Series: Willow Park #1
Published by Zebra
Publication Date: March 31st, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Buy Online: Amazon ♥ Barnes & Noble ♥ Kobo
Disclaimer: I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book. All opinions stated are solely mine.
In this evocative new series from author Sarah Hegger, a woman returns home after a long absence—and wonders if two wrongs really can make a right…
Nine years ago Lucy Flint ran away to Seattle, taking her friend’s boyfriend and leaving her high school sweetheart without a word of explanation. Now she’s back in Willow Park, Illinois, to help care for her ailing father—and it’s no surprise that her ex, Dr. Richard Hunter, is still angry.
Still, she’s a different Lucy now. Sober, wiser, ready to make amends to the long—make that very long—list of those she mistreated during her wild younger days. Falling for Richard all over again would mean wreaking havoc in both their lives and possibly squandering her opportunity for redemption. But here, in the place where everything went wrong, is the one person who always felt right, and a second-chance that could be the best mistake she ever made…
A slight shift in the light was all the warning she got before a warm hand closed over hers. Lucy dropped her iPod and he reached out quickly and caught it. Adele sadistically launched into a heartrending chorus. Tell me about it. Lucy sniffled.
Richard’s mouth moved, but all Lucy heard was Adele wailing away enthusiastically. His eyes were bluer than a clear sky and Lucy sank, came up for air, and then sunk all the way down to the bottom.
His mouth moved. He frowned, shook his head, and plucked the earphones from her ears. “These things will make you deaf.”
“Is that your considered medical opinion?” She was proud she could still come out with the wisecracks. Given that she truly wanted to disgust Gloria Steinem and the girls and fling herself against his manly chest and have him sweep her away to the happily-ever-after place.
“What are you doing?” Prince Charming asked with a frown.
“You have to ask?” Lucy looked pointedly at her shovel.
“Lucy.” His mouth tightened. “It’s the middle of the night and you’re shoveling snow?”
“Did I wake you?”
“Not with the shoveling.” Richard pushed a hand through his hair, making it stand on end around his head. “You look like you need a friend,” he said softly.
“Is that what you are?” Lucy heard her voice wobble dangerously and cleared her throat.
“Or something,” he muttered, and took her arm. “Come on.” He took the shovel from her hand and propped it against the side of the house. “Let’s be sleepless together.”
“Not a good idea.” Lucy dug in her heels, but he tightened the grip on her arm and tugged her a few steps forward.
“I don’t care,” he said, and hauled her a few more steps. “I don’t give a shit right now.”
And just like that, Lucy realized she didn’t give a shit, either.
He took her silence as agreement and kept her hand in his as he walked them through the silent garden to his house.
“Coffee?” he asked as he hung up his coat and reached over for hers to hang it beside his.
“No,” Lucy answered, pulling a face. “I would like to sleep at some point.”
The dim light of the entrance hall danced across the strong lines of his face. He cupped her chin and turned her face. “You’ve been crying.”
“A bit,” Lucy murmured.
His hand on her face was warm and gentle, but it sent a shaft of longing arcing through her body. She shifted away and dropped her head. Needing to move, she padded restlessly into the house.
“What is it?” He caught up with her on silent feet. “Is it last night?”
“Not really.” She didn’t have it in her to outright lie. “Something happened, earlier, and I . . .” She trailed off and followed him into the kitchen. She almost laughed. This kitchen had seen a lot of action since she’d been back in town.
“Tell me,” Richard urged her softly.
“I hurt someone.” She pulled out a seat and sat.
He went very still above her. “A man?”
Lucy nodded and looked down at the floor. His bare feet stuck out the bottom of his pants. He must have just pulled on his boots when he spotted her in her crazy wee-hour mania.
“Not really.” Something in his tone made her look up. His gaze was trained intently on her face. The muscles of his jaw bunched.
“You sure you want to hear this?” Of all the things she and Richard could discuss, another man must be close to the top of the awkward list.
“No.” His eyes bored into hers, as if he were trying to see past her face and into the center of her. “Tell me anyway.”
