When sensible schoolteacher Ella Lucas rides into her home town on a Harley and seduces the resident football hero, Jake Prince, she figures she can be forgiven and move on. After all, she’s just buried her mother.
Two years later, back in the city, their paths cross again but this time Jake is in the process of destroying her favourite dive bar. With her home facing a wrecker’s ball, her school being closed down and her 15-year-old brother hell bent on self-destruction, it’s the last straw. Throw in a dominatrix best friend who is dating a blue ribbon guy so straight he still lives at home with his mother, it’s no wonder the sanest person in Ella’s life is a dog.
With all this to contend with, the last thing Ella needs is Jake back in her life. But, as fate would have it, Jake is the only chance she has to save her school.
As the school football season heats up, old secrets threaten to surface and Ella takes on greedy developers, school boards and national tabloids. But can she save not just her home, her school and her brother, but also the reputation of the man she’s never been able to forget? And, more importantly, does she want to?
Holding Out for a Hero is a quirky, heartwarming tale of unlikely romance, friendship and family.
Ella’s teenage years…hell, her whole childhood was no bed of roses. Her mother was looked down upon by the whole town, and as a result, Ella was tarred with the same brush. She loved her mother, but the moment she could, Ella flew the coop and left town.
Jake’s life was also never easy – his father, the local publican, was an inveterate drunk and gambler. He acted out, and if not for football, his life would have slid down the same slope.
When Ella’s mother passes, she returns to town only to have her life turned upside down. The discovery of a teenage half-brother and the knowledge that the town’s small-mindedness had not changed in all those years causes Ella to do something entirely out of character. She seduces Jake and walks away, thinking that is the end.
But it’s not. A dodgy pub, a collection of bizarre friends and a school full of students no one cares about come together to show Ella and Jake differently.
I loved this book. I’ve been looking forward to reading it since Amy mentioned that she was publishing this with Momentum. It was most definitely worth the wait.
Ella and Jake’s chemistry is fantastic. Both have suffered for the sins of others, and recognise in each other a kindred spirit. Sure, they aren’t perfect, but that’s what is so wonderful about them/
OK Amy, I’ve got to say WHOA! Jake is smokin’ hot! Not only because he wears his Captain Sexypants so very well, but because he gives a toss about people and despite his alpha status, he wasn’t a complete alpha-hole! There’s something pretty damn sexy about a man who is protective of the people around him, even those he doesn’t really know.
I saw someone say they thought Ella was narrow-minded and emotional, but when you’ve been constantly struck back by people and their intolerance all your life, I think she’s entitled to a little emotion. I love that she defends the right of her students to have a good education, that she’s doing her best to raise her brother and that she’s managed to stay largely sane while doing it.
The supporting characters in Holding Out for a Hero are magnificent. Rosie and Simon, a more different couple you couldn’t find – but oh so perfect. Cameron – he is exactly what I would expect a teenage boy who’s had a rough trot to be. Pete was wonderful, but my absolute favourites were Rosie’s aunts – everyone needs ladies like that in their life.
The relationships and dialogue throughout the story always ring true, and I found myself riding the bumps right alongside them, hoping that everyone’s happy ending would arrive.
Oh, and I tell you, people, I too would like to take the clippers to the hair of the teenage male of today. I cheered. Thank you for your service to the community, Jake (no matter how fictional).
My rating: 4.5 out of 5
Release Date: 15 October 2013
Note: I was provided with an advanced reader copy of this book by Moonlight, an imprint of Momentum Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.