Also by this author: Irresistible You, So Over You
Also in this series: Good Guy, Instacrush
Series: Rookie Rebels #3
on July 28, 2020
Genres: sports romance
Tropes: Grief, Loss
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Buy on AmazonBuy on Audible
Cliffhanger: No


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.

I have read quite a number of books by Kate Meader and I liked them all. But you know what’s thrilling? When you find your favorite book by an author you are familiar with. MAN DOWN is hands-down her best story yet and I felt so much joy reading about Gunnar and Sadie.

You would think that a story about a widower who lost his wife and children in a car accident must be really depressing. I will say this: the flashbacks were sad and the foreboding of the tragic end caused my windpipe to close up at times. The story itself is emotional but Kate Meader loosens up the hard parts by the on-point banter between Gunnar and Sadie.

I adored their story from being accidental text buddies to (unbeknownst to both) enemies and then friends with benefits. Gunnar’s inability to admit that he’d already lost his heart to Sadie made for some well-placed delicious angst. I loved him so much. He was a family man through and through and his grief was tangible.

“We started talking and I started looking forward instead of back. Forward to your bad jokes and check-ins. Forward to waking up instead of longing for the night to come. Forward.”

Sadie could have easily come across as a doormat but I never thought her weak so kudos to the author for making me see that things are never clean-cut. Yes, her little sister was a little annoying with her rudeness and passive aggression but Lauren was a teenager who’d not only lost her mother Zoe to cancer but her dad went to prison and she had to live with a sister she hadn’t talked to her whole life. Sadie hat kindness in troves about her, and although she was fluid in sassy speak she was also a gentle soul.

It must be so hard to write a book about a widower. The challenge is to make the reader believe that the new woman in this man’s life is worthy and never second best. The connection must be so that in the end we know that the hero’s love is as strong and true. Kate Meader succeeded with flying colors. Gunnar was stuck in the past until he met Sadie. She managed what no one else could – she took his hand and guided him out of the darkness, little by little.

 “I wasn’t expecting this—you—and it took me by surprise.”

This can definitely be read as a standalone but I think you’d get a kick out of all the cameos of previous favorite characters. Especially Dante and Theo’s appearance were highlights for me. Their wisdom and friendship, their support gave me life.

MAN DOWN is gut-wrenching emotions paired with this author’s wit and so beautifully romantic that I flew through this story. Definitely a must-read!

I won’t lean on you for everything but if I could rely on you a little …” He squeezed her tight to him. “Maybe you can keep my heart safe.”

About Kate Meader

Originally from Ireland, Kate cut her romance reader teeth on Maeve Binchy and Jilly Cooper novels, with some Harlequins thrown in for variety. Give her tales about brooding mill owners, oversexed equestrians, and men who can rock an apron or a fire hose, and she's there. Now based in Chicago, she writes sexy contemporary romance with alpha heroes and strong heroines who can match their men quip for quip.





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