectfully and accurately. She gave careful consideration to all the nuances that come with Brent’s struggles and she represented his turmoil with respect and a lot of knowledge. I have never suffered from chronic pain or ever had to endure what Brent had to endure but I’m pretty astute and have a few years under my belt, and what I read came across as thoroughly researched and true to life as I believe it to be. There’s a lot of vulnerability in the storyline and I truly appreciated it all of it, because these two had a lot to unpack and again, it made their story that much more poignant for me. I could only find one miniscule thing I would rather not have had to do and that’s the bit of skimming that I did. I get it. I know the why of it. I don’t need it explained to me but, gaaaaaaaaaaaawd, so much inner monologue. I like my stories to be 90% interactive and 10% introspective, if I was to give a ratio and this one leaned the scale the opposite way. I don’t think I missed anything key in the story because I was never lost or confused. I was just *sigh* sometimes LOL But that’s such a tiny spec of nothing in the grand scheme of things that this is still a 4.9 so obviously 5 STAR read! Okay, but one last thing ... someone tell that boy to get his hands out of his mouth and stop biting his nails #notwinning *runs*

  22. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    This book is soo full of emotion. Good and bad emotion. How would you feel if your whole life came crashing down around you in an instant. That is Brent’s reality one night after he and his team win a hockey game. One car ride, one drunk driver, one instant. It was that one instant that changed his life forever. With his hockey career over and mobility a constant issue, Brent becomes a recluse and only really goes out to go to the doctor and physical therapy. That is until one night his best fri This book is soo full of emotion. Good and bad emotion. How would you feel if your whole life came crashing down around you in an instant. That is Brent’s reality one night after he and his team win a hockey game. One car ride, one drunk driver, one instant. It was that one instant that changed his life forever. With his hockey career over and mobility a constant issue, Brent becomes a recluse and only really goes out to go to the doctor and physical therapy. That is until one night his best friend Ethan drags him out to go to Vino and Veritas to have some wine and get out amongst the living. Little did they know that it was live music night and a night that would turn Brent’s would on its axis’s. John is a divorced single dad who sings at Vino and Veritas certain nights but his day job is a massage therapist. What he sings comes straight from the heart about his recent divorce. He happens to be onstage the night Ethan drags Brent out. They both notice each other and decide a friends with benefits relationship could work. There is not a lot of sex or oral in the story. With Brent’s physical limitations and constant pain he is not able to do a whole lot. John really doesn’t mind and is perfectly content making out and cuddling. That was kind of refreshing to not have their relationship be all sex sex sex. They had a different kind of intimacy and it worked for them. They do eventually realize that what they have is more than friends with benefits. John is always making accommodations for Brent because of his limitations and never once complains. Brent however is worried that John could do better and have someone who can really satisfy him and his needs. He goes out and buys something to help out in the bedroom which had me excited to see them use it together. Well that never came so that was a bit disappointing. Another thing I would have liked to see more of is Ethan. He is in like the first chapter or two and then nothing until like 70% in. There are soo many aspects of this book I love and really just a few things I would have liked to seen differently. This was a really easy read for me and I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jenn

    4 - 4.5 Stars The Vino & Veritas series continues to deliver absolutely fantastic reads! I really loved Aftermath, the characters and what this story addresses. This is a unique story of healing and acceptance and ultimately love. Brent and Jon are so wonderful together and while completely unexpected so very perfect for each other. Brent is 29, a professional hockey play who recently survived an awful car crash that led to major injuries including a hip replacement. He finds himself without a car 4 - 4.5 Stars The Vino & Veritas series continues to deliver absolutely fantastic reads! I really loved Aftermath, the characters and what this story addresses. This is a unique story of healing and acceptance and ultimately love. Brent and Jon are so wonderful together and while completely unexpected so very perfect for each other. Brent is 29, a professional hockey play who recently survived an awful car crash that led to major injuries including a hip replacement. He finds himself without a career and without much direction in life. Jon is a recently divorced, 41 year old with a ten year old son he's trying to raise with a somewhat difficult ex wife. The two men really don't have anything in common but a chance meeting at the open mic night at the wine bar opens them both up to a journey they never expected. The two men share a great connection, they have great chemistry and what is supposed to be a fun hook up goes sideways pretty quick when Brent's battered body doesn't seem to be on board. What starts though is a wonderful friendship, a tentative relationship where these two really start opening up to each other and letting their walls down. It's funny because throughout the book they refer to being 'hookup buddies' but it's actually rarely what happens between them. Brent struggles with the after effects of his injuries and surgeries and often times isn't able to fully engage in sex. That really is how these two build their relationship though, by enjoying what they do have between them and growing that. There are a lot of insecurities between them both though and definitely complicates things at times. Brent also feels a great amount of pressure from his father to 'man up' and get back to hockey - yeah so not possible for him. It's really about how these two build each other up, support each other and ultimately love each other. It's not always easy, they certainly have issues they need to work through, some moments just broke my heart to pieces, but both Brent and Jon do come to find that they can work through it all together. This book is filled with wonderful moments that will definitely make you laugh and smile, some are raw and hurt the heart and overall, a touching story that I really enjoyed.

