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If You Love Something | Jayce Ellis | Book Review

If You Love Something is a second chance romance featuring DeShawn, a popular chef, and Malik, his ex-husband. Or at least it was believed that Malik was his ex-husband until a phone call from DeShawn’s grandmother changes everything. The divorce never finalized and after seven years they are back in each other’s orbit again. Together, they are forced to play nice and pretend to have reconciled in order to help ensure DeShawn’s grandmother’s will is carried out exactly how she wrote it.

When DeShawn and Malik were first married they were young and very much in love. DeShawn’s career was just getting started and Malik was not fully out as gay. The reason for their separation is a little murky but cane down to the fear of holding each other back. Now in present day, DeShawn has found his place as an executive chef and local celebrity. Malik returned to his family and is the accountant for the family restaurant Franklin’s. He has come out as openly gay but neither he nor DeShawn have revealed anything about their marriage. Both characters have buried their feelings about each other and their marriage as a whole.

This reunion is such a slow burn. Neither DeShawn or Malik want to be the one to break first. With all the unresolved feelings, they have alot to work through. Each character gets their own time to heal and move forward. Neither pushes the other to forget and forgive. DeShawn and Malik have chemistry that jumps off the page. There is so much tension between them that needs to be worked through. And so much emotion. These characters felt so human because they were trying to figure out this relationship while also dealing with complications from their families.

In many ways, DeShawn’s grandmother was the driving force behind these two men trying to figure things out. She has been diagnosed with cancer and is refusing treatment. She has also recently changed her will to include Malik as well as DeShawn. She and Malik have remained close even after the separation and it is her that can see past all the bluster both of them put up. I loved the way she would call them out.

Malik’s family is visibly shocked to find out that he had been married…and not only married but to a local celebrity. DeShawn’s status in society provides a boost for Franklin’s restaurant especially as he starts to get more involved. Being involved in a small family restaurant reminds DeShawn of his passion for simple cooking and his love for soul food. Having him around also helps Malik heal parts of his fractured family. All of the moments in Franklin’s really made me want to be able to go visit it.

If You Love Something kept me engaged from beginning to end. The characters are likeable and easy to for. I felt their love for each other and wanted them to succeed. I also enjoyed the culture aspects of two Black men and their families living in a large city. Plus there are two adorable dogs! If you are looking for a sweet queer second chance romance, I would definitely recommend this one to you.

Rating: 4 Stars

**I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

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