, , ,

Hold on Tight

Bridgeport Social Club Series

by Shelley Shepard Gray

Jackson Koch had already lost his wife to cancer when the town’s coal mines shut down and his job was gone too. So, with a three-year-old daughter to care for and a broken heart to mend, he moved across the country to find a new life in Bridgeport, Ohio. Now he tends bar by night and tries to navigate life as a single dad by day. Luckily, his neighbor is happy to babysit while he works late nights. She’s great with little Kate, beautiful, kind … and lately he’s found himself smiling whenever he thinks about her.

Dani Brown also knows what it’s like to lose a spouse and raise a child on her own. Cleaning houses during the day, and taking online classes at night, she dreams of running her own preschool someday. And, since her fourteen-year-old son Jeremy’s baseball team requires a lot of money, she’s thrilled to earn some extra cash by watching her handsome neighbor’s adorable little girl. But even with two jobs, she’s having trouble making ends meet.

When Jackson sees Dani running herself ragged for her son’s baseball ambitions he decides it’s time to get the Bridgeport Social Club involved. Together they cook up a plan. They will run a charity poker tournament to support Jeremy’s dream and help out a hardworking single mom. But will Dani be able to accept help from the handsome neighbor she’s starting to feel more-than-friendly feelings for? And how far is she ready to let those feelings go?

Get ready to fall in love with Shelley Shepard Gray’s Bridgeport Social Club again, where a poker night is so much more than a game of cards and an extraordinary community of ordinary men and women come together to offer love, light, and hope to everyone they encounter.

I loved the first two books in this series and this one shows that Gray knows how to keep delivering.  Both Dani and Jackson have experienced hardships in their lives and are just doing the best they can for their kids.  The easy way these two manage to create a kind of friendship and then something more is very appealing.  And realistic.  There are so many ways that this could have gone sideways but Gray manages to keep things real and relatively drama free.

Dani has spent so many years having only herself to rely on that it is hard for her to accept someone else’s offer of help.  She can’t get past the feeling of owing someone and while Jackson is ready to be there for her it takes a bit for her to get to the point of being able to accept it.

Jackson has been struggling with losing both his wife and his job in a short amount of time.  He had a little problem with depression (understandably) for a while and getting him & his daughter out of their small town was the best for both of them.  It’s just super hard to accept a life where he is now a bartender – a good job just not what he imagined for himself.  But he has good friends and with a little self-examination he’s starting to feel a better about his situation.

You aren’t going to find a lot of drama moments with this series.  It’s just realistic characters, living their lives and trying to figure things out – pretty much like you and me 🙂  Instead, go into it with a relaxed mind and an attitude of just enjoying the ride.  You’ll find plenty to appreciate about the well-crafted characters and the normality of their lives.