A retired hockey player gets a chance to make amends with the woman who got away while redeeming himself as both a romantic partner and a father.
Hockey has been the love of Jaxson Lund’s life but also the source of a lot of his problems. He gave up the love of a lifetime for the lure of fame, women, and booze. Once upon a time, he fell head over heels with graphic designer Lucy Quade after a chance meeting at a car wash. Their romance happened hot and fast, and Lucy soon became pregnant. But Jaxson’s life on the road and Lucy’s hesitancy when it came to trusting men created a toxic, relationship-ending combination. What followed were years of tense custody battles, infrequent child support payments, and explosive conversations. Lucy and Jaxson’s daughter is now 8; Jaxson’s sobriety and retirement have enabled him to put down roots close to his child. He hopes he can finally be the dad he always should have been and perhaps win Lucy back along the way. Redeeming a hero who made terrible decisions, even while abusing alcohol, requires a balance of sincere groveling, honesty about past and present mistakes, and earnestness in moving forward. James (Wound Tight, 2018, etc.) nails it. Jaxson desperately wants to be a better man, and his commitment to that, and to learning from his mistakes, is truly the emotional heart of this romance. Emotions, especially while co-parenting, are complex and messy. While slip-ups are bound to occur when deciding what’s best for a child, Lucy’s and Jaxson’s ability to handle what life throws at them is as endearing as it is inspiring. Lucy is understandably skeptical of having a happily-ever-after with Jaxson, and their path to a satisfying reunion is written with tender patience.
An unexpectedly raw and compassionate romance.