Just a Heartbeat Away (Forever Yours #1) by Cara Bastone

“Neglect. The word was out of the jar and it was so big, looming and leering, that he knew he’d never get it back in.

Plot Summary

Newly widowed dad Sebastian Dorner was unraveling at the edges—until his son’s teacher, Via DeRosa, threw him a lifeline. Now, two years later, they reconnect at Matty’s new school, and an inconvenient but unmistakable jolt of attraction crackles between them. But why does the first person to spark with Sebastian in years have to be a millennial? Is twentysomething Via really too young for him or does fortysomething Sebastian just feel too damn old?

A former foster kid, Via’s finally forged the stable life she’s always dreamed of—new job, steady income, no drama. The last thing she needs are rumors about her and a single dad at school. But why does she keep being drawn into his capable, worn-flannel orbit? And why does being around Sebastian, Matty and even their dog, Crabby, seem to spark so much want?

They’re trying to ignore the tension threatening their friendship. But sometimes what’ll heal you is just a touch—and a heartbeat—away…

Trigger Warnings: Loss and Grief/ Explicit sexual scenes

Spoilers: Please note that my review might contain spoilers!

My Review

Slow-burn contemporary romances are in my high demand and this was a very sweet story with just one negative point for me. 

Sebastian (Matty’s father) and Via’s first meeting is when Via’s Matty preschool teacher. Sebastian had recently lost his wife in a car accident and was in a deep state of grief. He was completely lost and couldn’t handle his loss and his son.

Her soft, quiet voice was soothing, sure. But even silk sheets could scrape a sunburn. Sebastian was too raw for this. He was too nothing. Too nowhere. Too no one.

Via alerts Sebastian that Matty’s suffering a bit of neglect from his parents; he wasn’t bringing lunch, was badly dressed for the weather, among other things. Via was a foster child. She lost her parents when she was really young and went to foster care so, instead of just alerting Sebastian, she actually made a list of things Sebastian was supposed to make for his son and Sebastian followed that list intently. It helped him sort his life and his son’s education.

Then we travel two years forward, when Via and Sebastian see each other again. Sebastian is very attracted to Via but two things stop him from pursuing his interest for her: she has a boyfriend and she’s very young for him. He’s 42 and she’s 27 years old.

She felt like her feelings for Seb were the size of a soccer ball, lodged between her lungs and trying to suck everything right in.

The actual romance is very lacking in this book. They actually just kiss at about 70% of the story. For me this was more of a beautiful story about the recovery of a grieving father and his close relationship with his six-year-old son. 

It’s a sweet and peaceful story, with an extremely slow-burn romance with some steamy sexual scenes in the end.

Highlight Moments

– Via handing the list to Sebastian

– Via’s reunion with Matty

– Via’s realizing Seb is actually a very handsome man

– When Via helps a sick Sebastian with his son

– Tyler advising Sebastian to pursue Via despite the age gap


She was attracted to pretty men. And Sebastian was definitely…not pretty. His features were blunt and wide, almost plain, except for those light gray eyes. Even with his short, trimmed hair, he looked vaguely mountain mannish.

“Lion among the flamingos.”

God, I feel so much shame for it. She died and I became a better man. It makes me sick with myself. I’m such a bastard. Why did it take that for me to be who I am now? Why couldn’t I have done that when she was here?”

PLOT: ★★★

Did you like this book?

Forever Yours Series

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