An alcohol induced act of stupidity leads Cade Hall to community service in order to save his spot on his college football team. But he has no idea his past is about to take a bite out of his already chewed up a**. The program day manager is Avery Prescott, the girl who he nearly destroyed in the past.
We learn about their lives now and in the past and how it all went to hell. She is no longer the sweet innocent, awkward, tender-hearted girl who thought he had a heart under his outer facade. She is angry and still has internal scars.
Once upon a time she made him want to be a better man, but he failed. And years later, he appears not to have learned much from his mistakes and is still the same selfish, cocky guy always getting bailed out of trouble. And Avery is strong, determined, bitter, and she is now in charge of his daily dose of humble pie.
This is the story of two people who seemed like opposites--the rich boy who never really felt loved and the farm girl raised loved and overprotected. The popular A-list playboy and the introverted, serious, innocent nerd. But they were both intelligent, funny, and had big goals for their future. And they found a connection. But there were also a lot of outside influences and challenges stacked against them. And Cade was spoiled, self-centered, immature and too aware of social status. They were young and living in a diverse social situation and Avery ultimately paid the price for it. But now his past mistakes are all bearing down on him in the present, and he has no choice but to finally deal with them. But does he have what it takes to finally realize what is important and change for the better?
This digs into the importance of true family love and support versus being spoiled and bailed out when needed. It's about growing up, accepting mistakes, hope, and redemption.
Cade was a hard hero to like at first. He really could be an a**. He could be self absorbed, entitled, and impulsive. He was multi-talented and intelligent, but did not make smart choices. And he was deeply afraid of feeling anything real, of failure, of being hurt. It was easier to avoid complex emotions and attachments.
Avery has matured and is sassy, stubborn, and strong. But she was the only girl who ever reached him and saw his inner goodness and full potential. Is it too late to find it again? And will she even be willing to try since he hurt her so much in the past? Is he a hopeless case?
There is no easy road for these two. Their past is marred by betrayal and pain. Hearts have been broken, emotions run high, and trust is elusive. It is told in both points of view and gives us glimpses into both their past and present to allow us to see how things unraveled and how much there is to overcome to make it right. These two will have to actually communicate to have a chance of letting go of their past or moving forward, and they have plenty of personal challenges and growth opportunities to face.
But this is also about Cade being exposed to different people and lifestyles illustrating just how much he has taken for granted. His eyes are opened to the more dire and dangerous circumstances of some, but also how important a positive attitude is to achieving true potential. He is faced with difficult situations that he never imagined. I was invested in Cade's journey and seeing how he would deal with the changes and challenges. Life can be disheartening and even messy, but it is how people get through the bad times that show what they are truly made of. I really felt for Cade as he navigated through some harsh realizations and emotional situations.
This is a second-chance, opposites attract N/A romance with complex characters with the potential for growth that has a heavy side helping of angst, drama, and emotion. But it also has humor, sweetness, passion, and hope. This runs deeper than a fluffy sports romance and handles some difficult challenges and life lessons. I loved some of the pop culture references from eighties movies as they are so familiar and fun to me...it helped lighten up some of the more emotional stuff.
I am interested in the side characters, Presley and Jonathan, that true Katie Ashley fans might recognize and I would like to read more about them.