Title: To Win Her Back
Author: Mackenzie Crowne
Series: Players #4
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Available: 24th Jan
Will the mistakes of the past ruin their future?
As public relations coordinator for the Manhattan Marauders pro football team, Victoria “V” Price has the wealth, prestige, and glamour she only dreamed of growing up. All she’s missing is a man to share it with. V thought she gave up her shot at love when she left her childhood sweetheart in the dust of her rural Texas town, along with the painful secrets of her family life. But the past comes roaring back when Sam Fitzpatrick, the only man she ever loved, is hired as the Marauders’ new offensive coordinator.
Despite Sam’s reluctance to work alongside V, his distrust of the woman who broke his young heart is no match for their swiftly rekindling passion. Yet even as V’s tough PR persona gives way to her softer side, Sam wonders if their chemistry is enough to overcome the wounds left unhealed between them. But when the devastating truth of V’s past is exposed, threatening both her career and their second chance, Sam finds himself asking a different question: does he have what it takes to win back her love?
Source: ARC from Lyrical Shine (Kensington) via NetGalley
Can love survive a second chance when the same old problems refuse to be resolved? That’s the burning question in this book. Sam was the best thing that ever happened to V, but she left him at the worst possible point in his life. Now they’re working together and the chemistry between them is as strong as ever. All Sam wants to know is why V left, but she can’t tell him.
Normally I’m all for the truth coming out in these kind of situations, but V’s is complicated. This is not the usual straightforward second chance romance, it’s emotional and heated and passionate and, okay, there are definitely aspects of it that don’t make much sense. Mostly why V was so scared to go back home that she bolted. However, her experience is difficult so I can sort of understand why she really, really didn’t want to return to the place where it all happened, even if the cause of it all was no longer there.
Then there’s Sam. Who in many ways is a good guy, and in others isn’t so great. For one thing, he seems to avoid his own parents a lot and it’s never really explained why. He’s also milked all the sympathy for his break up with V for fifteen years, making it impossible for her to ever go home to visit her mother. She is the bad guy, he is the hometown hero. But he never fought for her. Yes, he was injured and he had a lot to work through, but he seemed to do that by sleeping with as many women as possible and whining about how cruel V was. He does try to mitigate the damage in this book, but mostly because he wants to sleep with V again, so he’s not exactly a saint.
Nor is V the complete bad girl. In fact she’s been pretty saintly herself, spending the last fifteen years married to her job. It might have been nice if there had been some middle ground between their romantic histories, since Sam got to have all the guilt-free fun he wanted, while V effectively became a nun.
However, despite these things, I still really enjoyed this read. Sam’s daughter is great and I loved how her relationship with V grew and flourished. It was also nice to see the other couples from previous books again. Plus, when V and Sam are together and can forget the past, they make a good couple. There’s heat and passion and a lovely lack of blame once things start working again. There are certainly a few problems for them to tackle, but I always wanted them to end up together.
Overall I enjoyed this. It’s an emotional second chance read in many ways, but it isn’t afraid to shift the blame about a little. Very few things are perfectly straightforward, but for me that made the ending all the sweeter. I look forward to seeing where the series heads next – especially if it’s in Caroline’s direction.
To Win Her Back is out January 24th.
Visit Mackenzie Crowne for more details.