By: Marianne Rice
Book 1: McKay-Tucker Men Series
Heat Level: 2 FLAMES (Mild)
RATING: 3 STARS
Reviewed by: Kristin Arpin
High school principal Meg Fulton and her daughter are looking for a fresh start in a small New England town near where Meg grew up when she is offered a great opportunity at a high school known for its football team whose stars graduate without the basic reading and writing skills necessary to survive after football. Her new plans for the school conflict with ex NFLer, high school football coach, Connor McKay and his winning football team. Meg unknowingly befriends Connor’s sister who also has a daughter the same age as well as Connor’s mom who owns the horse stable where her daughter has been riding since moving to town. Connor’s mother, the town matchmaker, sets them up on a blind date together, neither knowing who they were going to meet at the restaurant. Finding they enjoy each other’s company outside the school and Connor enjoying the challenge of getting past the mile high emotional walls Meg has set up, they agree to spend more time together as long as no one at the school knows. Eventually and with the patience of a saint, Connor finds out about her tragic past and why there is no father in her daughter’s life but Meg makes him work for everything.
This novel had a lot of potential but I felt that there was too much time spent on every day activities and interactions that did not help develop the plot or the characters and not enough time explaining why a muscular and intelligent former NFL star would work so hard to pursue well-dressed but frumpy sounding woman. It was understandable why she would find him attractive but early on in their relationship, Meg treats Connor poorly by making him wait to show up at his own parents’ Christmas party to ensure no one knows they are together and then ignoring him the entire time making it hard to understand what he sees in her to put so much effort into pursuing her. There should have been more focus on him possibly realizing she was hiding something big from him and the intellectual enticement that provided him kept him going.
That said, the story had several very touching moments and entertaining relationships such as Meg’s relationship with her daughter or her friend in New York with a unisex name who turns out to be a gay man with access to many expensive designer clothes who keeps Meg and her daughter well-dressed that make the story worth reading. It also provides a good back drop for the other 2 stories in these series that are better written. Reading this novel first is not necessary but does help explain who all the people in the town are and their relationships with each other. I do still recommend this novel because it is nice to see someone who has gone through so much in her life get what she deserves.
Ex-NFL player turned high school football coach Connor McKay is well loved by all…except by the sexy principal who wants to make changes to his athletic program. Intrigued by Meg Fulton’s beauty and intelligence, Connor doesn’t mind going head-to-head with her. When he and Meg are set up on a blind date, he’s finally able to open a crack in Meg’s high emotional wall and see the caring woman inside. What Connor doesn’t expect is that his buddy and ex-teammate is the one responsible for Meg’s wall in the first place. To choose between a one-time brother and the woman he’s fallen hopelessly in love with, Connor will make the riskiest play of his life.Always the misfit growing up, newly hired high school principal Meg Fulton uses a fashionable wardrobe and a sharp tongue to keep men at a safe distance. After a drunken, abusive experience in the back of a Chevy as a naïve teen, she became a single mother with a tough hide…until Connor McKay walks into the picture. She can’t stand him. He’s a sports-loving alpha male––no thanks! Meg has a good reason to hate jocks. Been there, done that, much to her regret. But as her path continues to cross with Connor’s, and attraction heats to a boiling point, Meg learns there’s more to Connor than biceps and a tight rear end. Things are heating up with them, when someone from her past threatens to tear them apart. Meg runs for cover…and from Connor. It will take a leap of love for Meg to shed the scars of her past and let love into her life.