REVIEW: Any Man of Mine by Rachel GibsonMonday, April 25, 2011 1:00
Rachel Gibson’s Any Man of Mine returns us to the world of the Seattle Chinooks. This time around we get to see Sam LeClaire find his happily ever after and it comes from a completely unexpected direction.
Sam is enjoying his life. The Chinooks are still riding high on the previous season’s Stanley Cup win. Sam has accomplished everything he ever set out to do in his professional life. His personal life is just the way he likes it – no special lady friend but plenty of female company whenever he wants it. The last person he expects to see at a former teammate’s wedding to the owner of the Chinooks is his ex-wife. And his ex-wife is not a fan of his.
Autumn Haven is an event planner. She is in charge of keeping the wedding of Ty Savage and Faith Duffy running smoothly and does not need the distraction of dealing with her ex-husband. Autumn needs this high-profile wedding to be as successful as possible so her business can get more notice. Economic times are hard and every bit of good publicity is extremely welcome.
Sam and Autumn haven’t seen each other for almost two years…and the last time they were in the same room they had a horrible argument that was witnessed by their three-year-old son, Connor. After that, they decided it was best to avoid each other and Autumn worked very hard to let go of her anger toward Sam. And had been mostly successful, but Sam hasn’t made it easy…especially because of his tendency to cancel plans with Connor at the last minute to go do things with friends.
The fancy wedding, complete with happy bride and groom surrounded by family and friends, could not be further from the drunken Vegas wedding that topped off Sam and Autumn’s week-long fling. Cooler heads prevailed one day too late, when Sam woke up to a ring on his finger and panic in his stomach – he bailed on Autumn and she was served with divorce papers almost before the ink on the wedding license was dry.
Seeing Autumn again makes Sam take a long, hard look at his life. And he isn’t thrilled with what he sees. He recognizes that he has not been a good father to his son – too often his assistants do the picking up and dropping off or serve as babysitters while he is out with his friends, if he doesn’t cancel plans completely. So Sam decides to try to do better – be more responsible, be a better father and maybe get Autumn out of his system, finally. Or keep her in his system forever.
Autumn was heartbroken when Sam abandoned her after the wedding and devastated again when he wasn’t interested in being a parent to their son. His behavior since then has not given her reason to see him as anything but a spoiled jock, so she is understandably skeptical when she learns of Sam’s plan. Still, she wants her son to have his father in his life, so she agrees to try to help Sam and Connor have a better relationship. But she’s been burned by Sam one too many times. How can she get past that? Even if the attraction between them flares again, how can she trust him with her heart when he’s already broken it?
Sam is determined though – and, really, is there anything more attractive than a man who wants to do the right thing and be a grown-up? Even if he doesn’t manage it one hundred percent of the time, he’s making the big effort and succeeding more often than not. And he still stays true to his playful (okay, sometimes self-centered and immature) character, even as he becomes more responsible. Adult does not mean boring stick-in-the-mud – Sam shows us that. And shows Autumn too.
A point in Ms. Gibson’s favor is that even though Autumn is bitter at times, she isn’t mean-spirited toward Sam – just wary and sad. If she had started out as a bitter hissing crone and then got all lovey-dovey at the end, I would have been annoyed. Another good thing, Connor is never used as a weapon between Sam and Autumn – and the impression is that he never has been. I’m not against having kids in books, as I know some are, but if they are in the story – especially in a contemporary – I want them to be treated properly, and Connor is.
Can this book stand alone? I say yes, but why not read the whole series? You know you want to. Is it my favorite of the series? No – See Jane Score will always have that honor, I think (two words, faithful reader: horseshoe tattoo…that’s all I’m sayin’). However, Any Man of Mine is the best of the recent entries in the Chinook series. The characters deal with issues lots of regular real people deal with every day and still manage to get their happily ever after…what more can anyone ask?
WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS . . .
DOESN’T ALWAYS STAY THERE.
Autumn Haven’s Las Vegas “to-do” list said to catch a show and play the slots—not wake up married to a sexy jerk like Sam Leclaire. The first moment she saw him eyeing her like a luscious piece of the dessert buffet, her usually responsible self told her run. And she did—right into the wildest fantasy weekend of her life. But Monday morning jolted her back to reality and before she could say “pass the coffee” Sam was gone.
Now a successful wedding planner, Autumn she hasn’t clapped eyes on the heart-breaking hockey superstar for over two years… until she organizes his teammate’s “Special Day,” where Sam makes a BIG play to pick up he left off! But she has vowed any man of hers plays for keeps. Is Sam the man for her or does she banish him to the sin bin forever?
Read an excerpt.