Tag Archives: divorce

The Final Move

The Final Move (A Hometown Hockey Players Novel) by Victoria Denault

the final move


Hockey legend Devin Garrison thought he blew his shot. But his relationship with Callie Caplan just went into overtime.

Sexy, rich, and one of the biggest stars in the NHL, Devin Garrison has always been the one who had it all. That is until his marriage falls apart and he realizes he has to start over. If he’s honest, there has only been one woman who ever really excited him-Callie Caplan. They shared a night that was hotter than the late-summer sun, but in an instant-Callie was gone, pretending it never happened.

Callie Caplan isn’t the wild child people think she is. It’s true she’s avoided relationships, but only because she’s seen how crazy love can be. And her messy, imperfect life is crazy enough without opening her heart to a man-even one as picture perfect as Devin. But when fate brings them back together-just as they need each other most-Devin is determined to convince Callie that what she’s feeling is real. And this final play may be their chance at forever . . .

I love hockey contemporary romance books!  I love this series!

What is so great is that the author really understands hockey and the culture around it.  I recently reviewed a hockey book and commented that Hockey Wives is my new reality show guilty pleasure.  In some respects, this book reminded me of watching an episode.

We have met the other characters in previous books, so it was time for Callie and Devin to get their story told.  Devin’s marriage has imploded and sexy Callie is there to help him pick up the pieces.

I was SO worried that Callie would just be a rebound for Devin, but nope, these two have a history and it makes for a great story.

Callie is like the guy in the book.  Totally commitment phobic, one night stand champion and never serious.  Devin couldn’t wait to settle down and get married with a kid.  Devin is the golden boy of the Garrison gang.  He signed to the NHL first, got the million dollar contracts and the Stanley Cup. He’s struggling particularly hard with the breakdown of his marriage because it’s a failure and he hasn’t experienced that a lot in his life.  I really liked this plot point.  It’s so easy to just write about the golden boy and keep things surface level, but the author really delves into both his and Callie’s fears and emotions.

What was so great about these two was that you realized that they should have been together all along.  Devin’s marriage wasn’t a mistake, but Callie is really the one to set his blood and heart on fire.  However, a girl like Callie isn’t giving in without a serious ass kicking.  This isn’t just an easy-peasy romance.  There were times reading this (on a plane ride today) that I wanted to yell in frustration and kick her!  He’s sexy, has a huge dick and he’s a great guy – what is the problem??

Overall, this is a really fun hockey story that goes deeper than you would expect.  The character development is fantastic.  The hockey scenes were a little less than I would have liked, but we do get one really good fight.  Checking in with the other couples in the series was a terrific addition.  If you are a hockey fan, definitely check out this series!


The Dangerous Duke of Dinnisfree

The Dangerous Duke of Dinnisfree (A Whisper of Scandal book) by Julie Johnstone

duke of dinnisfree

Overview by Amazon:

Justin Holleman, the Duke of Dinnisfree, is used to being wanted—in bed, for missions, and even dead. He’s protected his country more times than he can remember, gaining enemies along the way, but he failed to defend himself from the past that hardened his heart. Instead, he became an expert at shutting people out. Yet now, in order to save the king, Justin needs to let go of his old ways and let someone closer to him than ever before. He approaches the mission with his classic cold calculation, but his fiery new ally upends his ordered world and entices him at every turn. Suddenly he’s in danger of compromising his assignment and losing his heart, two things he swore never to do. 

Desperate to protect her parents from poverty, among other things, Miss Arabella Carthright unwittingly becomes a pawn in a dangerous political battle when she agrees to aid an enigmatic stranger. Having learned long ago to count only on herself, she’s surprised when time and again the duke actually aids her. But when his true assignment becomes clear, Arabella realizes the man she’s come to care for poses the greatest threat to those she loves. 

As Justin and Arabella face their feelings and their web of deception falls away, they must decide how high a price they are willing to pay for love and loyalty. 

Justin AKA James Bond is a spy for Prinny.  He is like a male Olivia Pope – he puts out the fires of the overindulged Prince.  His latest mission brings him in contact with the lovely Arabella.  To say that she has a difficult life is an understatement.  Arabella’s life is very typical of the average Londoner.  She has finally reached low enough to have to self her body when fate intervenes.

What was great about the book was how the class divide was explored.  Arabella was from the working poor of London and Justin is a Duke.  Their world’s should never have crossed in this time and age.  But Justin isn’t like other Duke’s and his work for the crown has him spending more time in the underbellies of London streets than the gilded halls of Buckingham Palace as a courtier.

The mystery of the letters and the Queen was great!  I found the plot very well paced and I knew that I was hooked when I was frantically trying to figure out what was going to happen.  Justin’s role in the political arena was just as interesting and I found it engaging how he was able to work at the highest levels of Parliament and the mean streets with the same efficacy.

The evolution of Justin and Arabella was quite extensive throughout the story.  Justin’s journey was one of an emotional nature.  Always a kind man, he became Arabella’s protector and knight.  It made me fall more in love with him as he took on Arabella’s problems as his own and solved them.  Arabella was a pawn in Justin’s and others game in this book, but she came out the winner in the end.  I really adored how she trusted Justin and believed in him enough to let him help her.  Arabella’s flight drove home how scary it would have been to live in that time period with no social security or safety nets.

