Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “You seem to have lost your panties again.”
“Oops. I bet that happens a lot around you.”
Rachel Gibson is an auto buy for me. From her smexy Chinooks to her crazy Writers Friends series, Ms. Gibson gives me everything I need in a contemporary. Romance, laughter, engaging characters, and a realistic life altering lesson. In her 6th Chinook Hockey book, Any Man Of Mine, we meet Autumn Havens and Sam LeClaire. Autumn and Sam meet in Las Vegas and proceeded to have a 5 day sex filled romance that ends when they get married and Sam disappears leaving Autumn alone and pregnant. She hears from him a few weeks later when his lawyer send her divorce papers.
Now 5 years later, Autumn has her life just the way she wants it. A beautiful son and a successful business. The thorn in her side? Her ex husband Sam La Claire. She has never forgiven him for Las Vegas and now he’s back in her and Connor’s lives trying to be a better father. But Autumn knows what Sam is. And she knows that sooner or later he will be bored and go back to being a carefree player with a girl on each arm and she will be left to pick up the shattered pieces of hers and Connor’s hearts.
Ms. Gibson’s Any Man Of Mine is a sweet, funny, romantic contemporary that deals with love, heartbreak, and second chances. Smooth pacing with a viable storyline that places you right back into the lives of the Chinooks. In here we watch two people who think their only connection is their child try to deal with the fact that their connection goes far deeper. The characters in here are all delightfully flawed and realistic. The story line is written in a smooth and enjoyable conversational style but with an under current of realism as her characters react and engage as you or I might.
Autumn Haven is a single mom whose life revolves around her son and her business. Intelligent and matter of fact, she has finally buried the anger and hurt at what transpired between her and her Sam and now only wants to him to be a better father to their son. When Sam begins to send more time with Conner and therefore Autumn, she denies her growing feelings. She may have come to terms with their Vegas adventure, but she has never forgave him.
Sam is a sexy, carefree hockey player that plays as hard off the ice and on. Marrying Autumn scared him to death so he did the only thing he could-he ran. He loves his son and takes good financial care of him but he is not the most attentive father. With an ego to match his huge build, in the beginning he can’t understand why Autumn is so mad at him all the time. He is concerned only with his life. As time goes on, Sam begins to see that there are more important things then poker, strip clubs, and super models.
He has never forgotten Autumn and when he runs into her again at a wedding he begins to wonder why he married her and why he left.
As Autumn and Sam begin to slowly reconnect, you know instantly that the chemistry still burns hot and bright-but there is a lot Autumn and Sam need to resolve and settle. I like that they do not even try to have a relationship in the beginning. They start out fighting as Autumn tries to get him to be more responsible towards Conner and Sam wants her to stop being so controlling.
“Well sweetheart, I never said I wasn’t irresponsible. But your too controlling.”
“He’s my son.”
“He’s my son, too.”
“He’s your son when it’s convenient for you.”
“Well, it was convenient today. Get over it.”
I really enjoyed how Ms. Gibson doesn’t give us an easy fix to their relationship. The characters have to work hard to repair the damage to their lives and hearts. You can feel the anger, resentment, confusion, and hurt rolling off of them. They both have a real problem coping. The emotional baggage that Autumn and Sam carry needs to be addressed and Ms. Gibson allows that to happen in a realistic manner. Ms. Gibson also brings up some very valid points concerning divorced parents sharing custody. It’s painful as you watch these two struggle to learn about each other for real this time and find a way to forgive each other and themselves.
I really liked Autumn and Sam. I completely understood Autumn’s anger towards Sam and her fears about letting him back into their lives. What he did in Vegas was unacceptable and she has a right to her feelings. Sam was just as enjoyable though very smack-able at times. His arrogance is outstanding but not a complete turn off. And while he isn’t hit with a sudden “OMG I’m a jerk” epiphany he does show he is able and willing to change.
We see many old friends from the Chinook team here. Autumn is not only planning Ty and Faith’s wedding but also the twins’ weddings- Small Boss and Mini Pit. It’s a little sad when everyone on the team runs into Autumn and Conner. Nobody knew Conner was Sam’s child or that he had been married. I was a little put out with him after that.
Vince, Autumn’s brother, plays a huge part in the story. He’s been there for her and Conner every step of the way and thoroughly hates Sam. Sam feels the same way about him. The insults they trade in the book are hilarious. Ms. Gibson alludes to a secret on him so I really hope we get a story for him.
Conner is an adorable 5 year old and Ms. Gibson portrays him perfectly.
The ending is wonderful and satisfying in that our couple comes to terms with the past and look towards the future. Any Man Of Mine is a delightful addition to the Chinooks Hockey series and I look forward to reading more.