book review

Defending Hayden by L.P. Dover

9781101967829

***Received ARC from publisher via NetGalley***

The seventh book from L.P. Dover’s Second Chances Series, this book continues the story from Catching Summer, following the tragic death of Carolina Cougars linebacker, Derek McLaughlin’s girlfriend, Brianna. Not only was this loss devastating to Derek, but learning of the loss of their unborn child as well was pretty much the nail on the proverbial coffin. Lost and hurting, Derek couldn’t help but lose himself even more in booze, drugs, and a revolving door of meaningless one-night-stands. When all is said and done, he realizes that nothing is helping to ease the pain, and all he wants to do is to get back to the only thing left in his life that matters — football.

Still having a rough time transitioning back into reality, Derek meets sweet and loving veterinarian, Hayden, who inevitably brightens up his days. When things get messy at Hayden’s clinic, Derek will stop at nothing to make sure he doesn’t lose his second chance at love.

I hate to say this about a series that I’ve come to enjoy so far, but this was a little bit of a let-down for me. I was highly anticipating the release of this book, and when I was given an ARC from NetGalley, I was ecstatic! I felt so much for Derek in Catching Summer, and I was hoping to see a little more of Derek’s journey towards healing. It seemed like the story just jumped from his downward spiral at the end of Catching Summer to suddenly coming back to the Carolina Cougars with a renewed sense of self. To a certain extent, the writing felt a little lazy to me. When the characters from all the previous stories were so well-developed, Derek and Hayden were both lacking the depth I’ve come to expect and appreciate.

That being said, it still turned out to be a light and sweet read. I still enjoyed seeing how much Derek has changed, and though he didn’t make me swoon so much, I wouldn’t count him out of the running for book boyfriend material. And even when things escalated between Derek and Hayen pretty quickly, there was still no denying the chemistry.

Overall, it wouldn’t make it to the top of my must-read list, but it’s definitely worth a consideration if you’re looking for a quick pick-me-upper.

Rating: 3 stars

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