by Nicole Williams
The whole world might be in love with him. But all he’s ever loved is her.
Grant Turner’s name is synonymous with football. The fans and media can’t get enough of the player known as The Invincible Man, a nickname he earned while growing up in one of the toughest neighborhoods in the country and the nickname he’s kept by being one of the best players in professional football today. No one can take him down. He’s unstoppable.
But even a suit of armor has its weak point, and Grant’s has always been Ryan Hale.
They were a couple of kids when they fell in love, and just when it looked like the happy ending neither expected was within reach, Ryan disappeared. No explanations. No good-byes.
Grant coped by throwing himself into the game for seven years, and he’s finally moved on. Or so he thinks.
When she walks back into his life, all of those feelings come crashing back, despite the warnings in his head that tell him she’ll leave him again. Grant can withstand the league’s toughest defensive line, but he’s always been weak where she’s concerned.
No man can take Grant Turner down.
But one woman certainly can.
One woman will.
4 emotional and romantic second-chance stars
Wow, Nicole Williams surprised me with this one! I went in not knowing much but expecting a sports romance book, but what she delivers is a beautifully written, deeply emotional and dramatic story with a heartfelt and swoony second-chance romance. It captured my heart from the very first page, and I absolutely loved it!
“How do you go and fall in love with someone new when you left your heart with someone else?”
Ryan Hale is returning to the town she left 7 years ago. She ran away at only 17 years old, and hasn’t been in contact with anybody from her early life since that time. She is back to pay her respects to the woman who provided a safe haven to her and numerous other kids who grew up in her dangerous neighbourhood, and she’s back to see the boy she loved for her whole life and left behind, Grant Turner.
Grant and Ryan were each other’s whole worlds. They clung to each other in their dismal circumstances and after Ryan left, Grant survived his broken heart and went on on to become one of the most successful and celebrated football stars in the country. He never forgot the girl who stole his heart when they met as children, but he is still hurt and incredibly angry at her desertion.
I’d assumed he’d buried what had happened between us in some unmarked grave and forgotten about it and me years ago. I’d come prepared to remind him of who I was and then bridge the reason why I was back, but I had not come prepared to take on a scorned lover. I’d come equipped to explain myself, not to defend myself, but from the look on his face just now, I’d have to do both.
Ryan and Grant’s reunion is an emotional one. You can see that they both still care very deeply for each other, but there is a lot of pain there. Ryan’s reason for leaving was actually an understandable one, and I could sympathise with what she went through, but it’s her reason for returning that drives the story and whoa, my heart! I sort of guessed what was going on, but it still hits you with an emotional punch, and I couldn’t put my kindle down as all was revealed.
And as all of the drama unfolds, Grant decides that he’s not prepared to let Ryan go for a second time and he puts his heart on the line, determined to fight for the girl that has always owned his heart.
“I fell for you forever ago and there’s nothing you’ve done since that moment that has changed that. There’s nothing you could do to change that. When a person falls, they don’t just get up, dust themselves off, and keep going. If they fell right, if they fell good and hard the first time, there’s no getting up from that fall because they landed right where they were supposed to be.”
OMG, Grant! The man is pure, swoony perfection! Seriously, his only possible fault is that he’s too forgiving (I would have been angry at Ryan just a little bit longer), so he’s clearly a better person than I am. He’s strong, sweet, possessive and protective with a wonderfully dry sense of humour. He loves with his whole heart and he’s not afraid to put his feelings out there, and the way he holds nothing back from Ryan, pouring his heart out to her, had me melting into a puddle of goo on the floor!
“You changed me forever the moment you said those three words to me, and it’s because of those words I’m the man I am today, standing in front of you. I’m who I am because you loved me.”
His body was growing tenser with each word, his eyes spilling over with emotion. I didn’t think he blinked once.
“I’ve been close to you for the past fourteen years of my life, even when I never saw your face for half of those years. I’ve been in love with you those same fourteen years, and I will die still being in love with you, Ryan Hale … So don’t treat me like my love’s some kind of light switch I can switch on or off depending on my mood. Because my love’s like the goddamned sun. It never goes out.”
But as much as these two love each other, there is so much standing in their way. They have a lot they need to work through, and watching them stand strong while dealing with it all was absolutely beautiful! And it’s not all a drama-fest – there are lots of gorgeously sweet and funny moments, a nice amount of hotness and lots that made me smile. But it’s the romance that drives the story, and… wow.
“I’d rather have one day with you than an eternity with anyone else.”
I lost myself in this story. It gripped hold of me from the very beginning and I read with a pounding heart, and my emotions in full swing all the way through. I honestly didn’t know how it was all going to work out, but I loved every moment watching it all happen, and I felt everything right along with Ryan and Grant. I was completely swept up in their romance – sweet, sexy, passionate and functional, these two are wonderful together – and I loved their love story.
Nicole Williams has written a beautifully romantic, emotional story. Don’t go looking for spoilers, just dive in and let in unfold and lose yourself in these characters and their second chance at true love.
“You are half my soul … The best part of it.”
Beautiful. 4 stars.
ARC generously provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.
About the Author
Nicole Williams is the New York Times and USATODAY bestselling author of contemporary and young adult romance, including the Crash and Lost & Found series. Her books have been published by HarperTeen and Simon & Schuster in both domestic and foreign markets, while she continues to self-publish additional titles. She is working on a new YA series with Crown Books (a division of Random House) as well. She loves romance, from the sweet to the steamy, and writes stories about characters in search of their happily even after. She grew up surrounded by books and plans on writing until the day she dies, even if it’s just for her own personal enjoyment. She still buys paperbacks because she’s all nostalgic like that, but her kindle never goes neglected for too long. When not writing, she spends her time with her husband and daughter, and whatever time’s left over she’s forced to fit too many hobbies into too little time.
Nicole is represented by Jane Dystel, of Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency.