Is there a time limit on love and forgiveness?
Fifteen years ago, Manny didn’t show up to take Wes to the Shelby High School prom as he promised. Instead, Wes found Manny’s letter jacket at their meeting spot without a note or any explanation.
From college to his current job in Monterey, California, Wes has carted the jacket around as a memento of his teenage love and rejection. This year he decides enough is enough. He’s attending the high school class reunion, returning Manny’s jacket, and going home free to find the real love of his life.
When Manny sees Wes at the reunion tour of the new high school facilities, he’s determined not to let his teenage lover leave without them clearing the air and possibly getting back together.
Through reunion activities such as a quiz bowl, meet-and-greet meals, and a formal banquet with a prom-like ball as well as outside activities like the quinceañera of Manny’s niece, Wes and Manny work through the lies and misunderstandings of the past.
With so much to reconcile and forgive on both sides, will they end up together? Or go their separate ways with only memories of the past?
Manny stopped where we usually parked way back when. He cut the engine after rolling down the windows. A cool breeze ambled in, looked around, and exited on my side.
“So here we are.” Manny was whispering like he always did when we got here.
His arm rested on top of the backrest. But he didn’t play with my hair like he had then.
I clicked off my seat belt and turned to him.
“You promised me a look at the night sky.”
“So I did.” His seat belt made a decisive click just as mine had. “I’m not sure we can still see the sky from here though. I haven’t been out here in a while.”
“In a while?”
“In fifteen years. Not since the last time we came out here together.”
He spoke softly as if he was embarrassed to admit it. My dick heard his words as did my heart. My dick stiffened, even more than it already was. My heart pounded loud enough Manny should have been able to march to its beat.READ MORE
I opened my door and got out. The ground was uneven, lumpy with rocks and roots and branches. I held onto the side of the truck while I tried to make it back to the tailgate.
We nearly collided when we got there.
Manny cleared his throat. I stepped back, unsure what to do.
“Um, yeah, let me get a few things out first.” He lowered the tailgate, hopped up onto the bed, opened the tool box, and got out a couple of exercise mats. He unrolled them one on top of the other. “Here, give me your hand.”
Lying on the mats wasn’t quite like it had been when we were eighteen. Our thirty-three-year-old bodies were less fluid and unforgiving in the confines of the truck bed.
We also didn’t seem to be as slender and compact as we’d been back then. There seemed to be a lot more of him and me as we lay side by side. Or were we pulled away, trying not to touch? Maybe I was just turning into the princess of princess-and-the-pea fame and was being overly picky.
As I gazed up, even the view of the sky was different. Either the trees had grown and filled in above us or we really couldn’t have seen the sky while we were pawing each other underneath their branches.
I slapped at a mosquito or fly or gnat or something. Then Manny slapped at something on his side. Suddenly, all I could hear was soft buzzing around me, and it was game on. The word was out that fresh meat had arrived.
“You got any DEET in your tool box?” I sat up waving my hands around my face, warding off the attack.
“Condoms, lube. Nope, no bug spray. The yoga mats took up too much space with my emergency road kit. I couldn’t even get a six-pack inside it.” He’d jumped out of the truck bed and was doing some sort of primitive bug repellent dance.
After I joined him on the ground, he closed the tailgate, and we ran to get into the cab. It wasn’t much better inside since we’d left the windows down. The bugs just followed us.
“Okay, we’re outta here.” He started the engine. “You want to come to my place? We can talk there.”
Jay on Kimmer's Erotic Book Banter wrote:
A great start and yah once I started reading I forgot about taking notes for my review as I do. Wes was on a mission to return a jacket. I loved the first meeting for Wes and Manny again setting eyes on each other again. What happens things kinda go wrong and Manny needed to make his apologies. They both find out their past prom had interference that stopped them from enjoying the night. I felt for them both when they finally get to talk about what happened.
A second chance romance with past hurts and feelings to work through. Different living locations for each to work out in the communications. A few scenes of forgiveness as life deals, poor John I was conflicted with this part.. Yah things ain't easy especially with Flippy and Manny's mother but they get through with a few dramas. Includes homophobia and bigotry.
