For the last eight years, Lieutenant David Sterling has lived with the guilt of losing one of his soldiers in an ambush in Afghanistan. So when the opportunity presents itself, he jumps at the chance to help the beautiful widow coach her nephew's football team. But keeping things strictly professional between them is harder than he expected. And even though he knows a relationship with Maddie will only lead to heartbreak, he can't help falling for her.
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Coach Maddie and the Marine
By Blaire Edens, Allison Collins, Candace Havens
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2015 Blaire Edens
All rights reserved.
Maddie Westerfield was a fraud.
At least she felt like one. She'd graduated from lying to herself to lying to a client.
"You have to move on, Julie. I know you loved him with all your heart, but he's been gone nearly a year. It's time to begin your life again." She balanced her cell phone between her ear and shoulder. "You're young; someone will come along someday and you'll remember what it feels like to fall in love again."
Ever since that day eight years ago, when the two marines in Dress Blues had knocked on the front door and told her that her husband, Frank, had been killed in combat, she'd told herself the same thing — that another love would come along and expand her heart again. So much for that. Becoming a grief counselor had done little to ease her own private pain.
By the time Julie was calm enough for her to disconnect, her ear was sweaty and her nerves were shot.
She took a deep breath and leaned back in her leather chair, taking a minute to appreciate the serenity of her home office. The walls were painted soft lavender, and the desk was last year's birthday present from her sister, Callie — a thrift-store find refinished in a crisp white. Flower prints in matching distressed frames dotted the walls. The office had the overall feel of a cozy English cottage and she loved it.
A glance at the clock opposite her desk startled her back to the present. Seven thirty? Could that be right?
She'd done it again — gotten so involved with her work that she'd forgotten the time. Forgotten that a child needs a balanced dinner, preferably a warm one.
"Andrew," she called to her nephew as she hurried down the hall toward the den. "Are you okay? Andrew?" Her voice cracked. She didn't hear any of the sounds that usually went with an eight-year-old boy: the revving of imaginary car engines, the rhythmic bounce of a ball, an ongoing sports commentary. The house was quiet. Too quiet.
Andrew wasn't in the den. Or the kitchen. His room was empty.
She shoved her feet into the flip-flops by the back door, and flew out the kitchen door and down the concrete steps into the backyard.
"Andrew," she yelled, hoping he'd just thrown a ball into a neighbor's yard and would hear her calling to him. The street was quiet, with only the occasional squawk of a bird, and in the far background the bass drum of artillery guns firing practice rounds at nearby Camp Wilson.
She glanced at the small shed in the corner of the backyard. Andrew's bike was always propped up against the side of the shed. Missing.
Her heart plummeted, switched places with her stomach — the same sickening feeling she always got at the top of a tall hill on a roller coaster. Thread-like tentacles of fear prickled and crawled across the crown of her head.
She could cover the neighborhood faster on her bike so she took it from the shed. Pedaling fast through the grass, she hit the sidewalk and raced to the street. The asphalt shimmered with the late summer heat. The air, heavy with humidity — a hazard of central North Carolina in the summer — had the viscosity of motor oil and her lungs had to work to drag the oxygen out of it.
She turned left, automatically headed toward Andrew's best friend's house.
"Andrew, Andrew!" She heard the raw desperation in her own voice. She told herself to stay calm. Not to overreact.
It was difficult to yell the boy's name, search the area, and manage to keep the bike from crashing. As she neared the tidy 1950s brick ranch, there was no sign of the boys. No discarded bikes in the grass, or any sports detritus.
She skidded to a stop and ran up the walkway to the front door. She pressed the doorbell and then immediately banged on the etched glass. No sounds came from the inside of the house. No footsteps, not even the clicking of dog's paws across the hardwood floors. She walked to the garage and peeked through the dusty glass.
Empty. Damn. Where is Andrew?
Swallowing a growing lump of panic, Maddie hopped astride the bike and pumped the pedals hard in the direction of her house. Her thighs burning with exertion, she tried to formulate a plan.
She would call all his friends first. No, she would get in the car and drive through the neighborhood first. Surely he'd just gone to a friend's house. Maybe he'd shouted to tell her while she was working on the phone and she just didn't hear. She had a list of phone numbers somewhere. Callie put the list in alphabetical order and laminated it before she left. Where was the list?
When she reached the house, she jumped off the bike while it was still moving and rushed through the back door. Keys in one hand, cell phone in the other, she used her pinky finger to open the drawer by the phone. In the very bottom, she found the laminated sheet.
