After finishing Catching Summer there was no doubt in my mind that I’d be picking up Defending Hayden not only because I wanted to see how Derek’s story would play out, but also Jaxson’s because he was the character that made the biggest, though not best, impression on me. And though I wasn’t as surprised by the twists and turns in the story, I still found to it be a fun, sweet, and sexy second chance at love book.
My heart hurt for Derek at the end of Catching Summer and that feeling was carried over to Defending Hayden as we find out just hard he’s hit rock bottom. But thankfully Derek has a moment of clarity, picks himself up and finds his way back to life and though he isn’t the same guy he was before he is now in a much better place. Derek was sweet, sexy, charming and though he trips up a few times, he makes amends for it and while he knows he’s one of the best players on the team, he isn’t arrogant about it, which was a huge bonus in my book.
Hayden is the really nice girl next door. She’s has her dream job and is extremely dedicated to her furry patients. Her heart’s been battered and bruised and though she’s doing her best to stay out of a relationship she isn’t cynical. Hayden is that girl that’s hard not to like. She’s sweet and does her best to be nice to everyone, even when she should put her foot down.
Their road to their HEA is an interesting one because while I wouldn’t classify it as an insta love situation, it does progress quickly. This could have been an issue, but they do actually take the time to get to know each other, so it evened things out for me. Their bantering was sweet and funny and I really liked that though Derek is push his advantage a time or two, Hayden didn’t let him steamroll over her. Also, the apology was really cute.
The writing was engaging and the dual 1st person POV was done well, but this one dragged just a little bit for me in the middle. There is a little mystery/suspense situation that happens and though I figured out who the perpetrator was early on, it was still interesting to see how everything played out, and Ms. Dover really does a great job at writing socio/psychopaths. I liked that there has been some change in Jax’s attitude and couldn’t help but smile at what he does in the beginning of the book. He still has a long way to go and I’m really looking forward to seeing more of him to find out if he gets a true attitude adjustment or not.
~ ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ~
The Carolina Cougars keep fighting for love as the Second Chances series from bestselling author L. P. Dover continues! In Defending Hayden, a damaged football star teams up with the only woman who can take the pain away.
No one’s tougher than Carolina Cougars linebacker Derek McLaughlin. But when a fatal car accident claims the life of his girlfriend, Derek finds himself caught in a destructive spiral of drugs, alcohol, and meaningless sex. But not even a string of one-night stands can ease the hurt. Football is all he has left. Then fate leads him back to the scene of the crash, and into the arms of a kind, gorgeous woman who sees past his façade to the man he once was . . . and can be again.
When a chance roadside encounter brings Derek into her life, veterinarian Hayden Hunter isn’t fooled by his bad attitude: All bark and no bite, he’s hiding a wounded heart beneath that gruff demeanor. And Hayden wants to be the one to kiss it all better. Soon they both find that a dose of passion is potent medicine. But when a hidden enemy lashes out at Hayden, Derek steps up to do what he does best: put his body on the line in the name of love.
NYT and USA Today Bestselling author, L.P. Dover, is a southern belle residing in North Carolina along with her husband and two beautiful girls. Before she even began her literary journey she worked in Periodontics enjoying the wonderment of dental surgeries. Not only does she love to write, but she loves to play tennis, go on mountain hikes, whitewater rafting, and you can’t forget the passion for singing. Her two number one fans expect a concert each and every night before bedtime and those songs usually consist of Christmas carols. Aside from being a wife and mother, L.P. Dover has written over nine novels including her Forever Fae series, the Second Chances series, and her standalone novel, Love, Lies, and Deception. Her favorite genre to read is romantic suspense and she also loves writing it. However, if she had to choose a setting to live in it would have to be with her faeries in the Land of the Fae.