  24. 4 out of 5

    WycEd Reader

    Check out our full post for AFTERMATH on Wicked Reads, which includes an excerpt. Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team Ruthie – ☆☆☆☆ This is the fifth book in a series of stories written by a collection of talented authors and set in Sarina Bowen’s True North world. I am really enjoying the connections, and yet the variety of styles offered by the different writers. This book revolves around Vino & Veritas's talented singer Jon, and is a really good chunky read. Jon proves himself to really be Check out our full post for AFTERMATH on Wicked Reads, which includes an excerpt. Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team Ruthie – ☆☆☆☆ This is the fifth book in a series of stories written by a collection of talented authors and set in Sarina Bowen’s True North world. I am really enjoying the connections, and yet the variety of styles offered by the different writers. This book revolves around Vino & Veritas's talented singer Jon, and is a really good chunky read. Jon proves himself to really be a good guy, and he is incredibly supportive of Brent. It deals with some difficult issues, mostly on Brent's part. He has suffered multiple traumatic injuries following a car crash where he wasn't even expected to live, and which ended his NHL career. Every move he makes hurts, and he will never regain full mobility, let alone a pain free life. What he is fighting with most of all though, is his mental health – which is most seriously affected by his horrible father's attitude. Wow, there are often parents that I want to slap in novels, but he would be right at the top of my list! This is quite a long, slow-burning romance, which I really enjoyed. It gives us time to really appreciate the difficulties that Brent faced, and the complexity of Jon's life as he co-parents his son, and starts a new friendship with Brent, works and performs at Vino & Veritas... And then, before he knows it, he also has a dog! This was another good addition to the collection of books which revolve around Vino & Veritas. Reviewers received a free copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads.

  25. 4 out of 5

    ButtonsMom2003

    Realistic and wonderful. I’m a huge L.A. Witt fan and I was so excited to read this book! It’s part of the Vino & Veritas series but can easily be read as a standalone story. I’ve enjoyed all of the books I’ve read so far in this series but this one is really special. Brent suffered a life altering injury that ended his pro hockey career and nearly his life. He’s struggling to get to his new normal, part of which means living with chronic pain that will never completely go away. Jon is a newly div Realistic and wonderful. I’m a huge L.A. Witt fan and I was so excited to read this book! It’s part of the Vino & Veritas series but can easily be read as a standalone story. I’ve enjoyed all of the books I’ve read so far in this series but this one is really special. Brent suffered a life altering injury that ended his pro hockey career and nearly his life. He’s struggling to get to his new normal, part of which means living with chronic pain that will never completely go away. Jon is a newly divorced, single father also trying to come to terms with a new normal. Both of these guys have a lot of baggage that has greatly impacted their self-confidence and how they deal with their budding relationship. I absolutely loved Jon, everyone should have a partner who is as understanding and caring as he is with Brent. Brent found out that there is an unforeseen consequence to his injuries but Jon is wonderful in dealing with it. L.A. Witt has tackled a subject that I’ve never read in a romance book before and I think she handled it with great care. You’ll have to read the book for yourself to find out what it is. I loved the dogs in the story. I’ve been without a dog for nearly two years for the first time in my 60+ years and the dogs in this book made me want to visit the nearest animal shelter and adopt one stat. Shelter dogs make the best pets. ❤ I think every story usually has that one character who’s an a$$hole and Brent’s father is the one in this book. I’m sure it happens more than I’d want to think about, but I just don’t understand how any parent can act the way he did towards Brent. I wasn’t too thrilled with his mother either; I don’t think she stood up for Brent nearly as much as she should have. (This isn’t a criticism of the story, just the characters’ behavior.) I really loved this book. A copy of this book was provided to me but my review was voluntary and not influenced by the author. ***Reviewed for Xtreme-Delusions dot com***