“His name is Elliot and he’s a really good man.” The pain in her chest unraveled slightly and she dared a bit more. “He’s been amazing to me. He picked me up when I was at my lowest point and helped me get sober. He’s one of the good guys.”
“He loves me and wants more from me. I don’t feel the same.”
Richard flinched, the slightest crease around the corner of his eyes.
“It isn’t the same,” she addressed the thoughts she could almost hear whirling around his brain. “Elliot is not you and I was always honest with him.”
“Really?” His skepticism rubbed salt on an open wound.
“I never loved Elliot.” Lucy hissed in a breath. “I never pretended to love him either. He . . .” She was making a mess of this. “Why don’t I tell you the whole story and stop you from leaping to conclusions?”
She thought he might refuse and then his face relaxed slightly and he dragged out the chair beside her. “Why not?”
It was not exactly enthusiastic, but Richard was still listening.
“I met Elliot when I first went to Seattle,” she said. “He was the perfect catch for me at that time. He had money, he was good looking and just that bit older to want to take care of me. I used him.” She hated even admitting it. “Until I found something I liked more. I was drinking, heavily, and Elliot was a bit too grown up for me. Then I ran out of money, got scared, and went straight back to Elliot.”
Lucy managed a dry laugh. “And he took me back. He asked me to stop drinking and I did. I didn’t stay for long,” she said, shrugging. “I found someone more exciting, more like me, and I left him again.”
“The prick with the fists?”
“That’s the one.” Lucy grimaced. “Then I got sober and Elliot has been waiting for me to get serious about him. He’s been hanging around for me, all this time, and I had to let him go.”
“Wow.” Richard blew out a soft breath. He spun away from her and stood staring out the window into the dark. “There’s a whole team of us. The men who never get over Lucy.”
Sarah Hegger is a new-to-me author but the blurb caught my interest and I was expecting to read a light, fun story of a mean girl’s redemption and a second-chance love. What I got was a raw and emotional story that deals with the very difficult issue of alcoholism and by the end of the book I felt like I had just gone through a hurricane.
Lucy Flint is a recovering alcoholic and has returned home to Willow Park for the first time after she left nine years ago, to help her mother with her father’s care. When she left town all those years, she did so under a cloud of scandal and her return gives her an opportunity to make amends to the town for all her hurtful and destructive behavior.
Richard Hunter is the nice and good guy with a killer body and good looks. He was Lucy’s teenage love whose heart she broke when she left town all those years. Now Richard is all grown, lives right next door and is her parents’ doctor. With both Lucy and Richard in such proximity, the sparks re-ignite between them.
I was completely drawn into this story because of Lucy. She is an amazing character who did not let her past keep her down. She grew up with an abusive father and a cowering and weak mother and with such parents, it’s no surprise that her self-esteem took a hit that led to her drinking and uncontrolled behavior. Nine years later, they had gotten worse and Lucy was brave and strong enough to deal maturely with them instead of trying to find the answers at the bottom of a bottle.
It’s not an easy thing to boldly own up to mistakes and ask for forgiveness because of the fact that the responses cannot be controlled, but Lucy had to face her demons and a lot of the people in town had very long memories and were not willing to forgive that easily. I hated that almost no-one could see the new Lucy, but that she was being judged and found wanting based on her past and some people just took pleasure in striking out at her.
NOBODY’S ANGEL is a must-read that highlights so many difficult issues but what struck me the most was the responses of some of the people Lucy apologized to. The anger and vitriol had festered for nine years and it spilled out in vengeful ways. It made me realize that trying to atone for past behavior does not come with a guarantee that the gesture would be accepted. One just has to take a chance and hope for the best. At the end, I was all for her leaving Willow Park for good and never returning. The ending was a little too abrupt for me and I wish that it had been extended a little to wrap up the story properly.
All in all, NOBODY’s ANGEL is a great story of redemption and getting a second chance at first love.
Includes: (1) $20.00 Amazon Gift Card, (3) $10.00 Amazon Gift Cards, Five Print Copies of NOBODY’S ANGEL (Or Digital for Int. winners))