Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “It’s high time we got someone to remove that stick from your ass. And then spank you with it.”
Matt Erikkson hasn’t had a very good year. Recently divorced, his ex-wife’s toxicity is really taking a toll on his self-esteem. Texting with HTE (aka Hottie) from Fetch is fast becoming the highlight of his days. When Matt needs a favor asap and calls on Fetch for help, he is hopeful that the pretty blond he sees on his apartment security cameras is none other than his “hottie” and he decides then and there it’s time they met in person.
Hailey Taylor Emery, co-owner of Fetch, a virtual assistant site, is pretty sure her favorite hockey player is also the flirty client she loves to text with-Sniper87- but her recent divorce, innate shyness, and the anonymous clause Fetch promises clients keeps her from taking a peek at his file. When he sends her some primo hockey tickets as a thank you, she is both elated and freaked out.
As Matt and Hailey spend more time together, they soon find they are a perfect match from the ice rink to the bedroom, but when Matt’s ex-wife’s non-stop accusations have him running for the stands, Hailey will have to dig deep to convince her man to stay in the winners’ box with her.
Stay is the second book in the sports romance WAGS series; co-authored by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy. This lighthearted second chance romance reveals a funny, smart, and sexy story that builds around two genuinely likable people who were each blindsided by divorce and are a little fearful of reentering the dating game. Well written with a strong storyline bolstered by individual plotlines that are tailored to show Matt and Hailey’s own individual trials and triumphs. Engaging narrative and strong characterization will keep you firmly enticed as you watch this couple unknowingly fall head over heels in love. While the atmosphere of the story isn’t terribly deep or serious, Bowen and Kennedy do expertly incorporate the perils of divorce, celebrities, and the difficulties in dating and building a romantic relationship when kids and a toxic ex are involved.
A meet cute involving a dog, an overly curious dog walker, and an absent owner\ brings Hailey and Matt face to face though they have been flirting through texts for over a year with one another. Hailey co-owns a virtual assistant company, aptly titled Fetch, with her ex-husband, Jackson. I love the concept behind this company. Fetch offers clients all the perks of a personal assistant without any of the hassle. Everything from standing dinner reservations to a 911 call for lube, this company does it all and does it anonymously.
“… I’m off to buy batteries for a client obsessed with his penis. Later.”
Hailey hasn’t had the easiest time of it. Raised by an abusive mother, she escaped by marrying her childhood best friend and the only man she had ever been intimate with. When he surprises her with divorce papers, she and he part amicably because she too feels the lack of connection between them but she finds herself questioning her life and future once she realizes she hasn’t moved on since the divorce. I loved that Hailey is written in a realistic fashion. No heavy emotional baggage or traumatic past she is unable to get over. She worries about the same things the readers might and isn’t prone to melodramatic indulges.
Matt is a sweetheart. A straight shooter and home body who knows he wasn’t the perfect husband and regrets any pain he caused his ex-wife, but he also knows he isn’t the horrible person or bad father she seems determined to paint him out to be. Now in his thirties, the hit and quit it mentality of his younger single days has been replaced by a dad to twin girls who is more interested in quality over quantity.
The story itself is pretty straightforward in its delivery. There is a nice balance between the romance and this couple’s separate lives. We see Hailey in her own environment, working and doing things with her friends while Matt plays hockey and spends time with his kids. Matt and Haley are so easy to relate to. Hailey’s love of hockey is interesting as it gives her and Matt more in common but also causes Matt some misgivings in the beginning. Is Hailey with Matt the man or Matt the hockey star? Bowen and Kennedy really dig deep into this couple to show us their joys, fears, wants, and needs as they experience the ups and downs that are all part of life. They aren’t perfect by any means; both are plagued by uncertainty but the authors deftly handle their concerns and miscommunications with a smooth hand and very little drama. The narrative is offered in dual points of view, which I always enjoy because it gives readers the ability to see what they are both thinking during key moments.
The romance moves at a steady pace both sexually and emotionally. It takes a little while for Hailey to deal with the fact that the Matt Erikkson is interested in her. She is unsure and it shows but it’s super cute to watch her try to come to terms with it. Her inner monologue is hilarious. Matt has to deal with his own insecurities towards relationships in general and make sure Hailey understands he is a package deal with his kids always coming first. Magnetic chemistry and some steamy love scenes with no huge hang ups or guilt attached were nice to see. I love a couple who enjoys each other in and out of bed as this couple definitely does.
“I warmed up to you the day we met. Melted for you the second you kissed me.”
A variety of personable secondary characters offers back story, continuity, and LOTS of humor to the storyline. Matt’s girls are adorable and Hailey’s interactions with them felt natural. I didn’t feel as if these kids were mere plot muppets added to enrich the storyline or cause conflict. Matt’s relationship with his ex was sad but it too plays out organically. Hailey has a wonderful bestie who offers the best advice and a kick in the pants when needed and I liked that Hailey and Jackson’s friendship survived despite their divorce. Matt’s teammates and the WAGS are both voices of reason and the best cheerleaders around. We get plenty of interaction with the team and past couples which will delight fans this series and the Him series. Hailey finds a kindred spirit in Blake’s mom who I adore!
“GET ‘EM BLAKEY! CARVE HIS TURKEY!!”
“YEAH!” I belt out. “DROP ‘IM LIKE A DRESS ON PROM NIGHT!”
Stay will certainly delight fans of this series and entertain new readers who enjoy fast and fun sports romances with some spice in the bedroom. While this can be read as a standalone, there are interactions and references to past books and characters. I’m certainly looking forward to book three-title and release date to be announced.