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Nov 11 2017 10:00am

First Look: Denise Grover Swank’s Always You (November 28, 2017)

Always You by Denise Grover Swank

Denise Grover Swank
Always You (Bachelor Brotherhood #3)
Forever / November 28, 2017 / $7.99 print, $3.99 digital

The one-that-got-away trope can be difficult to embrace. If a couple is so right for each other, why did they break up in the first place? If the reasons were legitimate at the time, are they sufficiently and believably resolved? Always You tackles these issues head-on.

Matt Osborne stayed in Kansas City after he graduated from college. He’s made a good life for himself—the only thing missing is a life partner. He even has a family, sort of—he’s his nephew Ethan’s guardian while Ethan’s mother attends medical school on the West Coast. Ethan’s the reason that he volunteered to coach soccer. It seems that more than five-year-old soccer players think Matt’s a terrific guy.

Standing at the edge of a grass soccer field, Matt stared into the sea of parents’ faces and resisted the urge to groan. Obviously, word had spread after last season that Coach Matt was relatively good looking, somewhat successful, loved kids, and most important, was single.

It’s a crazy first practice, full of naughty word-play on “balls,” uncomfortable leers from some of the soccer moms, and blood and gore on the sidelines. Ethan is upset that his best friend Toby Robins is late for the first practice. Toby’s from London, England and according to Ethan, “he’s never played soccer before, and he’s scared.” Finally, Toby shows up, visibly upset that his mother “was late. Again.” Matt reassures him.

“That’s okay. You haven’t missed much.”

“I don’t know how to play football,” the boy said with a frown.

Ethan chortled. “I told you it’s not football. It’s soccer. Uncle Matt says I’m too little to play football, isn’t that right, Uncle Matt?

Toby’s mother slowly makes her way across the grass—her high heels don’t help her progress but Matt can’t “help noticing that her legs were sexy as hell.”

And the way her golden blond hair fell across her face as she stared down at her shoes sinking deeper with each step made him think of after-sex bed head. Focus.

“Toby,” she said. “I told you to wait. We don’t know if it’s your team or not.”

Her voice sounded familiar, too. That stirring feeling inside him turned a bit uneasy. Surely he was just hearing things. . .

The practice continues to tank. A few kids start kicking balls at the coach’s head, saying, “It’s just like Angry Birds!” A ball hits “the back of his head with enough force to make his teeth rattle.” Matt is down for the count.

Sucking in a breath, he told himself he’d been wrong to think these kids didn’t have enough force to do serious damage.

He must have a traumatic head injury that included hallucinations, because he was staring up into the face of the only woman who had ever broken his heart.

Two best friends who play on the same soccer team—what unlikely Cupids, because, of course, Matt’s not wrong. He once knew Anna Field, Toby’s mother, very well indeed.

He's only loved one woman-his college sweetheart-but she never shared his dream of a family, preferring to focus on her career and maybe get married someday. With neither budged on their decisions, they agreed it was best to part ways.

What a difference twelve years make! Anna is divorced from her English husband: she has a very successful career. She’s back now “to care for her widowed and ill father,” and she’s juggling her family responsibilities with a remote work assignment. Inevitably, the two former lovers are thrown together frequently and sparks begin to fly. Like when Anna teaches Ethan to play skeeter ball and Matt can’t stop looking at her.

Holy Mother of God.

The way she was looking at him—a mixture of warmth and fire, friendliness and longing—he was ready to fuck it all and walk over and kiss her.

What was he thinking?No! This was crazy.

Crazy or not, some things are meant to be and Matt and Anna, now that they’re all grown-up, have so much in common: two loving hearts shot through with lust and longing. Anna only plans to stay in the United States for five more weeks—Matt begs her for “five weeks to get to know you again.” When he begs her to stay, how can her answer be anything but yes? They make a delightful couple and wonderful addition to Denise Grover Swank’s Bachelor Brotherhood series.

***

Learn more about or pre-order a copy of Always You by Denise Grover Swank, available now: 

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Janet Webb aka @JanetETennessee moved from the San Francisco Bay to eastern Tennessee. Baseball is my passion: I follow the Chattanooga Lookouts and the Nashville Sounds (farm team of my beloved Oakland Athletics). Social media devotee. Stories on royals and politics catch my eye. Ottawa born. Grew up on Georgette Heyer and Helen MacInnes. I also review at Criminal Element.

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