So you have a hot one-night stand and the guy leaves town. Perfect, right? No awkwardness. No confusion about what it all means. But what if he comes back to town – not because of you…because he’s a nice guy who just wants to help a friend in need (not that kind of need, perv)? Intrigued?? You know you are, Faithful Reader. Let’s do this thing!
Jen Cooper and Sam Leavitt had a steamy one-night stand after Eagles Fest – the big shindig their hometown put on to save the high school football team. Sam lives in Texas but is back home to help out the team that helped him deal with an unpleasant childhood. But after team was safe, he went back to his real life. Since Jen is the guidance counselor at their old high school, she didn’t expect to see him again – and certainly not so soon!
When Sam gets a phone call asking him to come back to Stewart Mills to temporarily coach the football team, he isn’t sure. He’s never coached before and hasn’t worked with kids – other than during Eagles Fest. Plus, his mom still lives in town and their relationship is strained, at best. Eventually, he decides that going back is the best thing – he owes Coach and the town, he knows he should make an effort to improve things with his momm and if he happens to get to spend more time with Jen, that’s okay too.
When Jen hears Sam is coming back, she freaks out a little. It all seems so awkward – her two best friends are now engaged to his two best friends and the pairing off thing is too weird. Especially when she knows he is just in town temporarily. Jen is in Stewart Mills to stay. She has found her niche and doesn’t want to go anywhere else – which seems weird for someone in her early 30s…but I have a lot of high school friends exactly the same. Once they found a job (in the home area or near enough to commute), they were set…it never occurred to them they might want to move. And there is less in my hometown than in Stewart Mills. Anyhoo…
We all know how chemistry works, Faithful Reader. Throw two people with a history together enough and things will happen. Heh. Jen and Sam decide they can do a non-serious, low-key thing while he’s in town. They can totally have a casual relationship! Suuuuure they can. Along the way, Sam’s relationship with his mom does improve and he learns that he really does enjoy coaching and working with kids. I’m not sure that Jen has any big revelations, but she’s pretty self-aware, so that’s okay. I did get a little annoyed at her unwillingness to budge from her life, but, again, see my note about my high school pals…they’re the same. And she did figure some stuff out before it was completely too late.
Overall, this is a nice, quiet read. Comfortable and satisfying, especially for those who enjoy small-town romances. The town of Stewart Mills is more realistic than some out there in Romancelandia – a little more rundown and less cutesy. As a former small-town resident, may I say that they are seldom cutesy. It’s unfortunate.
So, does this book stand alone? I gotta say no…there’s too much that happened in the previous books (especially the first one) that set up everything in this one. Read them all, says me! Shannon Stacey is one of my favorite contemporary authors. I enjoy her voice and her characters. If you haven’t read anything by her, what are you waiting for??
They were the golden boys of fall: Stewart Mills High School’s legendary championship football team. Fourteen years later, they’re back to relive their glory, save the team—and find themselves again . . .
Sam Leavitt has returned home to Stewart Mills with one goal: to fill in for Coach McDonnell and lead the high school football team to the championship. He doesn’t have time for distractions or commitments—but he’s unable to resist falling for the sexy guidance counselor he shared a hot night with months ago.
Jen Cooper knows what she’s looking for long-term, and it’s not Sam—even though the night they shared was explosive. Now, with Sam back in town and working by her side, picking up where they left off is too great a temptation to resist. But before long their fun fling is looking like a future together. And as the championship approaches, Sam is faced with a big decision that will either break them apart—or help them find their way home.
Read an excerpt.