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Lifers by Jane Harvey-Berrick

After eight years in prison, twenty-four year old Jordan Kane is the man everyone loves to hate.

Forced to return to his hometown while on parole, Jordan soon learns that this small town hasn't changed since he was carted off to juvie all those years ago. He is the local pariah, shunned by everyone, including his own parents. But their hatred of him doesn't even come close to the loathing he feels every time he looks in the mirror.

Working odd jobs for the preacher lady, Jordan bides his time before he can leave this backwards town. But can distance erase the memories that haunt him? Trapped in the prison of his own mind Jordan wonders if the pain of living will ever subside?

Torrey Delaney is new in town and certainly doesn't behave in a way the locals believe a preacher’s daughter should. Her reputation for casual hook-ups and meaningless sex is the talk of the town. Add that to her budding friendship with the hardened ex-con handyman, and the good Reverend is less than thrilled with her estranged daughter’s path.

As friendship forms, is it possible for two damaged people who are afraid to love take their relationship to the next level? Can Torrey live with Jordan’s demons, and can Jordan break through Torrey's walls? With the disapproval of a small town weighing heavily on them, will they find their place in the world? Can they struggle against the odds, or will their world be viciously shattered?
Is love a life sentence?

Due to scenes of a sexual nature, not recommended for under 18.

3.75-4 Stars

“I think,” I said slowly, “that meeting you has been the best thing that’s ever happened to me.” ~ Jordan 

As soon as Ms. Harvey-Berrick asked me to read her upcoming release, there was no way I was going to turn her down. I love this author’s writing. Her stories are amazing and the synopsis for this book immediately had me intrigued. 
I’m a big fan of second chances, especially if those characters deserve it. In this story, Jordan Kane definitely deserves it. He’s been incarcerated for the past eight years. His crime: The accidental killing of his brother Michael. Forced to serve his parole in his hometown, Jordan has no choice but to endure the harsh treatment the townsfolk is bestowing on him – even calling him a murderer without any hesitation. The only persons speaking to him without curses were the Reverend Meredith Williams and her daughter Torrey Delaney. 

…a woman like that got me imagining all kinds of things. 

Along Jordan, Torrey was the other talk of the town. She’s known as the Rev’s wild daughter; promiscuous and unapologetic. When she first meets Jordan, she doesn’t understand why people are treating him so cruelly. She ignores their actions and decides to show him kindness. When she finds out about his past, she has a tough time believing that this shy, polite and handsome man could be a murderer. She knew there was more to it than that.

I couldn’t do the math. The sweet, shy guy I’d met on two occasions just didn’t fit with the image of a violent criminal that mom was painting. Something was off, but I had no clue what it was. I mean, I could see he was a big, strong guy with abs like a washboard, but he just didn’t seem the aggressive type. The only vibe I’d got from him was that he was lonely. 

Torrey & Jordan start to form a friendship, though very reluctantly on Jordan’s part; he doesn’t want to bring Torrey into his already fucked up life. However Torrey is pretty persistent in her perusal of getting to know more about Jordan. Their friendship is constantly scrutinized by their community and especially from Torrey’s pastor mother. But nothing gets in their way and soon they find themselves falling for one another. 

“You know what your problem is? You’ve turned Mikey’s death into a life sentence – for all of you – for Paul, for Jordan. You turned them into lifers. That’s what you’re doing here – and that’s what you want for Jordan. But I’m not going to let it happen. I’m not going to let him suffer anymore. What you do with your lives is up to you, but Jordan deserves better than that. And I’ll spend the rest of my life with him, making sure he knows he’s loved – and that’s he’s forgiven.” 

Jordan’s character made me unbelievably sad at times. His belief that his brother’s death was completely his fault, lead him to believe that any punishment is justifiable: His alienation from his parents, the cruelty of community and a lifetime of loneliness. It wasn’t until Torrey started to break through his walls that he started to imagine a more different life. 
This was such a moving story. I loved the relationship between Torrey and Jordan – they just seem to get one another. It was a bit slow moving at times, but once Jordan started to open up a little more, it moved at a better pace. There wasn’t a lot of steam, but that was okay. I just wanted Jordan happy again. 

**ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review**

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