by Brenda Rothert
Published: November 23, 2013
My rating: 5 of 5 ⭐️(huge!!)
How Kate Camden managed to finish her last year and ultimately graduate college, she couldn't tell you. Dealing with an unexpected pregnancy halfway through her final year and being abandoned by the baby's father was hard, but nothing compared to the hollow pain she was left with after she was faced with a tragic loss. Suppressing any and all feelings, she functions but doesn't really live, finally after encouragement from her mother and recognizing the need to do something with her life, Kate joins a support group.
Married young NHL hockey starJason Ryker, or Ryke to his friends, had the world at his feet, or at least, that's what it looked like. But he learned the hard way how fleeting 'perfection' can be when a devastating accident changes his life irrevocably. Having battled though a few years of different phases of grief, Ryke has found solace in a group that meets weekly. People from different walks of life who all have their stories of loss to tell, and it helps to know the others understand.
Kate and Ryke meet through the support group and Ryke has an opportunity to offer Kate a life line. One that has them working together in close proximity and forge a friendship. For the first time in two years, Ryke is interested in a woman for more than a quick roll in the hay, but he is well aware that Kate is in no way ready to take that step. He is very patient, understanding the mechanics of grief only too well, he can wait.
Over time Kate is able to process her loss with the support of the group and Ryke in particular, and slowly comes alive to find herself feeling more than she is comfortable with for Ryke. Will she ever feel deserving of what he has to offer??
OMG!!! I cannot tell you how much I ADORED this book!!! Fan-fuckin-tabulous!!!!
Written with such maturity, sensitivity and insight! A hot hockey player, who can talk dirty, who patiently waits, who is observant and understanding, yet all Alpha!! Hullo?? The subject matter is painful, I won't lie. It was painful for me, it may be for you too......if you recognize any of it. But man, is Brenda on the ball with the emotional dialogue in the case of Kate in any event!
Kate had to grow up in a hurry when she discovered her pregnancy. Not only was she going to be a mother, but she was unceremoniously dumped and left to fend for herself at the same time. Not to mention having to contend with the last year in a psychology degree. No mean feat. She pulls herself up, though, draws her plan and sets out to do what she needs to do...until the Big Bang comes and leaves her decimated. All she can do is put one foot in front of the other, and go through the motions, but she denies herself anything other than what she needs to do. There is no 'want' in kate's vocabulary, which is why she can't allow herself to fall for Ryke.
Ryke had a few years in which his method of coping was drinking and women, both of which he did plenty of, but that stopped making him feel any better, so he stopped. Now he did what he had to do, started socializing some again, and he had his group. Until Kate cam along! he had never looked too closely at the possibility of a future, but she changed that for him. He wasn't blind, he could see she was still in a very vulnerable place and he wouldn't take advantage of that, he would wait, and prep his eyes open. She was worth it to him. What a guy!!
The contrast in the way grief is processed by the different people is highlighted in this story, and intelligently so. The different 'phases' always readily referred to, do not always mean the same thing for everyone. The added complexity of Ryke's profession, his need to travel and public persona give an entirely new dimension to building a relationship, but also to the experience of grief. All of these things are probed and examined by the author in an insightful way.
The flow of the story was fantastic, so good that I never even once, put the book down until I was finished. The quality of writing is excellent, sharp, and spicy enough to entice. Although initially planned as a standalone, I hear there might be another story in the same realm of hockey......I, for one, am ALL for that!!!!
One of my personal favourite books of 2013!! HIGHLY recommended read!!!
✨A brilliantly poignant, raw, hot and emotionally engaging knockout!!✨
**ARC provided in return for an honest review.**