Things We Left Behind by Lucy Score

Have you ever been pulled to a series’ supporting cast more often than the main characters when reading it? This is me with Lucian and Sloane from Things We Left Behind by Lucy Score. I swear to you, when I looked back at all the passages from the first two novels on my Kindle that I had marked, they were all exchanges between Sloane and Lucian!

Their tale jumped off the page for two whole books, so I was overjoyed when I finally got my greedy little paws on it the day it was live on Kindle Unlimited. And I can assure you that it did not let me down.

Things We Left Behind FINALLY explores the intriguing backstory of the perplexing relationship between the ferocious and diminutive librarian Sloane—a main character of Knockemout—and the dark and enigmatic Lucian Rollings, Knox and Nash’s childhood best friend from the first two volumes.

It would be an understatement to say that they still don’t get along and hate each other, even after two decades, to say that there was some sort of epic falling out between Sloane and Lucian in the earlier volumes of the series. It’s perhaps one of the most believable novels I’ve ever read about enemies of the heart and second chances for romance!

The thick book opens with Sloane feeling a little lost. Her father has recently passed away, and she’s thinking about starting a family of her own and lamenting that she didn’t have the opportunity to do it sooner while her dad was still around to witness it.

Enter Lucian, who appears everywhere she goes and has an enigmatic relationship with her parents. She sees him during her father’s burial while they stay at his family’s old house next door and at every get-together, she tries to go to with her friends.

It’s as if the cosmos is forcing them together, igniting the flames of their anger for one another—that fine line between hate and love! Naturally, their intense passion turns to hate at some point, and they believe that one close encounter will let them both come to terms with one another.

This is NOT the situation in the classic romance story manner! The story, which alternates between Sloane and Lucian’s points of view, shows how slowly but surely each falls in love with the other while putting up a valiant fight for hundreds of pages. It may sound painful, but for fans of this cliché, it’s the chef’s kiss.

There is a gradual release of flashbacks detailing events from their high school years as Sloane and Lucian attempt to manage their mature relationship.

Even if there had been hints of it in the earlier volumes, having the entire lovely and sordid story presented in great detail alongside their confident, adult selves is still very impactful. I was sorry for both young Sloane and Lucian, who were only misguided but well-intentioned kids when they wounded each other.

We get a lot of back and forth and hot and cold between Sloane and Lucian because the book’s halfway point explores their potential relationship. That was great because it was more of a quick burn at first (well, if you include all of their side interactions in the first two novels, you could call it a slow burn!) and then an examination of their difficulties leading up to their HEA.

Although I haven’t seen this particular format utilized in many romance books, it worked well for this pair because of their lengthy history. The third-act split didn’t really irritate me because I felt like I had plenty of time to explore them together before, and it made sense, given the circumstances, the plot, and the characters’ characteristics.

In addition, the plot completes the circle of the mystery/romantic suspense components that have run throughout the whole series, which, to be honest, was far more relevant than the mystery in the first two books.

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