With no support system in place, Stephen Harrison still has turned his life around in good ways. Getting his story after watching him destroy his life in book 1 was delightful. Having a strong back up in Margaret who has humble beginnings was just the cherry on top. These two together made a story that felt real while also overcoming huge obstacles.
Have you read book 1 or 2 in this series? Stephen Harrison is the best friend of the hero in book 1, but Stephen has addiction issues that in the end get him put in rehab by his well meaning two best friends, Trey and Josiah.
Fresh out of rehab, Stephen doesn’t even tell anyone he got out a day early. Instead he takes a cab home to have alone time, but is that the best thing for a recovering alcoholic? All during his time away, his housekeeper, Margaret, has continued to clean his house unpaid. She’s great like that. They don’t have a romantic relationship, but more of a friendship and she wants to help Stephan stay away from alcohol.
Margaret cleans houses for a company, but has dreams of owning her own cleaning business. Having a tough life, she’s saving everything she can to achieve that goal. She continues to clean Stephen’s house even without pay. I didn’t really get why, but it just so happens she is there the day he arrives home.
Stephen is now pretty under-weight for being an offensive linebacker. The alcohol added the pounds and now that he is clean, he is one skinny, weak guy. The coach suggests he have a life coach and Stephen can’t stand the idea of a stranger being in his life watching him, so he lies and says he has a girlfriend…Margaret. Stephen offers her a job to pretend to be his girlfriend for an insane amount of money where Mags can now achieve her dream of owning her own business.
Mags takes this seriously and works hard with his nutritionist to make healthy meals that will help him bulk up. Stephen also takes things seriously by working hard to build up his muscles before training camp. As the two work together, they start the slow draw to falling in love, but neither want it to seem like he is paying her for sex even if most people think she is his girlfriend. The pressure to keep up the fake relationship weighs heavily on Mags through most of the story.
What I loved about this story was the friends to lovers theme. These were real people with real problems. Stephen wasn’t guaranteed his job back and Mags was having to work hard to achieve her goals. It wasn’t easy. Stephen often caught himself wanting to go buy liquor at the store and would have to call to be talked down.
Mostly these two had communication problems. They just never talked about how they felt because they were afraid of being hurt. So it bottled up until eventually it overflowed and exploded.
Trey and Cassie make a lot of appearances throughout the story as Trey is Stephen’s best friend. As Mags gets more integrated into Stephen’s world, she becomes friends with Cassie, who is the first to figure out that Stephen and Mags are quite what they say they are.
Josiah has a smaller role, but he hasn’t found his lady love yet. Throw in Killian and Aileen who are the H/H from book 2, and you see even more why I loved Aileen.
The story did seem to end kind of abruptly. I wanted probably another chapter to round it all out. But oh eieeee! Look at that cover. I could have drooled over that for a couple of hours. This is a very serious but also sexy addition to the Sante Fe Bobcats series that will leave you with a smile *smile*