Title: Man Down (Rookie Rebels #3)
Author: Kate Meader
Publication Date: July 28, 2020
Genre: Contemporary, Sport Romance
Format: eBook, Print
Rating: 4 Stars
I’ve been texting the wife I lost, the woman I loved beyond measure . . . Now someone else has answered back.
Gunnar Bond is broken.
Three years ago, he lived through the car crash that took his wife and twins away from him—though “lived” barely describes his current state. Giving up professional hockey, going off grid, and drinking himself into oblivion are his coping mechanisms. Another is texting his dead wife about his days without her. Therapeutic? Doubtful. Crazy? Definitely. But those messages into the ether are virtually the only thing stopping him from spiraling to even darker places.
Until someone texts back …
Sadie Yates is losing it.
Suddenly guardian to a little sister she doesn’t know and a misbehaving hound she’d rather not know at all, she’s had to upend her (sort of) glamorous life in LA and move back to Chicago. The nanny has quit, the money’s running out, and her job is on the line. The last thing she needs is her sister’s hockey camp counselor, a judgmental Viking type, telling her she sucks at this parenting lark. Thank the goddess for her sweet, sensitive, and—fingers crossed—sexy text buddy who always knows the right thing to say. In the same city at last, they can finally see if their online chemistry is mirrored in real life. She just needs to set up a meeting …
A ruined man who claims to have used up all his love is surely a bad bet, but Sadie’s never been afraid of a challenge … even one that might shatter her heart into a million pieces.
♦ Personal Thought ♦
It was hinted on the previous book that Gunnar had an awfully tragic story in store. I guess I just didn’t realize how bad that would be. MAN DOWN broke my heart – Gunnar’s story had me sniffling right from the get go. Man, the texts Gunnar sent to his late wife’s number… I tell you, have a couple of handkerchief or a box of tissue close by while reading.
MAN DOWN chronicled Gunnar’s story two years into his self-seclusion, prior to his joining the Rebels and what followed. In alternate POVs, we followed Gunnar and Sadie’s journey to each other amidst involvements of the Rebels community and some people in Sadie’s life. It was a mix of touching and fun – after all, with the cameo of Theo ‘Superglutes’ Kershaw (hero of the previous book) in a number of pages, there’s a guarantee of cheer and hoot in the atmosphere – balancing the upsetting issues of family both Gunnar and Sadie facing with some smexy times and uplifting episodes (that often than not involving Kershaw and the gang).
I have to confess that having little patience for social media influencers clouded my view of Sadie’s portion (of the story) at first. It went without saying I scorned Sadie’s boss yet at the same time applauding Meader for sliding in this present-day and snappy tale into the mix. I also wasn’t keen on her constant self-flagellation and excusing others’ rude behavior toward her person. But her character more than made up for it after the measures she finally took and how she stood her ground.
MAN DOWN devastated me with the journey Gunnar and Sadie – especially Gunnar – had to go through to feel and be happy again. Thank gads for Kershaw who stole the stage and light-up the gloom air repeatedly (that gave me respite from all the sad). But it’s also a beautiful story about healing and self-forgiveness. It is certainly another winning installment to the series. And I’m looking forward to the next book and hoping it’s on a lighter tone, not as soul-crushing as this one. 😉
Copy of this book is kindly given by the author in exchange for an honest review.