Written with Wes POV and includes much more into the story and finishes with a HEA.
Wes 33 yrs was attending his high school reunion to return a jacket. Manny was once a high school boyfriend but it ended badly at prom night.
Jen on Dog-Eared Daydreams wrote:
The past is not always as it appears. Rash decisions, the innocence of youth, and bigotry create a fifteen-year separation that subconsciously holds on to those years. When Heart Becomes Home, by Pat Henshaw, addresses aged hurt and reveals truths, providing a second chance that transcends time.
The love Gordon Westerhouse (Wes) and Manuel Garcia (Manny) held for one another was shattered the night of their senior prom. Homophobia and bigotry prevented them from experiencing their rite of passage, resulting in years of heartbreak and stagnant living.
The class reunion reaffirms that the years after high school change the dynamics of a group and the lives of inexperienced youth.
The Fifteenth Shelby High School Reunion, for Wes, is a time to break the cycle and move on. He will return Manny’s letterman jacket that he took that fateful night and let go of Manny once and for all. However, Manny has a different plan. He needs to explain that night, make his apologies, and get his man back.
The weeklong get together provides an opportunity for Wes and Manny to talk out their past and reconnect with old friends and foes. The class reunion reaffirms that the years after high school change the dynamics of a group and the lives of inexperienced youth. The clicks that existed during those days have gained real life experience and closely guarded secrets are now out in the open. Albeit there is a small contingent who hang on to the “glory days” of their youth, for the most part there is a sense remorse and regret for past actions.
There is hurt, comfort, drama, and a slew of realities bestowed on the Shelby High School Reunion attendees that mimic life in general, with its good and not so good realities. A situation with Manny’s mother is tough to swallow, but then again bigotry always is. And “Flip” needs to just stop… you will find out what this is all about.
There is hurt, comfort, drama, and a slew of realities bestowed on the Shelby High School Reunion attendees that mimic life in general, with its good and not so good realities.
When Heart Becomes Home is Wes and Manny’s journey to happiness told from Wes’ perspective. Fifteen years of torment come full circle for Wes and Manny as they finally get the prom they should have had so many years ago. With trepidation they work through the events of their past to bring themselves to their happily-ever-after.
Kat on Love Bytes wrote:
Henshaw did a notable job with this story about first loves and second chances, and how love truly does win in the end. When Heart Becomes Homes receives four stars.
(See Dog-Eared Daydreams for the rest of the review!)
Do you ever wonder about the one that got away?
Manny has been on Wes’s mind for the last fifteen years. Every since Gordo, now called Wes, found Manny’s mud soaked letterman’s jacket when he got stood up for their date to the prom. Wes left the very next morning for college and never looked back. But here he is is at his High School reunion to finally give the boy his jacket back so he can finally get on with his life! But what happens when your high school love is standing right in front of you and trying to tell you what you thought was reality of that night isn’t the truth?
I loved this misfit group. I love how varied they all were but how fiercely protective of their band of nerds they each were. Wes had all his friends on his side as he moves forward with his plans to get rid of the old baggage of his life and move forward.
I can’t imagine what it would be like to meet up, discover the last 15 years had been a lie and then realize there was something still there that never died in either men. I did appreciate that the author didn’t have Wes immediately fall at Manny’s feet in mad love but that they had to learn to trust each other again. But, when the truths start emerging my heart hurt for all the wrongs that had happened to both boys at the hands of those that were suppose to love them completely.
I did have one part that bugged me. When Cee-Cee kept thanking her uncle it didn’t make sense. Manny was an only child. It would make more sense that she was a cousin or possibly second cousin but not her uncle.
Also, it was obvious that Teddy, Zack’s husband, didn’t go to high school with the rest of the team so how come he got to be a member of the team when actual alumni were set as alternates by the reunion trivia board? And what school anywhere in this country wouldn’t have ADA accommodations mandatory, especially in California?
All in all, even with these blunders, I liked this sweet story of second chance romance.