Just as she dialed the first number, the doorbell rang.
"Oh my God, something's happened to him," she murmured.
As soon as she said it, she realized how irrational the assumption was.
But, unfortunately, her head couldn't convince her heart. It was pounding in alarm.
She wanted to race through the house to the front door, but her legs wouldn't move. Paralyzed. Frozen. She looked at her feet, clad in flip-flops worn smooth from all the walks to the library and the post office. Walks she'd taken with Andrew. Her heart contracted like a vise — she'd been here before.
The doorbell rang again. Prosaic tones she'd heard hundreds of times. A chill ran through her.
It couldn't be good news. All her friends used the side entrance and entered the house through the kitchen.
Maybe it was just a kid selling magazines. Although, in truth, it had been years since kids sold school fundraisers door to door.
She willed her legs to move, taking one step, then another until she reached the front door, bracing for the uniform on the other side. This time it would likely be law enforcement instead of the Corps. The royal blue of the Springdale Police instead of the dark navy of the United States Marine Corps.
Oh my God, I can't do this again.
She placed her hand on the cool brass doorknob and took a deep breath to calm down. In. Out. She opened the door.
It wasn't the Springdale Police. It was a marine. Only he wasn't in uniform. He wore a faded gray T-shirt with Semper Fi emblazoned across the chest, and black running shorts, and had one arm draped around Andrew.
Relief washed through her, soaking into every cell of her body. She was torn between the need to cry and the desire to laugh hysterically. She struggled to get her feelings in check, not wanting a total stranger to glimpse the raw emotion just below the surface.
"Ma'am?" he asked in a deep, bass voice. "I'm Lieutenant David Sterling. I met Andrew at the track just before I started my run and I followed him home on his bike."
The name hit her like a Mack truck.
She took a deep breath, but it felt like she was breathing through a blanket.
Lieutenant Sterling. Frank's commanding officer. He'd been with him when he was killed. It couldn't be. Surely there was more than one Sterling in the Marine Corps. Fate wouldn't do that to her.
She forced her mind back to the present. She continuously looked for a link to the past, a way to make sense of Frank's death. There was no reason to think this was the same man. What were the odds? Even if Sterling wasn't a common surname, surely there was more than one in the Marine Corps.
She was lying to herself but couldn't seem to stop.
If she weren't flooded with adrenaline and relief, she might be able to think more clearly. Her hands shook and she tucked them into the pockets of her shorts.
Andrew shuffled his feet and looked down at the floor of the porch.
She bent so that she was eye to eye with the child, lifted his chin with her palm and said, "Where have you been? It's after eight o'clock." She pulled him toward her, attempting a hug, but he resisted. Looking him over, she checked for scratches or bruises. Satisfied he was unharmed, she said, "I was scared that something terrible had happened to you." He bowed his head, ducked and ran past her down the hall. She stood and turned. "Come back here this instant. You need to apologize." The slam of his bedroom door echoed down the hall.
Maybe she should've tried a softer approach, but that might have turned on the waterworks that always seemed to be so close to the surface these days.
"I'm sorry," she said, turning to the marine, embarrassed. With one hand on the doorknob, she leaned into the door. "I appreciate you bringing him home."
"Ma'am? I'd really like to talk to you for a second."
"Oh, well, I really need to handle this situation with Andrew." She eased the door forward a couple of inches.
Maddie wanted to shut him out more than she'd ever wanted anything. In her heart, she knew he'd been with Frank at the end and she'd worked so hard to get past her husband's death. She wouldn't let anyone threaten her progress.
She was determined to forget.
She'd loved Frank more than anything in the world and his death left a hole so deep she was certain it could never be filled. There would never be another Frank.
"It's about Andrew and I think it's important." His amber eyes were filled with concern.
"Okay, well, in that case, please come inside." She reluctantly stepped back from the door and extended her arm. She really couldn't deny his request. After all, he'd brought her nephew home safe and sound.
As he moved past her, his scent filled her nose. An intoxicating mixture of woodsy, clean aftershave, and the salty tang of sweat.
Her body reacted to him in a way she wasn't expecting. It had been a long time since she'd felt that sizzle and it made her even more nervous and edgy.
He towered over her, easily standing a couple of inches over six feet. His thick dark hair, cropped close to the head, hinted at a tendency to curl. Under the thin T-shirt and loose shorts, it was easy to tell that he had the body of a well-toned athlete. His was not the kind of body that ran a couple of miles a day, but the kind that could compete in The Ironman.
