Hearts and Crafts series
by Nicole Michaels
WINNING ISN’T EVERYTHING
Callie Daniels is a singular sensation. She owns and operates her own bakery, contributes to a popular lifestyle blog, and is the dance team coach at a local high school. She lives by her own design and is much too busy to consider dating. Mr. Right will have to fit into her life when the time is right…
UNLESS YOU’RE PLAYING FOR KEEPS
Football coach Bennett Clark always plays by the rules. He knows that his new colleague Callie is off limits but she’s so beautiful-and irritating!-that Bennett can’t get her off his mind. She wants him to participate in a charity dance contest, and won’t take no for an answer. Soon, what begins as a festive athletic endeavor turns into a heated flirtation on and off the dance floor. Could it be that the free-spirited Callie has finally found a way through Coach Clark’s line of defense?
Callie is wonderfully spunky and fun – sassy and a great match for Bennett. She helps him not take things too seriously and brings out a more playful side to the devoted coach. I really like how dedicated both are to their students and their friends. Their interactions are full of humor and heat – the time they spend together learning to dance is the perfect playful foreplay to taking their relationship further. I also love her friends and her parents – they are more bright spots in an already shining story.
And so, I adored this book … until about 4/5 of the way in. And then, while I still liked it, I was a little disappointed as well. There’s a tragedy that shakes Callie and Bennett’s world and while I think Michaels handles the fallout from their perspective very well, there were more people involved and that was glossed over. I think if maybe this event had happened a little earlier in the book, there’s great potential for additional character and relationship development. It isn’t enough of an issue for me to lower my ranking of the book, but it is enough to leave me a little dissatisfied.
Outside of that, though, I did enjoy the ending. I think that the way that Callie and Bennett face their troubles fits well with the people we’d grown to love. It left me a little bruised for them, which shows how much I’d begun to care, but then I gave a little cheer when they figured it all out and started moving forward together.
If you are like me and this is your first book by Michaels (of course), no worries because it can totally stand on its own. We do get more of Anne and Mike, who were the characters from the first book, but I totally wasn’t lost by not having the details from Start Me Up. Although I’m really looking forward to the next book, Draw Me Close, because what we were given a glimpse of here definitely has me curious about what is coming for Lindsey & Derek!
Buy Win Me Over on Amazon