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I loved this book. A gorgeous second-chance-romance between a prickly single mother who doesn’t really believe in love, and the sweet, funny and sinfully sexy NHL player who unknowingly knocked her up.
This book can easily standalone, but fans of the series will know all about Zara Rossi, the feisty bartender and ex-hookup of Griffin Shipley who became the best friend of Griff’s fiancée, Audrey. Zara became pregnant earlier in the series but never told a soul who the father of her baby was. Now, little Nicole is 15 months old, and Zara gets the surprise of her life when the bronze-haired god who rocked her world two years ago unexpectedly shows up in her home town once again.
Dave Berringer is a professional hockey player (and crosses over from Bowen’s Brooklyn Bruisers series). Two years ago he was in Vermont on his summer break from hockey and he met spirited and prickly Zara. There was an instant attraction between them, and for one month they rocked each other’s worlds as Dave gave Zara what she didn’t know she’d been missing.
“You’re in charge of everything that happens inside these walls, and I’ll bet that gets old. I’m thinking you might like to hand over the reins once in a while. Let someone else take charge. Tonight that someone is gonna be me.”
Though they were all over each other, they never got too close, and at Zara’s insistence they never exchanged personal details or talked about their lives, and Dave was happy to take what he could get as he grew to care for his standoffish girl and experienced true intimacy for the first time in his life. Now he’s back in town for his summer break, and is secretly hoping to find his old hook-up once again, but he never expected to learn that he had a daughter.
This kind of setup can be hit or miss for me. While I love books with babies in them, the hidden pregnancy can be a book killer. Thankfully though, Zara went to great efforts to find Dave, but without personal details she couldn’t find him and resigned herself to single parenthood and the memory of their incredible month together. When Dave appears it shocks her to her core, but she wastes no time game playing or keeping secrets, she is up front about their daughter and sets up a fantastic dynamic for all that is to come.
Two weeks ago I’d driven to Vermont with very different ideas about how my vacation – and my life – were supposed to go.
This is a such a great relationship. It’s honest and realistic, with Zara and Dave awkwardly finding their way around each other as they navigate their situation. Their attraction still sizzles, but there is so much more for them to consider now, and though terrified, Dave throws himself into getting to know little Nicole, and the scenes with them together absolutely melted my heart (or exploded my ovaries… either way). He is gentle, patient and accepting, and while he’s there for Nicole, he’s also there for Zara as she battles with her feelings over their new situation, and I loved the way it all unfolded.
And the romance is gorgeous. It’s a bit of a slow burn, which I could understand given all that they were dealing with, but there’s a great blend of sweet, fun and deliciously sexy as they stumble their way through it.
“With you and me, it’s never just a kiss.”
But both of their pasts have left shadows over their ideas of family, and with Zara and Nicole in Vermont, and Dave based in New York and committed to travelling with his team, there isn’t an easy road ahead of them. There’s a lot of soul-searching to be done in order for them to figure out what it is they want and how to make it work.
Our past had left me wondering if there was such a thing as a happy family. And if chasing the illusion only made you into a sucker.
I loved this book. The love story is beautifully heartfelt with lots of sweet moments and plenty of hotness, and I could feel everything right alongside the characters. I loved the lack of unnecessary drama and game playing, and really appreciated the story of two people who are both scared of love but brave enough to try. The addition of the baby to the storyline is really well done, enhancing the characters and their relationship, and allowing for a lot of personal development for both of them. I could feel all of their interactions as they played out, and it was all so damn adorable!
“Let me love you tonight.”
The characters from the previous books all appear, and I loved that we got to see so much of Griff and Audrey. I also liked meeting the extended Rossi family, and seeing Zara’s brothers so uber-protective of her and Nicole. I sense a story there with Zara’s twin, Ben, and am hoping we may get a story for him in the future.
Another great read from this series. 4 stars.