It’s going to take more than summer loving to heal old wounds, but a remote beach, old friendships and a bit of sunshine might just spark a second chance at love.
When Jennifer Gates drives to Sea Breeze Golf Club to kick off date-night with her boyfriend, the last thing she expects is to find Golf Pro Jack giving one of his lady students a private—and very personal—lesson in bunker-play.
Lucky for Jenn, her best friend gives her the keys to the Culhane family’s beach shack on the white-pepper shores of Western Australia’s Geographe Bay. Jenn hopes a weekend on the coast with her young son will give her the space she needs to rebuild her confidence after Jack’s betrayal.
But she’s not the only person seeking sanctuary by the sea. Brayden Culhane is there too, and Jenn can’t look at Brayden without remembering the tequila-flavoured kiss they shared on the shack steps years ago.
As long-buried feelings are rekindled, and a friendship is renewed, Jenn knows it is more than lazy summer days bringing her mojo back. Romantic sunsets, ice-cold beers and the odd round of golf can only go so far, because this time trusting Brayden with her heart won’t be enough. Jenn has to learn to trust her body, too.
When Jenn catches her partner Jack screwing one of his golf students, she flees to her friend's beach house with her small son. There she hopes to find some beach-side peace, but she also finds Brayden Culhane, whose company does more for her than mere sea breeze ever could. She has a lot to work out, though, before she can let herself fall in love.
I was very hesitant about reading this novel because: sports. I just don't like it. When people talk about sports, all I hear is white noise, so sports romance is frankly not my thing. I was assured, however, that despite the title there is not too much sportsball impeding on the plot of Fairway to Heaven, and I am pleased to report that this is true. Hurray! There's a little golf towards the end, but hardly enough to detract from what is a seriously worthwhile read. In fact, I have to admit I particularly enjoyed one scene when Jenn tries out a new club set and revels in the feel of the shaft beneath her hands. Who knew a stick and balls could be so much fun....
Unfortunately, Jenn hasn't had much action either on the golf course or in the bedroom in recent times, thanks to the douchebag father-of-her-child, Jack, as well as her pesky "dodgy vagina". After finding Jack cheating, though, she's more worried about how to pull her life together so she can look after her son Seb. She isn't sure whether it's best for Seb for her to return to Jack, a question which is made all the more difficult with the appearance of Brayden.
Brayden is the boy who got away, or ran away, so far as Jenn sees it. But now he's back in her life he's a charming and sexy distraction from her problems. Brayden has his own issues to deal with, but he doesn't let that stop him from trying to help and encourage Jenn to resolve her own.
It takes a while for Jenn and Brayden to meet (or re-meet, since this is a second chance romance). We don't get our meet-cute until Chapter Four, and I have some mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, that's just too long to wait for the hero and heroine of a romance to meet (for me, anyway). When I read a romance, the story really starts with the romantic trigger and it's at that point that I become committed to the novel. However, Jenn's story is much more than her romance with Brayden. Her separation from Jack and her plunge into single motherhood is as much what this novel is about as the romance. The separation, Jenn's emotions, and her stress about how to move forward with her child are dealt with so well by the author that I was absorbed and compelled to read on right from the start, romance or not.
It is a romance, though, and in the context of the above it has the potential to seem a bit rebound-y. But it's not. Jenn and Brayden have loved each other for years, and as soon as they see each other sparks are once again flying. It's not all fiery lust (though there's plenty of that), but also a rekindling of friendship that creates a sexy, sweet longing between these two.
The best thing for me about this romance was the way parenting was treated. There are, of course, many romances about single mothers, but a lot of the time in those I feel like the parenting, and even the child, seem to get forgotten as the romance takes over. In Fairway to Heaven, the parenting of Seb is not simply part of Jenn's story, but an integral aspect of her developing romance with Brayden.
There's a realness to Lily Malone's writing that I really enjoyed. I don't mean that in a gritty-emo-real way (this novel is much more humorous than gritty), and it's not just the parenting aspect. It's just... life, with all the shitty ex, baby eczema, beans on toast sorta stuff that comes along with it. Plus the benefit of a romantic fantasy with an HEA fairytale ending, which somehow fits into that sense of reality, making this novel a really lovely ride.
I recommend Fairway to Heaven to anyone who enjoys contemporary romances about single mothers, but who might like a little more reality slipped into the usual mix.
Fairway To Heaven by Lily Malone is a contemporary romance, (re)released by Escape Publishing on April 8 2015.
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More from Lily Malone on Love Reading Romance:
What’s in a name? by Lily Malone - Guest Post