The Second Chance Romance Trope

By Stacy Finz

I love writing second chance stories. It’s probably one of my favorite tropes.

And in Holding On, the heroine, Joey Nix, needs a second chance probably more than any character I’ve ever written. She’s lost her husband in an ugly divorce, her child in a bitter custody battle, and her career because of lies she’s told. But most of all she’s lost herself. The story is about her journey to reclaim her life again.

I like the fact that she’s no angel, that many of her problems are of her own making. It shows she’s human and I think readers identify more with a real person who suffers the same trials the rest of us do. There’s no question Joey has made big mistakes. And now she’s forced to face the fallout from them. But she’s tough and resilient, yet vulnerable too.

That’s where Nugget comes in. Readers familiar with my small fictional town, tucked in California’s majestic Sierra Nevada, know that something about the place has healing powers. Maybe it’s the residents, who embrace troubled newcomers with rare empathy. Or perhaps it’s simply the breathtaking views.

Here, surrounded by supportive townspeople and new friends, Joey can begin her path to recovery.

I turned this book into my editor in July, right in the thick of the pandemic. I’d written much of it while sheltering at home and I can’t tell you how comforting it was to return to Nugget, my old stomping ground. Like Joey, I needed the townsfolk, the fresh air, tolerant neighbors, and good vibes. Something about a small-town romance makes everything feel right with the world, even when it isn’t.

I hope you enjoy Joey and Ryder’s story as much as I enjoyed writing it. It’s probably my last Nugget book for a while and saying goodbye was a little bitter-sweet. This was my first series and I’ve adored writing it. Every character–from Joey and Ryder to Maddy and Rhys–is a piece of my heart. And to me, Joey’s rising from the ashes was the perfect culmination.

In New York Times bestselling author Stacy Finz’s Nugget romance series, a picturesque California mountain town is the perfect place for fresh air—and fresh starts, especially when it comes to love.

One divorce, one mind-blowing kiss with a stranger (code name: Matthew McConaughey), and one year later, Joey Nix desperately needs to find a job in Nugget. It’s the only chance she’ll have of sharing custody of her sweet little daughter with her soon to be remarried, renowned surgeon ex-husband. Luckily, Joey’s qualified to work as an in-home caregiver. Coincidentally, a job offer comes from the afore mentioned unforgettably sexy stranger (real name: Ryder Knight). It’s a terrible, irresistible idea . . .

Ryder needs help with his ailing, depressed mother, and darn if Joey isn’t the best candidate. Good thing he’ll be sleeping in his camper, because their chemistry is still crackling. Besides, the loss of his wife and unborn child five years earlier have left Ryder squarely focused on his trucking company—and even that’s on shaky ground. Still, Joey knows how to lift his mom’s spirits. And his toodespite a troubling secret she’s shared with him. But when she asks him to accompany her to her ex’s wedding, Ryder “I don’t do weddings” Knight will have to do a lot of soul searching. What he discovers just might surprise them both . . .