Welcome to Destiny Falls, New York, home of Bomb Squad—an ice hockey team full of rugged military heroes. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity has the team captain packing his bags for greener pastures, but saying good-bye to the woman who’d captured his heart is easier said than done…
After being wounded in combat, Brandon Theroux lives every day like it’s his last. He never could have imagined that the sleek mechanics of his prosthetic leg would open so many doors, including minor celebrity status as a fitness model and a well-earned reputation as a rakish playboy. The only door it hasn’t opened is the one to Harper Johnson’s bedroom.
Harper has too much self-respect to join the ranks of Brandon’s “carpe diem” conquests, but when she needs someone to keep the peace in the tavern she owns, Brandon offers his help—as long as she agrees to a very tempting trade. It isn’t long before the two realize that a deal struck between friends who can’t keep their hands off each other has the potential to be a whole lot hotter than either of them is prepared to handle
I don’t really know what I was expecting when I started reading this book, I especially didn’t expect it to be such an emotive read nor such a thought provoking story. I would describe it as a contemporary romance/women’s fiction, that needs to be read when you are in the right frame of mind. It was not an easy read but a very fulfilling one.
Brandon is a transtibial amputee, a war veteran who is now a male model (think Alex Minsky who I believe was the inspiration.) He is also captain of the Bomb Squad Ice Hockey Team and self confessed commitment-phobe.
He believes that he was the sole survivor of his squad for a reason and he is searching for his purpose in life. He is happy with the life he has made in Destiny Falls with his team-mates, but he adamant that he serves a greater purpose and is determined to find out what that is and unfortunately that doesn’t include staying in their small town.
He has been offered to appear on a dating reality TV show in Miami called Meet the Groom and can’t wait to move onto the next stage in his life, the only reason he is slightly reluctant to go is the discovery that his friend Harper is about to undergo major surgery the week after he leaves.
Harper is eight years his senior, she is approaching 40 and is the scorekeeper for the Bomb Squad, and the owner of Lock, Stock & Barrel the local bar. For 5 years, she has been fending off Brandon’s advances, she does not want to waster her time on a man who is afraid to settle down. She believes that he sees her as a challenge and as much as she is attracted to him she refuses to go down that road with him.
On the surface, they have a push and pull relationship, full of banter and chemistry, but deep down they also have something more. Brandon is the only person who knows her secret, that she is the carrier of the BRCA1 gene that is threatening her life.
When he leaves for Miami in a bid to increase awareness for injured veterans, and find a fake fiancée, instead of cutting ties like they originally planned, they become even closer, even though they are thousands of miles away.
“Going to Miami was supposed to free him from Harper’s hold on his heart. It was supposed to elevate him as an advocate and inspiration for disabled vets. But he’d never felt more handcuffed to obligation, so far from where he was supposed to be.”
This MAN! Let me tell you, he was so perfect for Harper, and even though it took most of the book for him to realise that his feelings for her were more than platonic, I KNEW it and through his actions I swooned as much as my heart was breaking for her. Harper was an inspiration, what she was going through was horrific and something no woman ever wants to go through, but Brandon was there for her every step of the way, encouraging her to live her life to the fullest and telling her that she was a beautiful person because of her soul not because of her outer looks.
“It’s more than your life being spared. You exude this inner strength and optimism, so much confidence. That’s your true gift.”
They both know what it is like to have lost a piece of yourself, and it’s breaking Brandon’s heart that he is stuck in a TV contract whilst Harper is taking her life back into her control and living free, but at the same time feeling so lonely and inadequate.
Harper doesn’t want to be anyone’s consolation prize, she is resigned to living a single life, but she’s not going to wait around for Brandon, she’s wasted enough time already. Having him as her friend is enough, although you know she is kidding herself because you can feel her pain in the pages.
This book touched me, it was a friends to lovers romance that although slow getting there, was worth it for the end result. I think this book holds the record for the amount of beautiful passages I highlighted, so many lovely quotes of love and inspiration.
Steam level is low, but when it does appear – WOW!
“I’m not going to stop tonight until I’ve mastered the art of your orgasm, and that’s a promise you can take to the bank.”
If you are looking for something a bit different, then I highly recommend this book. I didn’t read the first two in the series so don’t feel you have to start at the beginning because the author does a great job of reintroducing past characters.
I am very excited to have found another great new author.
Book 3 in the series, this is a standalone contemporary romance, told in dual, third person POV
ARC gratefully received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review