Crazy Thing Called Love
Bantam / January 29, 2013 / $7.99 print & digital
Dallas TV morning show host Madelyn Cornish is poised, perfect, and unflappable, from her glossy smile to her sleek professionalism. No one knows that her iron will guards a shattered heart and memories of a man she’s determined to lock out. Until that man shows up at a morning meeting like a bad dream: Billy Wilkins, sexy hockey superstar in a tailspin—still skating, still fighting, and still her ex-husband.
Now the producers want this poster child for bad behavior to undergo an on-air makeover, and Billy, who has nothing to lose, agrees to the project. It’s his only chance to get near Maddy again, and to fight for the right things this time around. He believes in the fire in Maddy’s whiskey eyes and the passion that ignites the air between them. This bad-boy heartbreaker wants a last shot to be redeemed by the only thing that matters: Maddy’s love.
When I am in the mood for contemporary romance, Molly O’Keefe is one of my go-to authors. I like that her characters often are dealing with family issues, which adds intriguing conflict to the romantic relationship.
O’Keefe’s newest, Crazy Thing Called Love, features characters with interesting careers: the hero, Billy, is a professional hockey player and the heroine, Maddy, hosts a morning television show in Dallas, Texas. It also has family issues that affect their relationship: Billy’s family and the complications they cause in his life are a driving force in the plot.
The center of this story, for me, was the hero, who is seeking redemption. The best part is that he has no idea how to go about it. He needs the heroine to help him figure it out, and she needs to be reminded of things about herself and their marriage that she’s forgotten or never addressed.
But that’s not the thing about this book that really drew me in. Crazy Thing Called Love is a story for fans of groveling. Do you like your heroes to realize they’ve done the heroine wrong? Do you like them to admit it to her? Do you like them to have to work, and work hard, for their happily-ever-after? If so, then this might be the book for you.
O’Keefe vividly shows us the breakup of Billy and Maddy’s marriage, so we know what they’re up against.
“Once the season’s over—”
“How many times have I heard that? No, Billy. You…you just absorb me. You need me and you suck me in until there’s nothing left for me. You always have. I don’t believe you anymore. I have no more faith in us. I have nothing.”
“Yeah?” He was getting angry, his default position, all his doors closing. They’d start yelling just like his parents had. It was so ugly, so not the way she’d thought their life would be.
Billy begins his journey from a low point, while Maddy has seemingly achieved everything she wants, at least from his point of view.
She was famous, his Maddy. Accomplished and respected and more beautiful than he had words for. And she had taken one look at his ugly mug and run away. Left him in that hallway, feeling the shame of the past like fire over his skin. As a rule Billy didn’t believe in fate, but having her come back into his life when it was at its very darkest, that seemed important. Like something he shouldn’t ignore. Something he didn’t want to ignore.
…This was his worst season of hockey, his career was in the toilet, and he was alone…Down to his gut alone. Maddy was out there in the city somewhere. And the mere thought of her smothered the worst of his instincts. There weren’t any more nameless women asking him to do terrible things to them. There hadn’t been since he’d run into Maddy and been reminded that he used to be a better man. That he used to want to be better.
In the depths of despair and apathy, Billy begins to realize what he did wrong in his marriage to Maddy, and begins to hope for a second chance.
Fourteen years ago he’d ruined everything. They were supposed to be a family—that was the promise they’d made to each other, and he’d broken it. Smashed it under heavy, callous heels. Because he hadn’t known how to keep that kind of promise. But he’d had some practice now.
Billy starts off the novel hoping for a second chance with Maddy, and once he gets it, he has to struggle even more to show her how he feels, and to apologize for the ways he went wrong in the past. His groveling helps Maddy, too, because she can finally let go of anger and address issues from their previous relationship. They can both move forward into a shared future.
Victoria Janssen is the author of three novels and numerous short stories. Her World War One-set Spice Brief is titled “Under Her Uniform” and is a tie-in to her novel The Moonlight Mistress. Follow her on Twitter: @victoriajanssen or find out more at victoriajanssen.com.