Things We Left Behind by Lucy Score is the third installment in her Knockmeout series, which centers on Lucian Rollins and Sloane Walton. If you’ve read the other two books in the series, these names should be familiar.
Sloane Walton is the town librarian and friends with Naomi, Lina, Knox, and Nash. Though Knox and Nash’s friend Lucian has been on her shit list for years and no one knows why. In the story, Sloane is experiencing grief as she’s lost her father to cancer, and is trying to come to terms with him being gone. In that, she realizes that she wants to get married and have kids, but is also not getting any younger. In her mourning, she’s forced to interface with Lucian often, which seemingly does more harm than good.
Lucian Rollins aka Suit Daddy is known for being Lucian Rollins, and is Knox and Nash’s friend. Always clad in expensive suits and jackets, Lucian is a man of power. He seemingly lurks in the background but can get things done faster than normal people. It’s unclear at first what he does to grant him such power, but with great power comes a ton of cash – the dude is rich. Though he’s known for being a man of few words, he’s a man of action as he regularly does things for the people he loves – whether they know it’s him or not. His tumultuous past is also revealed, which shines light on his relationship with Sloane, but also with himself, and more importantly, what happened between them that drove them to become enemies.
A lot of the story has Lucian and Sloane bickering and while they allegedly hate each other, Lucian does not want to let her out of his sight. Lucian and Sloane grew up together as they were neighbors. While Lucian was the popular athlete, Sloane was the cute nerd. They technically were not supposed to even talk to each other but after Lucian climbed into Sloane’s bedroom one night, they became close friends, and an adoptive member of the Walton family.
Grief is threaded throughout Lucian and Sloane’s story, as they are both connected to Sloane’s dad. However, there is a different type of grief and acceptance that both of them experience – grief of their old selves and acceptance of the new. In the wake of her grief from losing her father, Sloane wants to turn her life around to focus on family. While she doesn’t want to sacrifice the career she’s built, she realizes time is fleeting and life is short. For Lucian, his grief is heavier as he’s forced to shed the “villain” persona he sees himself as in order to become the man he thinks Sloane deserves. It’s clear that through his actions, he’s not exactly a villain and that the majority of the things he does are out of love.
Overall, Things We Left Behind is my favorite of the trilogy. There’s something about those minor characters getting their time in the spotlight that does it for me. Lucian was an interesting character since his first appearance in Things We Never Got Over, so I was beyond excited for his story. That, and Sloane is a badass and deserved her time in the spotlight. I loved seeing Lucian soften for Sloane and essentially do a 180 compared to how we met him in the first book. Like the other books, this is also a slow burn which means you gotta wait a while before things heat up but when they do, it’s definitely satisfying.
Things We Left Behind is a thick one, like the first two, but with good reason as there’s a lot to dive into Lucian and Sloane’s past, and we get an ending to the Anthony Hugo saga. That said, I give this one five stars for the hot spicy times, and for finally getting Lucian and Sloane together and not bickering.