She tried not to look and failed.
"Thank you, Ms ... I'm sorry, I didn't get your name."
"Sorry. I forgot to introduce myself. I'm Maddie Westerfield."
His eyes went wide. "But Andrew said his last name was Ingle."
"It is. Westerfield is my husband's name. Was my husband's name."
He stepped backward and blinked rapidly as if it was too much to take in at once. Finally, somewhat recovered, he took her hand in his and shook it. His hands were large, nearly double the size of hers.
"Have a seat." She gestured toward the couch. "What was Andrew doing at the track in the first place?"
He looked at the sofa and then back at her. "I'm okay. I'll stand."
"Please, you did me a huge favor by bringing him home safely."
He sat on the edge of the sofa. "Andrew approached me, introduced himself and asked me if I still liked football."
"It's not like him to take off without telling me where he's going."
"Is his dad deployed?"
"No, his mother is."
"I thought you were his mother." His brow wrinkled in confusion.
She shook her head. "Andrew is my nephew. I'm looking after him for my sister, Callie. She's finishing up a tour in Afghanistan. And his dad, well, that's a whole other story."
"He didn't tell you that his football coach quit?"
It was starting to make sense. "Quit? According to the paperwork I signed, he's supposed to have the same coach as last year. Same practice time. Everything was going to be the same as last year."
David arched his left eyebrow. "Maybe we should talk to Andrew about it."
"Can I fix you something to drink? It may take me a few minutes to convince Andrew to explain the situation." She exhaled, trying to relieve some of the stress and tension.
"That would be nice."
In the kitchen, she leaned up against the cool metal of the fridge and tried to slow the beating of her heart. It pounded like a bass drum in her chest. She wanted Sterling out of her house, out of her mind.
It was so much easier to forget when there wasn't a six-foot-two reminder sitting in your living room.
Too many feelings at once.
Attraction. Fear. Worry that the man in her living room would reopen the grief she'd packed away so carefully after Frank's death. More attraction.
She couldn't stay in the kitchen forever.
After a few deep breaths, she relaxed. Told herself that she could cope with whatever was thrown at her. She could handle it. She was a trained professional. A widow. A stand-in single mother.
Surely she could handle a lieutenant.
She returned to the living room with two glasses of iced tea on a battered serving tray she'd hastily covered with a patterned dishtowel. She'd thrown some Lorna Doone shortbread cookies on a decorative plate and placed those on the tray, too.
"That looks terrific," he said, and took a glass. After a long sip he said, "This is better than my mom's." His smile could've been an ad for toothpaste. "But please don't tell her I said that."
"Our secret." She smiled despite the tension. "I'll be right back."
Andrew was curled into the fetal position on his bed, facing away from the door. He looked so small, so defenseless. Her anger softened and she decided to try a calm approach. All the research showed it was more effective anyway.
She sat on his bed and gently rubbed his back. "What happened tonight, kiddo? You've never left without telling me before and it really scared me. I don't know what I would do if something happened to you."
Andrew pulled a pillow over his head.
"Is it that you miss your mom? That's okay, you know. Anybody in your shoes would miss her." Her shoulders tensed the way they did every time she thought of Callie. Years of academic training had given her no effective way for dealing with the reality of her sister shipping out to a hostile country — not knowing if she'd ever return. If only Callie could stay safe for just three more months, only ninety lousy days, the tour of duty would be over and then she could come home, and they could be a family again.
Worrying about your sister was one thing. Worrying about your mother was quite another. As often as she'd tried to empathize with Andrew's feelings, she always missed the mark.
He sat up, the pillow falling behind him, and looked out the window. "No. It's not that. I mean, I miss Mom, but that's not it. It's football. Our coach got sent overseas and we can't play without him."
"I'm surprised the league didn't send out a letter or something to the parents. Are they trying to find someone?"
Andrew looked sheepish. "Not exactly."
"What do you mean 'not exactly'?" She might be relatively new at surrogate motherhood but she knew that was a loaded phrase.
"We told Mr. Watson, the man who runs the league, that we already had a new coach."
"Let me guess. You guys were going to convince Lieutenant Sterling to be your coach."
Andrew nodded. "I thought it would work. Harper's dad works with him. That's how we found out he was at Fort Wilson."
Shaking her head, she said, "You're in over your head, buddy."
"We were going to surprise the parents with a rock-star coach."
Andrew and his friends took sports very seriously. While she was surprised the league took the boys' word for it when they claimed they had a new coach, she wasn't surprised that they'd tried to find a way to recruit an athlete they all knew and admired.
