Title: Defending Hearts
Series: Boys of Fall #2
Author: Shannon Stacey
Release Date: October 27, 2015
The New York Times bestselling author of Under the Lights presents a novel of past triumphs, present challenges, and future happily ever afters…
They were the golden boys of fall: Stewart Mills High School’s legendary championship football team. Fourteen years later, they’re back to relive their glory, save the team—and find themselves again…
Globetrotting photographer Alex Murphy returns to Stewart Mills for a football fundraiser, but stays to document the football team and the town’s changes. Since his project includes photos of the Walker farm, he rents a room there.
Needing money to save the family farm, Gretchen Walker doesn’t have time to deal with the sexy photographer in her house. After all, Alex is a man with no sense of home, and to her, home is everything. But when she finds herself falling for him, she’ll be forced to decide where her dreams really lie…
I love having a go-to author that I can always rely on to bring me a sweet romance. Sometimes, in the rush of the real world, all you really need is a little escape into a small town and a little old fashioned true love. This series began in the first book with the graduated high school alumni’s gathering to save their small hometown's high school football program. Defending Hearts picks up not long after the first left off, so it gives us an insight into how everyone has been doing since reuniting, and in some cases, falling in love.
Alex, jet-setting, danger laughing, high profile photo journalist was such a genuinely good and likable guy. He becomes part of the family almost immediately—helping with the dishes, liking the dog, humoring Gram. How can you not like a man who loves the dog and the grandmother? He's considerate, he respects Gretchen, and even admires her! Gretchen was a good match for his adaptability because of her unwavering personality. She was a determined sort, and as such, the kind of woman who makes happen the things that she wants to happen! When the two decided to come together and finally acknowledge those sparks flashing between them, it's sexy and sweet.
Another favorite of mine was the lack of overblown angst. Par for the course, Alex and Gretchen have things they have to work out to be together. There's a little heartbreak going on when they think these things are going to be insurmountable, but it's not over the top. It's adult, and it felt very real. There is almost nothing I like better in a book than adults being adults. It keeps things much more realistic, and makes it easier to stay immersed in the world.
I also love the town! There were visits from the quirky citizens, conversations with the bigger secondary characters, such as the Coach and his wife, and what looks to be a well-executed build-up to some of the underlying plot lines, and the main romance for the next book—the kind of build-up that adds to the main story while making me anxious to read the next one.
I love being immersed in a series that makes me feel like part of a community, like part of a little world all its own. Like part of the family. This is Shannon Stacey's talent, and I am grateful!
~ Review by George
Shannon Stacey, a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, lives with her husband and two sons in New England, where her two favorite activities are writing stories of happily ever after and riding her four-wheeler. From May to November, the Stacey family spends their weekends on their ATVs, making loads of muddy laundry to keep Shannon busy when she's not at her computer. She prefers writing to laundry, however, and considers herself lucky she got to be an author when she grew up.