A great book filled with adventure, love and enjoyable characters.  I found the story of the dangerous Duke to be a wonderful journey that made me believe in the kindness of humanity.


Splendor (Inevitable #2) by Janet Nissenson


Overview by Amazon:

British hotelier Ian Gregson had it all – wealth, good looks, power, and a share in his family’s worldwide, multi-billion dollar luxury hotel chain. His very name was synonymous with sophistication and elegance, and any woman he wanted could be his with just a look. But the only woman he truly desired was strictly forbidden to him for too many reasons to count.

Tessa Lockwood was young, beautiful, and lonely, despite the fact that she was a married woman. Her life had not been an easy one, and the extravagant world she caught glimpses of as an employee of the Gregson Hotel Group was far beyond anything she could ever dream of. She could no more imagine herself ensconced in that sort of luxurious lifestyle than she could attracting the attention of her handsome, debonair boss.

Ian and Tessa secretly long for each other from afar, never daring to reveal their forbidden attraction to the other, until circumstances bring them together in a very unexpected way. And from that point on, nothing will stand in Ian’s way to finally make her his.

AUTHOR’S NOTE – despite what you might be thinking at this point, there is NO cheating in this story – just an incredibly romantic hero who will make you swoon with the way in which he sweeps the heroine off her feet!

I have been through a dry spell lately.  Nothing I read was inspiring me to keep reading.  I was finding myself heartily distracted and unmotivated to read.  This is SO unlike me that I was getting pretty worried that maybe I needed to take a break from reading.  And then I found this book.  It has redeemed my faith and I stayed up until 4 AM reading.

This is a long book.  Even though I read like crazy, I couldn’t finish it in one night.  While this story would be easy to include in the ‘billionaire-ingénue’ trope that is taking contemporary romance by storm.  But that would be underselling this book.  While it does have a billionaire, he is forty, not twenty something.  While there is a young, impressionable woman, she has paid her dues in life.  While there are some complications to the plot, there is not the rapid escalation of life changing events like there are in Fifty Shades or Crossfire.

When I was reading this book, I kept looking at the percentage tracker on my kindle.  I kept wondering when the big conflict and misunderstanding would happen.  But it never really came.  The characters in this relationship spend the majority of the book getting to know one another and the story follows them while they explore their motivations, desires and future.  It’s different than others in this genre.

I really liked Ian.  I love the name as it reminds me of Almost Heaven by Judith McNaught.  He was British (yay), he was older (yessss), he was hot (whew) and he was intelligent (super).  There was not much to dislike about Ian.  He repeatedly told Tessa that he wanted a partnership with her, not to control or dominate her.  I liked that about him.  When I think of Christian Grey, he defines control.  It was refreshing to read about a mature man.  Ian has friends, family and a strong sense of responsibility for his employees.  I found myself respecting this character.

My feelings about Tessa are more complex.  While I definitely felt for the character as she truly has had a terrible hand in life, her evolution had me questioning things.  In other books like this, the lead characters like Anastasia, give up their lives for the men they fall in love with.  While there is nothing wrong with this per se, it’s just something I have trouble relating to.  Another conundrum I had while reading this book (and others like it) is that the female characters are so virtuous and good.  Ian spoils Tessa with designer fashions on a regular basis.  She is constantly telling him to stop and doesn’t want to accept the clothes.  This makes me feel like a schmuck.  I would be thrilled to have the beautiful wardrobe.  I think I came to a realization when I read this book.  I find it harder (not impossible) to relate to women like Tessa because I am a greedy b*tch.  I would not be that self-sacrificing.  I sound so mercenary, but what girl would be happy to keep a Forever 21 wardrobe over being spoiled rotten with luxurious garments.

Tessa has a terrible past.  She is married when she meets Ian, but don’t worry.  There is no cheating in this book.  It takes a long time for things to work so they can be together.  Once they are, I loved that Ian took care of Tessa.  He was so kind and careful with her.  It was kind of fun to see the guy be the one so worried about screwing it up.  Tessa has no family and very little friends.  While Ian becomes her whole world, this wouldn’t be different if she had dated someone else.  Tessa isn’t a perfect character – she is beautiful, fit and considerate, but she also is outrageously shy and insecure.

Tessa and Ian have great sex.  It’s like the honeymoon phase of a relationship.  It was so funny how Ian worried about the fifteen year difference and upped his protein intake in order to keep up with her.  Not to give a lot away, but Tessa is very inexperienced, despite being married.  I really liked seeing her blossom under Ian’s care.  While the sex is frequent, it helped to bind the characters together for me.  I liked seeing Tessa become confident in her body and sexuality as the story progressed.

Great secondary characters complete the story.  The employees at the hotel and Tessa and Ian’s friends provide a good context for the characters.  I liked Ian’s parents and of course Mrs. C was just awesome!

This was a great book.  I was surprised that there wasn’t the big misunderstanding that I was expecting, but now I am so glad.  It was a very romantic and heady story about two people falling in love.