"I know, and now, with practice starting on Tuesday, it's too late to find someone else."
"I wish you'd talked to me before you took matters into your own hands." She squeezed his shoulder.
"What are we going to do?" Andrew's voice reached a full-blown whine.
"We'll figure something out, buddy. I promise."
"It's too late. We probably won't even get to play this year."
"Why were you so set on having Lieutenant Sterling as your coach?"
Andrew turned from the window. "You don't know?"
Maddie shook her head. "Know what?"
"He was one of the greatest college football players of all time."
She pointed toward the living room. "The man in the living room?"
Andrew nodded. "David Sterling. He played for Ole Miss. He was a star."
"How did you know he'd be at the track?"
Andrew shrugged. "Harper's dad runs with him sometimes."
"I really wish you'd talked to me first," she said.
"I do, too."
Excerpted from Coach Maddie and the Marine by Blaire Edens, Allison Collins, Candace Havens. Copyright © 2015 Blaire Edens. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
*I received an ARC from Entangled Publishing in return for an honest review* This is a sweet story about the romance between a widow and a Marine. Maddie signs on as coach for her young nephew's football team and finds she's in over her head. A handsome Marine named David volunteers to be help her out. There are reasons on both sides why they shouldn't get involved but when sparks fly, neither can think of anything else but how much they both want to be together until those reasons come back to haunt them. This is a good story but pretty tame. For anyone looking for a clean romance, it is a good choice.
Maddie is taking care of her sister’s 8 year old son while his mom is deployed in Afghanistan. The young boy, Andrew, needs a new coach for his football team and tries to recruit Lieutenant David Sterling. Maddie doesn’t want him around. She is attracted to him but more importantly he knows what the last minutes of her late husband’s life were like. David was his commanding officer. David realizes who she is after a few minutes of conversation. He believes it was his fault for the death of her late husband. But it was an accident. Now the two dance around the topic often. They also find themselves kissing each other and then saying it was a mistake. They just don’t know what to do. Meanwhile, Maddie is coaching the little league team with the help of David. She learns everything from David and is getting really good at it. You go girl! Maddie is a grief counselor. Interesting choice since she had her own loss. The story seemed a little rushed for me. I have no problem with insta love but it didn’t work that well for me here. I love Andrew, he is so cute and observant and determined. He breaks down every once in a while wishing his mom was home. I don’t even know what that’s like to worry about your mom while in a war zone. This is a relatively short book with a HEA. The ending was very cute. For a bliss book, it was a little more pushing the acceptable borders for this imprint.
An enjoyable, mostly like romance with some heavy undertones. It's impossible not to feel the lingering pain and guilt when it involves a lost loved one, especially one lost to war, or the person who was there when it happened. But overall the story line feels lighter and less intense than it could be with the history behind the characters. I think I expected more of the intensity but it was enjoyable.
I love a lighthearted feel good story and this one fit the bill. A clean romance with a military theme, this story hit all of the high notes for a quick and sweet read. The author took a twist on a military romance that was unique and added a lot to the depth of the story and the feelings between the two main leads. I loved the hesitant growth between the them and then when the realization hits, the all-in was so sweet. This author brings in so many emotions into her writing. You get the highs and lows of romance with a clean and loving story. A delightful story that is not to be missed.
3 stars Coach Maddie and the Marine was a sweet and heartwarming read. I liked the plot and characters but the drama towards the end could have easily been dealt with if David had opened up to Maddie and talked to her about his fears and feelings. For a strong man it felt like a cowards way to handle his feelings. Having said that I did enjoy the epilogue and felt satisfied these two were going to have a long and happy life together.
Coach Maddie and the Marine is my first book by Blaire Edens. This is a well written book. I loved the characters and their interaction with each other. Maddie and David's story is an emotional roller coaster because Maddie's husband was killed in action and David was his commanding officer and with him at the time of his death. Add in Maddie's nephew living with her while her sister is deployed and this story just flies. There's a bit of sadness in this book, but well balanced with humor, hope and a little spice. This is a fairly short read, a good choice for those with limited time for reading. I enjoyed reading Coach Maddie and the Marine and look forward to reading more from Blaire Edens in the future. This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger. I received a copy of this book from Net Galley for review purposes.