  26. 4 out of 5

    Grace

    My feels on this author's works run the gamut and this is pretty firmly in the decent but not great category. It suffered from two common issues I often encounter in this author's works: 1. length/pacing/repetitiveness and 2. clunkiness with whatever ~cause~ is in the book to the point of it feeling super awkward and preachy. In this case, one of the characters deals with chronic pain, and I thought it was well-handled/researched, but SO many of the conversations around the chronic pain issues f My feels on this author's works run the gamut and this is pretty firmly in the decent but not great category. It suffered from two common issues I often encounter in this author's works: 1. length/pacing/repetitiveness and 2. clunkiness with whatever ~cause~ is in the book to the point of it feeling super awkward and preachy. In this case, one of the characters deals with chronic pain, and I thought it was well-handled/researched, but SO many of the conversations around the chronic pain issues felt like merely an opportunity for the author to show off everything she'd learned/knew about the topic and the various struggles those with chronic pain can experience to the point where it felt really forced and inauthentic. This is a really common issue for Witt IMO, and I get wanting to really be explicit with advocacy, but sometimes less is more in writing and though I rarely disagree with the points she's making, it's feels so forced down my throat that even though I agree, it throws me entirely out of the story she's created. I generally enjoyed the first half, but the second definitely could have been massively cut down and edited out with some of the back and forth. Overall I liked the characters and concept, and their connection was lovely, but it didn't wow me. (view spoiler)[I'm also VERY torn on the bitch ex-wife. On the one hand, I thought it did feel realistic and not OTT, the wife clearly prioritized their kid and had redeeming characteristics, and divorce can be really messy. On the other hand, I think I might not have been SO bothered by it if there was literally any other female character in the book with as much/more screen time. If you're only going to really have one female character (the mom who had like two lines and the doctor who only functioned briefly in a medical capacity do not countr here) then I'd love if authors maybe didn't make her as asshole, even if it suits the story. It just puts me off. (hide spoiler)]

  27. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    This is a harder review to write, partially because I generally really enjoy this author’s works, and partially due to Aftermath including lots of great things that are not often addressed in romances. However much good was in it though, the truth is I struggled to stay engaged. Aftermath opens with both main characters facing difficult junctures of their lives. Jon is reeling from a divorce and struggling to adjust to shared custody of his young son while Brent is facing the challenging task of This is a harder review to write, partially because I generally really enjoy this author’s works, and partially due to Aftermath including lots of great things that are not often addressed in romances. However much good was in it though, the truth is I struggled to stay engaged. Aftermath opens with both main characters facing difficult junctures of their lives. Jon is reeling from a divorce and struggling to adjust to shared custody of his young son while Brent is facing the challenging task of building a new life after a catastrophic accident robbed him of a career and left him in a state of near constant pain. I really liked the plotline of Aftermath. It was unique among the hurt comfort trope in that it tackled new concepts in different ways and had all the makings of a great slow-burn romance. However, the meandering pace increasingly felt like a hindrance rather than complementing the progression of Jon and Brent’s story. While I certainly understood and appreciated both men had a number of issues prompting things to be slow to build and them to guard their feelings, it also became repetitious. There was a lot of circling back or internal rehashing of feelings, and I simply felt my interest wane the further I got into the book. It’s no doubt that Aftermath tackled some oft-ignored aspects of pain and injuries, even among the hurt-comfort romances, but it felt hampered by a repetitive pacing that tempted me to skim rather than appreciate the couple’s journey to their happily ever after. Then again, there’s as much of a chance that it’s just me or my current mindset and others will love the slow burn and quiet rhythm of this story. I certainly think those who have personally dealt with chronic pain will appreciate the author’s sensitive and honest handling of the topic. *eARC received via Heart Eyes Press. The author and PA had no influence over this review*

