Monday, December 7, 2015

Review: The Final Move by Victoria Denault

The Final Move by Victoria Denault
Series: Hometown Players, Book 3
Publisher: Forever Yours
Genre: Contemporary Romance
ISBN: 9781455564057
Release Date: December 8, 2015
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Hockey legend Devin Garrison thought he blew his shot. But his relationship with Callie Caplan just went into overtime.

Sexy, rich, and one of the biggest stars in the NHL, Devin Garrison has always been the one who had it all. That is until his marriage falls apart and he realizes he has to start over. If he’s honest, there has only been one woman who ever really excited him – Callie Caplan. They shared a night that was hotter than the late-summer sun, but in an instant – Callie was gone, pretending it never happened.

Callie Caplan isn’t the wild child people think she is. It's true she’s avoided relationships, but only because she's seen how crazy love can be. And her messy, imperfect life is crazy enough without opening her heart to a man – even one as picture perfect as Devin. But when fate brings them back together – just as they need each other most – Devin is determined to convince Callie that what she’s feeling is real. And this final play may be their chance at forever…

Victoria Denault blends romantic fantasy and messy, complicated reality with great results in The Final Move. Devin Garrison has always wanted a wife and a family, but the perfect life he set up for himself is falling apart. Now going through a divorce, Devin is on the brink of getting lost in a downward spiral. Luck is on his side, however, and it brings Callie Caplan back into his life. The Garrisons and Caplans have always been close, but almost no one knows that Callie and Devin almost started something a long time ago. Callie needs a place to stay while she’s in town for work and Devin is happy to help her out, especially when she puts a stop to his self-destructive behavior. What he doesn’t count on is their old attraction flaring back to life. Callie doesn’t do relationships, so Devin will have to convince her to overcome her fears and take a chance on him.

I love a good hockey player hero, and Devin is an interesting, flawed one. There’s a core of sweetness to him when we first meet him in the past and I loved that about him. He loses that – understandably – when we get to the present and he’s going through a divorce. Devin’s life is in shambles and he doesn’t take it well, going through alcohol and women right in front of Callie. It’s not pleasant to read about and I was often frustrated with Devin. However, because I’d already been hooked on Devin from the beginning of the book, Ms. Denault had me rooting for him to pull himself out of the hole and become the hero I was hoping for. And when he did, The Final Move really took off.

Callie sees Devin at his worst and best and doesn’t flinch. She’s a strong, sassy heroine with a generous heart she’s terrified of risking. Callie has seen her family members devastated by heartbreak and doesn’t want to have that happen to her. Devin is the one man who has ever gotten past her armor and he and his young son grab her heart before she even knows it’s happening. I adored Callie and wanted to see her find the love she so deserved.

Devin and Callie have explosive chemistry and The Final Move definitely heats up once these two get together. But the road to happily ever after is filled with obstacles, Callie’s fears and Devin’s relationship with his soon-to-be-ex chief among them. Devin’s divorce is a major factor and I like that Ms. Denault didn’t sweep this under the rug, especially considering there’s a child involved. The one issue I had with this part of the book is that toward the end, Ms. Denault seemed to keep comparing Ashleigh, Devin’s ex, to Callie in order to make Callie look better. As a heroine, Callie does just fine standing on her own and almost pitting them against one another doesn’t do the story or the characters any favors.

The Final Move is the third Hometown Players book, but it can be read as a standalone. All the Caplans and Garrisons play supporting roles, which will no doubt charm fans of the series. There was a lot I enjoyed about The Final Move – Callie as a heroine, the mix of sweetness and spice in her relationship with Devin, hot hockey players – and it’s definitely a story I sat back and thought about for a while after I finished it. Whether you like sports romances in particular or just enjoy a good love story with flawed characters, The Final Move should definitely entertain.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.