Genre: contemporary romance
"Responsibility" should be Nicole Keyes's middle name. After all, not many people would sacrifice their lives to run the family bakery and raise a younger sibling. But with Nicole's twin sister now blissfully married and her younger sis turning out more femme fatale than girl-next-door, super reliable Nicole is getting sick of putting everyone else's needs first!
Enter Hawk. The deliciously sexy former NFL player offers Nicole a taste of the freedom she craves. Hawk may know the way, blindfolded, to her sweet spot, but Nicole's not about to let him get close enough to break her heart. Of course, she might not have a choice in the matter if Hawk's past keeps getting in the way of their present...
Nicole Keyes is feeling a bit sorry for herself, both her sisters are pregnant, and all she has ever wanted was a family of her own. Of course she has been raising her younger sister since she was 12 and Jesse 6, but that did not work out so well, as she found Jesse in bed with her husband Drew a few months ago. But she is sick of the worrying and pitying looks everyone give her.
And so when a handsome football coach comes on to her, she makes him an offer:
She will be his personal sex kitten and have an affair with him, if he will act like her loving boyfriend when she needs him to. And Hawk agrees to it, he is certainly not interested in a lasting relationship, his late wife was the love of his life and he won’t be replacing her.
His spoiled daughter Brittany is happy with that, and with her own boyfriend Raoul. Raoul is Hawk’s star football player, and a very decent young man. Very mature for his age, due to his foster child background. But when Hawk and Nicole find out that he is no longer living with his last foster family, but in a deserted building, they are furious. And so Nicole ends up taking Raoul in. He is already working for her in the bakery part time, and she is very satisfied with his work and his work ethics. Nicole also enjoys his company and that of his friends, and even goes to his games. But having a teenager, although he is just 18 now, sure puts a crimp on her love life with Hawk!
And then Hawk’s personal history repeats itself, when his daughter announces she is pregnant, and she will marry Raoul, and they will happily live on his football scholarship, just like Hawk and her mother did all those years ago. Ever since his wife died, Hawk has tried to do his best for his daughter, and in order to not make her feel unwanted, he only told her the good parts about their history, and not the hard things, the problems they faced, how hard especially her mother had it back then. Nicole had tried to warn him about that before, that he should not let her think he had a fairy tale life, but he did not listen to her, and really disliked her criticising him.
Okay, I am not going to spoil the whole story here, lots more happens of course. I liked Nicole, she certainly did not have a happy childhood, let alone a care free one. She knew she was destined to take over the family bakery from a very early age, and so she never even explored if she perhaps wanted to do something else. She had the responsibility for the bakery and its employees; the raising of her younger sister (who even after her marriage to Drew kept living with them), always working long hours.
She resents Jesse for not even saying she is sorry for what happened, and she still misses her. Drew wants her back, but she is so over him. She knew she was never in love with him, but she didn’t want to end up alone, and so she accepted his proposal.
And now she is falling for Hawk. A man who is not interested in a long term relationship. A man whose house is kind of a shrine to his late wife, as he never changed one single detail in the house after she died. The first time Nicole visited him, she was treated to a tour of the house, and then a round of photograph albums by Brittany, who definitely warned her away from her father without ever clearly stating that.
Also Hawk can’t take criticism at all, and he takes every bad thing that happens out on her. Brittany asked her to keep a secret for a while, and how could she? And how can she say stuff like that. Yeah, he may be a hunk, but he is really not a great hero.
Hawk certainly has some growing up to do himself and a lot of grovelling when he finally realises that he does love Nicole and wants her in his life. And then proposing like he did, while they were in the middle of a fight and without anything resolved, I totally agreed with Nicole for leaving him standing.
And at the end of the story, I really do wonder if Hawk and Brittany have changed for real, or are just trying for now. I hope to find out more in book 3, about Jesse.
There are some minor updates on Nicole’s sister Claire and her boyfriend Wyatt from the first book, and I enjoyed that. Although being on Nicole’s side in this book, I did think Claire to be a bit too positive and perky and seeing nothing but the good in people.
Read for #LLC2015
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© 2015 Reviews by Aurian