Note: This ARC was provided by the author via InkSlinger PR in exchange for an honest review.
For the first time in my life, I actually feel like the woman I like is a contender for my heart. She's smart, sweet, fucking sassy, and has no problem hanging out with my friends. She's unlike any woman I've ever met. She's so easygoing, so energetic, but not a pushover, not even close. She's someone I would consider taking home to Shea, someone I could see having a part in Shea's life, and if that's not equal parts terrifying and exhilarating at the same time, I don't know what is.
The first time I read this Meghan Quinn-penned novella was when it was part of the multi-authored sports romance anthology Team Player, and Back in the Game is just as great of a read the second time around. We have single father Calder Weiss whose world revolves around his five-year-old daughter Shea and ice hockey, which he happens to be quite adept at in the professional league. He's immediately taken by Rachel Perry, a kindergarten teacher who doesn't look at him like he's a crazy person while he dons fairy wings, glitter, and a tiara. It's been a while since Calder's actually been in an honest-to-goodness relationship with a woman, but being with someone like Rachel has him wanting to go all in with her. He knows that there are no guarantees when it comes to love, and he could very well get his heart broken. However, the one heart he isn't willing to risk is that of his daughter's. If Shea becomes attached to Rachel and things don't work out, he couldn't bear having two broken hearts to heal--his and Shea's. If he wants to get back in the game, he'll need to play to win.
I absolutely adored this love story! Calder and Rachel were an amazing pair and I fell right alongside them as their romance played out. The heart and humor that I've come to expect from all things Meghan Quinn were front and center in this novella, and the author has proven that she's just as good at writing shorter stories as she is with her full-length novels. For such a short read, there's nothing that I felt that was missing. Everything that I could have wanted in a sports romance was here, and the quality of writing was definitely nothing to scoff at either. Calder easily lands on my list of favorite male main characters, thanks to that combination of being a single father who always put his daughter first and his being a good guy when it came to Rachel. Then there's Rachel who was sweet and sassy and loved unconditionally. There's nothing negative I could say about this book, and if you're a fan of Quinn's ongoing Dating by Numbers series, Back in the Game introduced readers to Hayden Holmes, whose own happy ending awaits in One Baby Daddy. This fantastic novella gets five-plus stars. ♥
Date Read: 30 April 2018
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