I received a copy of this book in return for an unbiased review.
I really enjoyed this one, and I read it in one sitting. It's been awhile since I read the first book in this series - but it didn't matter, the references to that couple weren't distracting, and it didn't take away from my enjoyment of this story.
Before I get too far into my review, I want to say that this was a fairly angst-free read with very little in the way of story conflict. That's usually not a plus for me, but it worked in this case. There were plenty of moving pieces, and a couple of realistic-feeling issues that needed to be dealt with.
Okay, let's get started on the review portion of my review. 😊
Laura and Brendan became friends at work. He being one of the star members of the Portland Badgers, the NHL team for which Laura does PR. They have a "lost weekend" while on a team retreat, but when Monday comes, he backs off and leaves her brokenhearted. He tells her that his situation is "complicated," and it won't work between them. Laura has no time to discuss it, nor does she want to - her humiliation is quick and stinging.
They go back to an awkward friendship, and several months later they're close to where they were before, although there's still some lingering feelings on both sides. There are masks firmly in place, so their interactions seem back to normal to the other party - which leads to Brendan's proposition.
His late wife's parents have been asking about his ability to parent their granddaughter Chloe. He's away from home quite a bit, and the turnover of nannys has been alarming as of late. Chloe is delightful - there's nothing wrong on that front, the problem is the flakiness of the caretakers.
Laura and Chloe have a wonderful relationship since they spent a lot of time together at the rink, so it seems like a natural thing to ask her if she'll help him in his "keeping Chloe" scheme. He wants to show his in-laws that he can offer his daughter a stable home life by having a serious relationship - and he wants that serious girlfriend to be played by Laura. She tastes like secrets whispered beneath the covers, and spices I don’t know the names for, and places I’ve never been but really, really want to visit. She makes me ache in a way I didn’t think I would ever ache again, and all I want to do is carry her into the house, up to her bedroom, and make love to her until all her walls come tumbling down.
It's a good thing that he took that step, because it clears the air between them, and allows them to move forward in their lives. I'll take this moment to tell you that I married my best friend, and when I see that happen in a book I'm reading, I really dig those stories. I know that makes for a stronger foundation, and I felt like Laura and Brendan would have that type of relationship if they were real.
Laura, Brendan, and Chloe all go through a lot over the course of this story. Some good, some bad, some hilarious, and some somber. When all was said and done, I was glad there wasn't more angst, because it made for a cleaner story that wasn't muddled with stray threads that would've distracted from the main story - which was about a man moving on from a tragedy and finding true love for a second time.
I give this book 4 stars.