Note: This ARC was provided by the author via Enticing Journey Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.
“God, Santos. It’s a wonder I don’t have herpes in my mouth, you asshole.” She pushes me on the chest, causing me take a step back. “I hate you for ruining my life. I hate you for making me a single mom. I hate you for making everything I ever believed in, everything I ever trusted in, a lie. How am I ever supposed to trust anyone again? You fucking broke me!”“You think I don’t know that I broke you?” I yell back. “You can hate me all you want, Mari, but you will never, ever hate me as much as I hate myself.”
Raw, honest, and just plain gut-wrenching. This third novel in the Texas Mutiny series may not have had as much soccer as the first two, but damn was it a fantastic story about how love and trust go hand in hand. Second chances don't always drop in one's lap. In the case of Santos DeLaGuajardo, he had to earn that second chance at not necessarily being with his wife and children as in living in one house the way it used to be, but more of a second chance at being present in their lives in one form or another. His being a cheater isn't a secret. If you've read the series, particularly the second book, Groupie, Santos's extramarital hookups are known by everyone on the team. The beginning of Goalie actually overlaps with book two, where Mariana DeLaGuajardo seeks answers from the one person who can give them to her: the woman her husband slept with numerous times. So, Santos and Mari's story opens with the implosion of their marriage, but the rest of it? The accusations, confrontations, and resolutions? The choice between letting go and holding on? Those are what made this story of love worth reading.
Married for ten years--together for eleven--and parents to their three children, Santos and Mariana DeLaGuajardo had an enviable life...until the facade crumbled and the ugly truth came out about Santos's repeated infidelity. Filing for divorce was inevitable, as far as Mari was concerned. How could she ever want to stay with the person she trusted the most--the man who was not only her husband but also her best friend? Forgiveness was something she couldn't even fathom giving him, not after everything he did. She always believed love was enough, but Santos broke her trust. The man absolutely believed what he was doing would never come to light, and now, all Santos has left is his soccer career, but even that is flailing, what with his mind occupied by thoughts of the wife who walked out on him, taking their three children along the way. He thought he had everything until what mattered most was taken away. As much as he loves Mari, it's going to take more than platitudes to convince her to even give him a shot. Santos doesn't want their marriage to end, but could this be what they need so as to begin again?
I'm one of those people who believes that it takes two to tango and that includes the success or failure of a marriage. Yes, Santos cheated again and again and again, getting away with it each time. But then, there were already rumors and a niggling in the back of Mari's mind about his cheating. I'm not saying that Santos was not at fault. Hell, the guy was an ass and I would never excuse his bad behavior. However, I prefer looking at things like this from all angles, and once you get into the nitty-gritty of their story, you'll see that Mari played a part in what happened as well. I don't want to lay blame on one person. This was a marriage after all and there were two people who were in it, each one having a role in whether it worked out or didn't. I'm glad that M.E. Carter didn't pretend that this was some fluffy story about Santos and Mari realizing they were meant to be. There was never a point that either of them questioned how they felt about each other. They loved one another and they loved their family, but there were issues that needed to be addressed and it took something drastic to do something about it.
The bar was set astronomically high by Groupie and I'm happy to say that Goalie met it with flying colors. Like I mentioned earlier, soccer isn't as big a factor as you may expect here. Yes, it plays a role in what happened in their marriage, but it takes a backseat to the marriage and pending divorce of Santos and Mari. I loved how real these two were. No minced words, no hesitation. The pain they feel is visceral because of everything they invested into their marriage and family. I actually like that they were making their children their main priority and how Mari made it a point to highlight that while Santos may have failed as a husband, he was an amazing father, because yes, that sort of thing is actually possible. Their love story is complicated and multi-layered and there may be times that you won't agree with how they choose to handle their affairs. But you see, these two are human. They make mistakes and they do what they think is right for them at the time. We get the good, the bad, and the ugly, but we also are gifted with beauty that's derived from redemption and absolution. Goalie scored big time. Five-plus stars. ♥
Read my reviews for the Texas Mutiny series:
Juked (book one) - four stars - My Review
Groupie (book two) - five-plus stars - My Review
Goalie (book three) - five-plus stars - My Review (posted above)
Release Date: 18 February 2017
Date Read: 18 February 2017
Learn more about M.E. Carter.