Given to me for an honest review. Maddie looks at the clock and realizes it's late. She calls her nephew and he is not in the house. This triggers her memories of the Marines telling her that her husband was dead. Where is her nephew? She can't decide what to do first. After panicking she goes back home to call his friends. The door bell rings. This is a bad thing because the friends and neighbors use the side entrance. She answers the door and there is a Marine and Andrew. It seems Andrew and his team were trying to get LT Sterling to be their coach since he is a famous football player. Their coach has been deployed. Maddie ends up being the coach. She doesn't know what she is in for. She finds out at the first practice. What is she going to do now?
A sweet quick romance perfect for lazy afternoon. Loved the military aspect of it, and who can resist little boys playing football. I enjoyed the growing relationship between Maddie and David, both with losses in their lives that affect each other. I wish the book was a little longer, felt it was rushed at the end. I would have enjoyed more of the romance of Maddie and David. I received this book from Netgalley for an honest review.
This is a short, quick read. Overall, I enjoyed the story. However, I felt things between Maddie and David seemed a little rushed. Also, I would've liked to have seen a little more interaction with Andrew's football team to create some humor and to add more of Maddie and David together along with the kids. I think this story would've worked better as full length novel, but still enjoyable as it is. ARC received from Entangled Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
Maddie Westerfield gave her heart away once and it was completely disintegrated, when the man she loved was killed in a combat mission. From that point on she made the decision to never let love in again, or give her heart away to another soldier. Her little plan has been relatively easy to accomplish since she keeps herself far too busy to date anyone; between her work helping families deal with loss and caring for her nephew she has very little time to focus on anything in her personal life. That is until fate steps in and has other plans for her, which involves working alongside a handsome soldier that is far too tempting to resist... David Sterling has a serious case of survivor's guilt and has yet to find something to ease the pain of losing one of his men in Afghanistan. He needs an outlet for the pain, something else to focus on, and give him some reprieve from the guilt he carries with him everyday. So, when he sees that Maddie is in need of helping coach her nephews football team, he is more than willing to offer up his expertise. Not only will it be something else for him to put his energy into, but may just give him the opportunity to feel like he is putting good back into his world again. Not realizing that Maddie just maybe the one person to help erase the guilt that he has been carrying for so long... This was my first time reading a book by this author and I have to say that I really enjoyed it, so much so, that I plan to read more of her work in the future. This story pulled me in almost instantly and had me flying right through pages to see if Maddie and David would find the happily ever after that they both deserved. It was a touching story full of hope, passion, and gut wrenching emotion that had the tears welling a couple of times. Definitely a read that I think everyone should add to the top of their reading lists, it sure to satisfy all your reading needs and then some! ARC requested through NetGalley, and kindly provided by Entangled Publishing LLC in exchange for a honest and unbiased review.
I am so glad that this story deals with a military family and depicts some of what the kids of deployed parents have to go through. Maddie is a young lady that has taken on the role of being the soul provider for her nephew while his mom is deployed. This is a huge responsibility for someone that does not have kids of their own. Keeping up with the day to day routines of oneself, let alone add in the routine and extra curricular activities of a young kid, can make a busy life for Maddie. When she looses track of Andrew one afternoon, she panics not knowing where he has gone. Maddie searches quickly for Andrew and finds him riding his bike back to the house with a man following him. When she and Andrew reconnect, she has no idea why he had left the house without telling her. David, the guy that followed Andrew home, asks Maddie to have a word about what Andrew has talked to him about. Come to find out Andrew's coach of his football team has been deployed and they are not going to be able to play if they do not find a replacement soon. Andrew asked David to coach his team and that is why he had left the house. Maddie recognizes the name of David and realizes that he is one of the men that was with her husband when he was killed years ago. Maddie knows that she can not let herself fall for this guy that has shown up at her house. Maddie decides that she is going to give coaching Andrew's team a shot even though she has no clue about football. David has offered to help her coach but Maddie is not sure she wants to go there with him. Maddie goes to the library and checks out books to try to help her but with Andrew's begging, she finally consents to letting David help her coach. Will David be able to coach Maddie enough for her to be successful in her coaching job? Sparks begin to fly between David and Maddie and this causes Maddie to have second thoughts. Maddie thinks that she is not in a position to be in a relationship yet after loosing her husband and David has lots of remorse that he has to get over about allowing Maddie's husband to be killed on his watch. Will these two be able to let their past go and move on with each other?? You need to read this story to find out how things end for Maddie and David, as well as Andrew's football team. This story is a feel good one that you will enjoy!!
