K.A. Tucker

✮✮✮ 4 STARS ✮✮✮

Cath’s poor life choices when she was a teenager left her pregnant and desperate. Thanks to the kindness of the owner of a truck stop diner she has been able to survive. More than six years later she still works there, barely making ends meet for her and her daughter. 

On the way home from a terrible date she saves a man’s life who is stuck in a crashed car. And with that her quiet life comes to an end. The man she saved is no one else than star hockey player and son of a Hollywood star Brett Madden.
After her high school drama she tried to stay low-key. Saving the life of celebrity isn’t conducive to flying under the radar but she does everything she can to keep her name out of the press. Until she is outed from an entirely unexpected direction.

Brett is devastated after the accident. His best friend didn’t survive and the backlash of the crash makes his life even harder. Not only the injuries he suffered – will he ever be able to play hockey again? – but also critical voices because his team buddy was speeding are things he has to tackle each day. And on top of it, the person who saved his life doesn’t want to be found and he wants nothing more than to thank her. When they are finally face to face he is entranced – by Cath’s beauty, her resilience, the way she cares about her little family. And most of all he loves that she doesn’t take advantage of him being a celebrity, although this time, his fame might be an obstacle.

“I’ve never had trouble making friends or finding girlfriends. But it’s always been harder figuring out exactly why they’re there. They say they don’t care who my mom is, or who I am. But everyone’s secretly angling for attention or money, or both. You, though . . . you really aren’t looking for either. Who I am seems to be working against me with you.”

I loved that Cath was strong. That she realized the mistakes she made. That her poor choices made her cautious of making the same ones again but I think she was a little too hard on herself. She is an amazing mother, her choices reflect on her child (who was more perceptive than she thought), and she is very aware of that. She doesn’t permit herself more than friendship with Brett, who is so so obviously falling for her. Cath has to consider the consequences that come with dating a famous person and maybe losing him in the end.

Wondering what kind of example I’m offering my daughter. A mother who has perpetually sad eyes. A mother who hides behind her fear. A mother who has forgotten how to let herself love. A mother who everyone keeps touting as brave but who isn’t, really. Not at all.

Add to that her general aversion of attention and she is more than on the fence about it. I found this a tiny bit exasperating because it was obvious that Brett cared for Cath and would protect her and her child with everything he had.

Brett *cue dreamy sigh* He is a wonderful man, generous, kind, with a boyish and playful streak who never let his and his mother’s fame change him. He is as down-to-earth as the guy next door. Brett shields Cath and helps her handle the press – he is a pro after all. He is so patient with her, so careful to give her space and time to come to terms with it all, I don’t think you will find a more considerate man. 

“It’s not just the media, Brett.” I wish it were.
“Then what else? You have to tell me.”
“What do you mean, why?”
He chuckles. “Because I’m crazy about you and you won’t even answer my calls. I need to know how to fix that so you’ll give me a chance. Please.

The relationship development leans towards a super-slow burn. About 65% of the book you don’t get much interaction between hero and heroine, it all focuses on Cath. I would have loved to see a bit more of them together. The story touches on a serious subject – men preying on teenagers and using them to get their rocks off  – and I appreciate that the author approached it with sensitivity. 

The side cast adds to the multidimensional story and I loved Lou, the owner of the truck diner and her husband Leroy in particular. Cath’s relationship with her brother was a thing of beauty.

I would have loved a proper epilogue – we got a HFN but I was told I’m tougher on epilogues so this one might be perfectly OK for you! There was a little last minute drama that I found could have been handled a little earlier in the story.
The writing was excellent and the story draws you in from the first page. It is poignant with very well fleshed out characters. I enjoyed Until It Fades a lot and I am looking forward to reading other books by this author!

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