The Last Shot
by Sarah Hubbard
Genre: Contemporary Romance/ New Adult
As a child I was unwanted and unloved. Tossed aside until my maternal grandmother came to claim me. Life got better after that, and it got better still when I met Ethan Michaels, the boy down the street who was determined to make me feel like I mattered. At first he was my friend, but then he became much more. But love isn’t real. Not in my world.
When Ethan left to pursue professional hockey I had to make a clean break. I couldn’t wait for him to find someone better, couldn’t wait for him to break my heart. It’s better to leave than be left. But now he’s back, and I can't run from him anymore.
Worse…he won't let me.
Annie Fraser owned me as a kid. She owns me still. When I got my first contract to play professional hockey I asked her to come with me, but she wouldn’t leave Rawdon, not while her grandmother was sick. I understood. Still, I wanted to stay together, do whatever I could to keep her.
But she wanted to run.
I loved her enough to let her.
Now I’m back in town and I’m pissed. I think I hate her. I’m sure of it. Until I see her… and those old feelings come rushing back. I won’t let her walk away again. I don’t care what it takes.
I want to defend Ethan, because Charlie's on the outside looking in and I don't like him thinking that Ethan is...whatever he thinks Ethan is. He can't know how Ethan helped pull me from the darkness that consumed me when I first came to this town. He made me smile, for the first time after my mom abandoned me. He spent all of his time just being there for me, loving me, making me feel like I mattered. On the outside and to the press he might look like a jackass but I know better. They only see the self-destructive Ethan. They don’t get to see the side I see, the side he seems to save just for me.
★✩★✩★ 5 – Second Chances at it's Best – Stars ★✩★✩★
~this review MAY CONTAIN minor spoilers~
The boy I loved all my life would never have let me leave him. He would have come back for me. Would have fought for me. I know it's awful to have broken up with him yet hoped for this but I needed something back then...something to reassure me that he was in it for the long haul. Set something free and see if it comes back. Isn't that how the saying goes? Anyway, he didn't come back. He stayed gone.
The is the second book I have read now by the fabulous Sara Hubbard (the first being inCAPABLE) and I'm just as enamored with her as I was before. While both books were vastly different in story, the writing remains the same and it's her characters that really drawn me in. She gives us people who are flawed, far from perfect, relateable and completely lovable. They could be someone you know, someone you could, and probably are, friends with. A neighbor, a co-worker, a family member – and while it's true that some usually have a dark, and sometimes violent side, they are still very much human. Jumping POV's between both main characters also help you connect to them on a deeper level, helps you feel their hopes and fears and understand the decisions they make, the reactions they have to certain situations. Ethan's temper is volatile and tends to get triggered a hell of a lot easier than some, but when you learn of his past, you get it. Annie has spent so much of her life being unwanted, pushed to the side and left behind, that she doesn't know how to just let herself be loved – which is what causes her sever insecurities and what has her pushing Ethan away in the first place. What kills me is – he let her. He knew what she had been through, knew what she was doing, but pride and hurt wouldn't let him see past his own pain. All it takes is seeing her again after three years for everything to come rushing back, and this time he refuses to let her go. THAT is my favorite kind of second-chance romance. He knows what he wants, knows what has been missing in his life, and will do whatever it takes to get it back. He knows she loves him too and will be the strength she needs to help her fight her demons, weather she wants him to or not. The chemistry between the two never faded, time and distance wasn't enough to put out the fire that burns in each of them for the other. From start to finish, it was an amazing journey of forgiveness and finding their way back to each other, packed with emotion, tears and laughs. As an added bonus we get Ethan's brother Manny. That guy was a freaking riot and damaged in his own ways. I would LOVE to see him get his own story. As for Ethan & Annie – if you love a good second-chance romance full of heart, heat, healing and some pretty amazing characters, then download this book now and see why I have come to love this author so much in such a short time.
She owns me. It never ceases to surprise me how much. I don't even care if she feels it as deeply as I do because what I feel is enough for the both of us. Somehow, I don't think this is one-sided. I think she gives me everything she can and it's enough. More than enough. Her damaged heart let me in and only me.
Sara Hubbard is the author of romantic fiction. Her debut novel BLOOD, SHE READ released fall 2012 and was a NEORWA Cleveland Rocks winner and a RCRW Duel on the Delta finalist. Her first contemporary novel, Beautiful and Broken was an Amazon bestseller. Sara lives in Nova Scotia, Canada with her two children (four if you count her husband and her needy labradoodle) and works as a registered nurse.