Kelly Jamieson is another new-to-me author I decided to try because I liked the cover of this book and then the blurb. I’m happy to say I thoroughly enjoyed this story, enough to check out Ms. Jamieson’s backlist for more enjoyment down the road.
Drew Sellers is a well-known hockey player and has just retired from the sport, due to a knee injury. He’s at loose ends, not expecting his career to be over in a flash. Hockey is all he’s ever known. In another flash, in the middle of drinking and doing nothing at all, his life changes once again when he comes face to face with a one-night stand from years before telling him he has a daughter. I really like Drew. When he learns about his daughter, he does try to do the right thing. He cleans up his act and sets out to meet her, nervous as can be. At the last minute, he changes his mind, has doubts and all that goes with it when faced with such a huge and dramatic change in life.
It’s Peyton’s neice who is Drew’s daughter, and Peyton will do anything to help Sara and Chloe through Sara’s devastating health issues. She’s skeptical that Drew will or want to deal with Chloe, especially since his own future is so up in the air. Despite this, these two are attracted to one another. There was never any more between Sara and Drew, other than that one night twelve years before, but it still makes for a bit of an uncomfortable place for them with Sara in the mix. Peyton also has her own issues – she’s on leave from her career in New York and her boss is after her to get back from Illinois and get to work.
There are so many emotional tangles in this book. The one that pulled my heartstrings the most is young Chloe being forced to deal with losing her mother. She’s on the cusp of young adulthood, and while Aunt Peyton will be there for her, there will still be a huge hole in her life and heart. Getting to know her father has its ups and downs, but once he passes her tests, Chloe will eventually have some peace. Drew and Peyton hold on to their thinly veiled compulsion to act on their attraction out of respect for Sara. I’m usually not one for sexual tension being drawn out in romance anymore, but it’s done well here and for the right reasons. Of course, tears will rain when it’s time to say goodbye, in more ways than one for these characters.
Ms. Jamieson does a splendid job of investing the reader in her characters right off the bat. Every one of them is very likable and quite sympathetic; they’re all going through such a trial while life keeps throwing anything and everything at them. They stumble, but they never fall. They keep going, they stay strong, and they keep on loving. Your heart will break and then soar several times over while reading their story.
Happily ever afters aren’t just for fairy tales. In this heartfelt novel, a retired athlete must become a father to the daughter he never knew—just as he discovers the power of love with a woman who reignites his passions.
Drew Sellers is drowning in broken dreams and empty beer bottles. Hockey was his world, until a bum knee reduced him from superstar to has-been. Then he learns that, thanks to a one-night-stand back in college, he’s the father of a preteen girl with major issues. Her protective aunt sees right through Drew’s BS, but “Auntie P” is no stereotypical spinster. With her slender curves, toned legs, and luscious lips, she has Drew indulging in fantasies that aren’t exactly family-friendly.
At another point in her life, Peyton Watt would have been all over a cocky alpha male who pushes all her buttons like Drew. Right now, though, she needs to focus on taking care of her niece during her sister’s health crisis, all while holding down a job and keeping her own head above water. Besides, Drew’s clearly no father of the year. He’s unemployed. He drinks too much. And he’s living in the past. But after Peyton gets a glimpse of the genuine man behind his tough-guy façade, she’s hooked—and there’s no going back.
No excerpt available.