By Molly O’Keefe
Book #3 in the Crooked Creek series
Now the producers want this poster child for bad behavior to undergo an on-air makeover, and Billy, who has nothing to lose, agrees to the project. It’s his only chance to get near Maddy again, and to fight for the right things this time around. He believes in the fire in Maddy’s whisky eyes and the passion that ignites the air between them. This bad-boy heartbreaker wants a last shot to be redeemed by the only thing that matters: Maddy’s love.
Billy Wilkins was traded to the Dallas Mavericks, an NHL hockey team and he's miserable. The coach doesn't believe in his rough playing style and Billy is resisting change. Madelyn Cornish wants nothing to do with him following her surprise confrontation with him at Victoria's party but she's being forced to because her producers have put Billy on her show as part of a short term makeover project. No one knows of their history and that he's her ex-husband.
I wasn't excited about reading this story as Billy seemed to be a bit of a wreck in the earlier books. Well, this turned out to be my most favorite of the series.
Billy IS a wreck but not for the reasons I thought. Instead of being just a wild man on hockey skates, brutal for the sake of the fight, Billy was expressing his anguish in the only way he knew how. When he and Madelyn ended their marriage, it seemed it was a choice he was ready to make. We learn so much more about this man, what led him to ultimately destroy his marriage and his relationship with Madelyn and the toll it ultimately took on his life.
Madelyn expressed her pain caused by the demise of their relationship so completely differently. She reinvented herself, becoming a glossy on air professional who was the picture of perfection, never losing her cool or displaying any extreme emotion. She was a brittle woman with no meaningful relationships in her life but on the surface appearing to be a model of success in her business.
This is a heart wrenching story as both Billy and Madelyn have to give up their protective shells in order to find their own hearts and the way back to each other. At times it is excruciatingly painful to experience but the payoff is huge. Billy's family unwittingly plays a significant role in their reunion as well. It all plays out in the midst of both of their careers, forcing them to reassess what is really important in their lives. I ached for both of them individually and for their fractured relationship. I really admired Billy for the risks he ultimately took to get this woman back and how vulnerable he was willing to be, publicly and privately.
I'm so glad I didn't put off reading this book. It was tough, funny, steamy, sad and romantic with an ending that was so very satisfying. I don't often read a story that has me be quite so emotionally strung out and it pushed me to my limits. It was a perfect ending to an extraordinary series and this story will always be one of my favorites.