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mari Cardenas

    5 Stars! Another awesome installment in this multi-author series! Really, if you haven't started yet, what are you waiting for? There are 6 books out so far and they've all been amazing! Both Brent and Jon are dealing with a lot of issues that have left them feeling insecure and not worthy. Brent is an ex-pro-hockey player whose body is practically giving up on him after suffering an accident that left him with a broken pelvis, which is aggravated by years of hockey-related injuries, leaving him w 5 Stars! Another awesome installment in this multi-author series! Really, if you haven't started yet, what are you waiting for? There are 6 books out so far and they've all been amazing! Both Brent and Jon are dealing with a lot of issues that have left them feeling insecure and not worthy. Brent is an ex-pro-hockey player whose body is practically giving up on him after suffering an accident that left him with a broken pelvis, which is aggravated by years of hockey-related injuries, leaving him with chronic pain. And Jon is recently divorced and trying to get on with his life, even if it isn't easy for him to start again. Neither of them is looking for a relationship, but they're attracted to one another and start a friends with benefits arrangement that quickly turns to more, even if neither of them is willing to acknowledge it.  Brent was going through so many things and LAW dealt with it all in a sensitive, informed manner. And Jon, well, how could you not feel for the guy after the way he was blindsided by his ex-wife? Also, he was the best dad ever, putting his son first all the time, which endeared him to me all the more. They had chemistry in spades, and while they didn't have a conventional sex life due to Brent's injuries/issues, it was hotter than hot. I swear Ms. Witt writes some of the best make-out sessions/kissing scenes I've ever read. *fans self* This was a very angsty read, a bit overwhelming in some parts, but still more than worth the time I spent reading it. I fell so hard for Brent and Jon and I loved every single word in this book. Very recommendable! *** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement. ***

  29. 5 out of 5

    Carmen Rae

    So, I've been a little hooked on the Vino and Veritas books and a lot hooked on the True North world. Even though I'm not a huge MM reader I had to dive into a couple after either meeting them in the other series or just being sucked into the blurb. Funnily enough I remember Jon from one of the previous books, but I had no idea who he was when I first picked this up. But I soon realised that really didn't matter because he was so much more than the bars musician. And I enjoyed getting to know him So, I've been a little hooked on the Vino and Veritas books and a lot hooked on the True North world. Even though I'm not a huge MM reader I had to dive into a couple after either meeting them in the other series or just being sucked into the blurb. Funnily enough I remember Jon from one of the previous books, but I had no idea who he was when I first picked this up. But I soon realised that really didn't matter because he was so much more than the bars musician. And I enjoyed getting to know him and his son. Brent was a really likable, sweet character who I felt immense empathy for. He was so long in the middle of this hurricane that had previously been his life and he couldn't see out of it. And God did my heart break for him. He just kept getting hit from every corner every time he thought he had his feet under him he took another hit. I loved both characters and the story was good. I was dying to see all the walls drop and these two guys to get their happily ever after. And for things to be better for both of them but the story felt a little repetitive about some things. And for me personally, and I want to emphasize that most people probably won't have this issue, it was too descriptive. I kept getting distracted when it felt like it was just filler. Just because I don't care about the tile choices based on the lighting, I want to know what is going to happen with the last plot twist. And that's a me problem. I have so little quiet reading time, I no longer want the long novels I can get lost in because two 3 year old girls are not letting that happen. So, I feel like I didn't appreciate the authors writing style enough. And I really am struggling with how to rate it. I think I'll hit in the middle and go 3.5.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kaje Harper

    4.5 stars rounded up, for a great, realistic approach to a seldom-discussed issue. Brent is a hockey player injured in a car accident. His injuries, his chronic pain complications, and the way they impact his health, his moods, his desire, and his capability were handled with a skillful touch that gave them appropriate weight without making the story drown in Brent's pain and losses. He was real, hurting, determined, and someone I could really empathize with. Jon is a great guy for someone in Bre 4.5 stars rounded up, for a great, realistic approach to a seldom-discussed issue. Brent is a hockey player injured in a car accident. His injuries, his chronic pain complications, and the way they impact his health, his moods, his desire, and his capability were handled with a skillful touch that gave them appropriate weight without making the story drown in Brent's pain and losses. He was real, hurting, determined, and someone I could really empathize with. Jon is a great guy for someone in Brent's situation, because his day job as a massage therapist gives him both an understanding of chronic pain, and something he could do to ease his lover, a comfort for both of them. And Jon has his own issues so he's not just a savior for Brent. Jon's divorce, his shared custody of his son, and the house project he took on but is having a hard time with, give him vulnerabilities and regrets. Brent brings home repair skills, determination, money, and new ideas to the table, making the two men relatively equal outside of the relationship. I also liked that Jon's ex-wife was believable in her low-key antagonism, but wasn't a caricature of the evil ex. I docked the half star for the reiterations of "I'm not good enough for him to want to keep." Yes, both men had potential reasons for feeling undesirable (particularly Brent) but there were enough other reasons for the relationship to hit snags, and I would have been happier if this misperception hadn't been such a big player, especially on Jon's part. Still, I was impressed by the way the story walked through the minefields of being too optimistic or too depressing and hit an excellent middle ground of solid romance, love, resolution, and some healing, while acknowledging that Brent's challenges will be lifelong.

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