Twice in a Lifetime by R.M. Neill

All of R.M. Neill's stories so far have been interconnected, and while this is book one of the new Sheltered Connections series, it's still connected to the Nickel City Bandits series... which I love!  You can easily start with this book and not be lost, but if you love a good hockey romance than you'll want to start reading the books in order... but I digress, so let's talk more about Twice in a Lifetime:

From the Blurb:

One is suffering through a fog of grief. The other crushing feelings of inadequacy.

Fate knew they needed each other.

For the longest time, I believed we get one shot at true love. A single person that sets our soul on fire. I had that with my wife until she died, then I was lost in a dark sea of grief. In need of companionship, I decided to adopt a dog.
What I found at the shelter was so much more. Micha, the volunteer, is insanely cute and ridiculously funny. He awakens feelings within me I never knew existed. Is it possible I may get a second chance at real love?

Love just isn’t in the cards for some people. And I’m among those unfortunate few destined to be alone. I trusted the wrong man with my heart once and had it shattered into a million pieces. I won’t make that mistake twice. Instead, I pour every ounce of my energy into building my business and trying to convince myself I’m not lonely.
But Dominic could be the one to tear down the walls I hide behind. He’s the most handsome man I ever met and unbelievably kind. I know he experienced a horrible loss. Is that what’s behind his attraction to me? Or has the connection between us led to his bisexual awakening?

Twice in a Lifetime is the first book in the Sheltered Connections Series. This book involves themes of hurt/comfort, bisexual awakening, and an age gap. Swoon-worthy moments, laugh-out-loud humor, and scorching chemistry make up this 70k word story. Oh, and don’t forget the cherry flavored icing.

Heather's Review:

"He's the perfect marriage of hard-working farmer body with sexy football player moves.  Bulky, yet graceful.  Sexy, but modest.  The one tiny problem?  He thinks I didn't notice he was checking me out."

So many feels!  I love the easy way that the bi-awakening trope is handled by the character who is bi. The hurt/comfort trope was so well done and was reciprocal, with both characters being able to support and build comfort and trust into the relationship, until of course the inevitable test... on top of that, you have yummy baked goods, fascinating friends, an adorable cat and lovable pup... This book is billed as an age gap, but other than a few offhand lines, I'd say that was truly a minor factor in the grand scheme of things, but unless you are looking strictly for an age gap book, you' won't miss it.

One of the things I love is that Twice in a Lifetime offers continuity from The Perfect Pass - spinning off and offering us a glimpse into both the human and animal shelters started by Logan and Austin, who are back for cameo appearances in this book...

Like RM's other books, Twice in a Lifetime offers a rich world for the characters to be in... the town, with it's coffee shop/bakery, fantastically named butcher and of course the lake to stroll around with the dog... I can't wait to see which side characters find their happily ever afters...  

If you love a grumpy/sunshine story with swoon worthy characters, cute animals and side characters with story potential, than add Twice in a Lifetime to your TBR right now!  The good news is it's available in KU!

Miki J's Review:

“Never dull your shine.  You’re more than enough…..”

This is a beautiful story.  Dominic is a grieving widower who meets Micha, who is distrustful of anything good happening to/for him.  Dominic is very laid back but feels very deeply.  And Micha is sweet and adorable and effervescent.  There is a great group of supporting characters and even though some of them already have their own books, didn’t affect the reading of this story.  I loved the way the story just flowed from how they meet, the initial attraction and how the relationship develops.  My heart nearly broke at the pinnacle of the story but it does end on HEA.