I am giving this one a very generous three stars. The story was rather predictable in almost every way but nothing in the book really bothered me. It is a short little book that I easily finished in an evening. The book held my attention and entertained me sufficiently for a few hours. This was a sweet little romance with very little heat. Maddie's husband died serving in the Marines. Her sister is currently on a tour of duty and Maddie is busy taking care of her nephew, Andrew. Andrew loves playing football but his team needs a coach since last year's coach is overseas. Maddie tries to find a replacement but ends up taking the job herself...with a little help from Lieutenant David Sterling. David is a Marine. He happens to be the Marine in charge of the unit that Maddie's husband was a part of when he died. David was also a star football player in college so he offers to help Maddie learn everything she needs to know to successfully coach Andrew's team. This story does have a lot of very elementary football in the story at times. I like football so I can't say that I learned anything new and I am not sure that the lesson really helped the story. David and Maddie are attracted to each other and there is a lot of chemistry between the pair. Maddie is not interested in dating another Marine. David feel responsibility for the death of Maddie's husband so they both try very hard to keep things platonic. When they decide to go ahead and try thing between each other, everything moves very quickly and anything steamy happens off of the page. I am of the opinion that less is more in many cases but if you are looking for a steamy romance you may want to look elsewhere. I thought that both Maddie and David were a little too perfect. Maddie has to be the most understanding person that ever lived. David was just too perfect to be real. Nobody is that perfect. The romance is really an insta-love situation but there is some chemistry between the pair. When they have problems to solve, these perfect people do handle things very poorly but things are forgiven pretty easily. The writing was good enough that I found myself engaged in the story despite its predictability. I did like both Maddie and David despite the fact that they were too good to be true. I thought that Andrew's character added a lot to the story and really liked the fact that his feelings were an important part of the plot. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a sweet simple story. This is the first book by Blaire Edens that I have had a chance to read but I would be open to reading some of her future works. I received an advance reader edition of this book from Entangled Publishing via NetGalley for the purpose of providing an honest review.
It was a good read. I liked both Maddie and David's characters and story was also good. Although the book has more serious tone than I expected but it is no less interesting. War changes people and the story has tried to capture the internal struggles of those who have been directly effected by it. I think that it was well written and quite engaging but some things did seem a little rushed, especially in the end.
Sad to say I'm a bit disappointed with this one. It had a lot of promise. A great premise, incredible characters, and a wonderful sweet romance. However the pace of the story was at a breakneck speed and before I knew it I was done. Just leaving me wanting..... I wanted to know the characters better. I wanted to understand how their shared past affected them. I wanted more antics from the football team. I just wanted more.
This is something of an instant-love romance with plenty of quirks, twists and an emotional roller coaster thrown in for good measure. Years after her young Marine husband was killed in combat, Maddie Westerfield is thrown when she meets the man who had been his commanding officer, Lieutenant David Sterling, especially when the two are instantly attracted to each other, but both are determined to resist the allure of the other because of their memories of her dead husband. I liked how Maddie was determined to help her nephew’s football team, even being willing to be their coach when none of the other children’s parents would help. The negative attitude of those other parents may well have been enough to put many off many volunteers but it just hardens her resolve. She’s a feisty fighter, prepared to work hard herself to help them succeed. I also appreciated how David didn’t step in to take over, but was straight talking with the rebel parents and supportive, helping Maddie and the boys. If you have any sympathy or soft spots for traumatised military personnel, where emotionally the woman is the stronger character and where things definitely go wrong, you’ll enjoy this – and Andrew, Maddie’s nephew, is a brilliant character, too! Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley, too, for letting me read an ARC of this book in exchange for this, an honest review.
1 - "You think way to much for your own good." Star. I generally only give one star to a book I DNF. I read this to the end as its a relatively short book, as will be my review. The first 65% was basically an 'American Football for Beginners' handbook, interspersed with a couple that kissed a few times and then decided after each occurrence that they couldn't be together. "It frightens me to think I might lose someone I love again." The next 10% is all kinds of insta-everything, with our H then making the mother of epic douche moves. "You can't live your life in the past." The remainder of the book then takes us back to the fifties and sixties, where a man could always dig himself out of trouble with the offering of flowers, balloons and chocolates... Bliss books need a strong story line to make up for the fact that everything sexy is closed door. This book started strong, but rapidly dropped due to lack of depth to it's story line, non- existent chemistry between the leads and a poorly utilized trope, in that of grief for the h, and survivors guilt for the H. In this day and age a sparkly engagement ring, and a few flowers do not an apology make... Well not one any self respecting independent woman would accept anyway. ARC provided by Entangled for the above honest review.