Although this is the 3rd book in Romancing the Clarksons it can easily be read as a stand alone. Now let me say this “Hang in there, if you feel anything like I did then the first part of this book can be hard to get through and you won’t like Elliot!” But if you just keep going and push through the second half makes it all worth while.
This book is intense in a lot of ways. It’s hot and sexy and not a book I would read it public as it had me squirming a bit. It’s also gets a bit uncomfortable with Elliot’s Catholic guilt. Peggy is a senior in college and Elliot is the football coach who’s wife just died. Elliot and his wife didn’t have a good relationship at all and he wasn’t there when she died. When Peggy inspires such strong emotions (emotions he didn’t have for his wife) in him so shortly after the death of his wife he doesn’t handle the guilt at all well. He thinks of Peggy as a temptation and a sin and the way he treats her isn’t pretty. Thank goodness we get this is flashbacks spread out throughout the first half of the book because to be honest if I was reading it real time I don’t think I would have stuck with the book and I’m so glad I did!
This book starts 3 years after the end of Peggy and Elliot’s relationship when she comes back for Alumni week. The connection/chemistry between Peggy and Elliot is instant but Peggy is back with a plan. She wants to get Elliot out of her system and to make him miserable and regret breaking up with her. Through the first half of the book we see Peggy pursuing Elliot and through the flashbacks we see just how much pain Elliot caused Peggy and the repercussions of that in her present. Just as Peggy starts to find her closure and accept that Elliot is bad for her, he wakes up and realizes with the help of his 12 year old daughter that he has been an idiot. The second half of the book the tables have turned and Elliot has to fight for Peggy. He has to prove to her that he can be the man for her and that the past was his failure and not hers. He sets out to show her that she is a wonderful woman and that he not only accepts his feelings for her but doesn’t want to live without her. So the Elliot I didn’t like became a character I was rooting for and I ended up loving him.
I love a good second chance romance and when a hero is as big of a jerk as Elliot in the first half I want to see him grovel. This book did that in spades. Elliot had to work hard to get his second chance and Peggy didn’t instantly forgive him. At the same time, Elliot’s realization that his actions due to his guilt because of his devout Catholic beliefs had truly harmed Peggy and his remorse was beautiful. Sometimes the timing of meeting someone is just wrong and that was the case in this book. Elliot wasn’t ready for his feelings for Peggy and he wasn’t ready to let go of his guilt. This book is a beautiful picture of getting through the tough times to find the wonderful at the end.
An emotional and satisfying book! I give it 4 charms.