An attorney and a baseball star must come to terms with their complicated past for the sake of their ailing son.
Libby Tucker is a beautiful, successful Windy City attorney who knows how to get what she wants. And what she wants most right now is to find a bone marrow donor for her 6-year-old son Cass, who is dying of leukemia. The boy’s father is her best hope, but Libby hasn’t spoken to Banford Aidan Palowski—aka Band-Aid—in a half-dozen years, and for good reason. When a brief hookup between these two college friends led to pregnancy, Aidan urged Libby to get an abortion. She refused, excising him from her life. Aidan took off to make it in the big leagues, believing Libby had given their baby up for adoption. Years later, Libby, who still hasn’t forgiven her old flame, reluctantly turns to Aidan—now the Cubs’ star pitcher—in a desperate attempt to save her son. Aidan agrees, but on one condition: He wants to be part of his child’s life. Libby’s hesitant (Cass believes his father is dead), but Aidan persists, manipulating his way into their life. Soon, the three have formed a charming, if sometimes prickly, family unit, as Cass quickly bonds with his father, and Aidan embraces his new role. But the relationship between Aidan and Libby is less settled. Aidan wants another chance to win “the only game, in thirty odd years, I hadn’t seen to completion.” Libby is less eager, still nursing anger and frightened of the intensity of her feelings for Aidan. Gradually, the couple learns to navigate their new relationship, but before long, tragedy strikes, tearing the couple apart again. Marx’s (The Seer’s 7 Deadly Fairy Tales, 2012, etc.) romance is full of twists and turns, some expected, and some not, with an emotionally complex central conflict, lively (though at times infuriating) characters and a carefully drawn Chicago setting. But far too many secondary characters populate this bulky novel, and half-baked subplots distract from the main story, such as Aidan’s scheming ex-fiancee, who attempts to blackmail him with a scandalous doctored photograph and then abruptly disappears. This crowded tale is at its best when focused on the shifting dynamics among Aidan, Libby and Cass.
A fun, if occasionally tedious, novel, equal parts heart-tugging and steamy—strictly for romance enthusiasts.