A San Francisco Thunder Novel
by Victoria Denault
Get ready for all the feels in this sexy, “emotionally charged” (Library Journal) romance about a bad boy hockey player who wants a second chance to win the heart of his high school crush.
All Winnie Braddock wants is a quiet place to be alone and time to heal her battered heart. But the refuge she’d hoped for in her family’s summer cottage is destroyed when she gets there to find Holden Hendricks literally camped out in the driveway. He made her life hell when they were kids, and despite what he says, it doesn’t look like much has changed. She doesn’t care if her brother hired Holden to renovate the house this winter; she wants him gone.
You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take. Holden knows that hockey saying all too well. After all, he could have gone pro if he hadn’t messed up so much as a kid. But now he’s desperate to prove he’s changed for the better, especially to Winnie Braddock. As the two work together to fix up the cottage piece by piece, they realize that perhaps they can give each other the new beginning they’ve both been waiting for — if they’re just willing to take the shot.
I’ve read a few of Denault’s books but this is my first in this series … and I’m SO upset at what I’ve been missing! (This one can stand on its own, btw.) These characters are complicated and such a joy to read.
Winnie has recently lost her dad and is reeling. She’s hiding at her family’s cottage and doing her best to ignore everything & everyone. Unfortunately she’s not able to ignore Holden. She gives it a good try though, and is quite abrasive with him for a long time, but Denault does a wonderful job of gradually bringing things around – with Winnie warming to the changes in Holden as well as working her way through her grief with his help.
Holden has a terrible history in the town and Winnie isn’t very receptive to the idea that he’s changed. Realizing why he was so difficult as a child makes you just want to give him a huge hug and not let go for like a week. He was never a bad person but he worked hard to push buttons and even though he’s outgrown that it’s going to take a while to live down his reputation. He’s a truly good guy though and that shines through, especially with his treatment of Winnie.
Things are difficult between the two but it was (happily) low on the melodrama. These are people with real issues they are working through and they handle it in a manner that resonated with me. There’s quite a few 2 steps forward & 1 step back moments but it never got old (while it easily could have) and I found myself rooting for them to figure things out. But I finished Now or Never wishing for more pages because I didn’t want their story to end.