Lucy Sinclair was no stranger to pain.
She grew up with three younger brothers, met a bad boy, got pregnant by him, married him, and then suffered through a nasty divorce from him. Pain. That was pain. To top it off, she even had to go through the heartbreaking divorce of her parents. Through it all, she survived. All she cared about was making sure her daughter was happy and taken care of. Despite an ex-husband hell bent on ruining her life, she fought to overcome. She's gotten to the point that she's okay with being just okay. She never cared about herself because she never had time. It was Angie and only Angie she focused on, but that all changed when Benji Paxton offered to help her daughter on the ice.
Benji knew the moment he saw Lucy, he'd never be the same. Especially when she came with a bundle of crazy that was her daughter. His heart wasn't ready for them. After years spent sobering up and finding who he was without alcohol, he never forgot he was being punished for not appreciating the love he had when he was younger. Because of his past, he had gotten used to being alone, a recluse. but even he had to admit it was getting old. He was lonely. Hockey wasn't enough anymore. He wanted a family; he wanted true love, and Lucy and Angie were just that.
Benji and Lucy were just two lost souls.
Floating through life with no purpose.
But finding each other gave them direction, a chance at a future.
And that had them both Rushing the goal to be together.
I expected this book to be good going into it, because honestly I am a fan of Toni Aleo's writing, and her Assassin's and Bellevue series are both favorites of mine. This book met and exceeded my expectations. I loved Benji & Lucy's story.
Benji's not really looking for love, he's still getting over the loss of his family many years ago and his battle with alcoholism. Once he sets eyes on Lucy he knows she's special and so is Angie. He needs more of Lucy.. well more of both of them. This is one package deal he can't walk away from... ever.
Lucy's got her guard up all the time. She's is fiercely protective of her daughter, it's her job and her job alone to make sure they are both okay. Her willingness to sacrifice herself and things in her life to do what's best for Angie made her quite possibly one of my favorite fictional heroines ever.
I love the way the story introduces a child with ADHD and integrates the things that she needs in her life to cope/thrive with this disorder. As a parent of a child with ADHD, I've experienced the stigma that is associated with that label. Lucy's ex-husband's reluctance to accept her diagnosis as a medical issue and not a behavioral issue, infuriated me and made me hate him even more than I did from the start. Benji's quick acceptance of Angie and the almost instant bond he forms with her quickly earned him a spot in my heart as well. I love that he was Angie's friend before Lucy finally opens her eyes to see the amazing man that was falling in love with her as well!
This is not your fluffy love at first sight, small fight, quick make up and happily ever after romance. Both of Benji and Lucy each are battling their own demons before they even meet for the first time. I loved the steady building, yet unpredictable at times plot. It kept me hanging on and wanting more. The character development is spot on, if you like a book that gives you "the feels", look no further. I gritted my teeth, clenched my fists, laughed and cried as this story unfolded before me. I gave Rushing the Goal 5 STARS. I can't wait for what's next from this series and this author!
PS> If you haven't read Toni Aleo's Assassin Series and Bellevue Bullies books so far, stop what you are doing and read them! They are the stuff binge reads are made of! Rushing the Goal can absolutely be read as a standalone book. However, I recommend reading the earlier books in each series. For me knowing the backstory of earlier characters and their family trees made Rushing the Goal an even more amazing read. I love when a series has characters that feel like family. Toni Aleo does a fabulous job of keeping this series addict happy by perfectly inserting past characters into the current story. (PS> Shea Adler will always be my favorite Assassin).
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