Jami Davenport writes a romance between a single dad and the nanny who reforms him into a good parent. Yes, there’s considerable character development for the Hero. The Heroine really doesn’t require much maturing except for learning to trust. Which with the Hero she’s dealing with is a serious uphill battle. I really did enjoy this installment in the Game On in Seattle series. I wish the Hero’s “issues” were more clearly defined as being due to his step-mother’s “brain-washing”. The emphasis comes across as self-serving and selfishness on his part. It seems the biggest impact his step-mother left on him is a serious dislike of heat. Because of the Hero’s “whining” about his lose of “freedom” and womanizing lifestyle the pace feels a bit ponderous. He constantly wants to screw anonymous women ad nauseam. Luckily the characters are really likable; charming, funny, and vulnerable. The Hero is cheekily adorable.
Martin “Brick” Bricker’s the goalie for the Seattle Sockeye hockey team. He’s a four year member of the team with a reputation of the hardest partier and a voracious womanizer. It’s a lifestyle he’s proud of and has not desire to stop. The Heroine’s Amelia Stacey, a college graduate student and she works at her sister-in-law’s day care center. She hates her sister-in-law and doesn’t trust her. She’s happy to take a temporary nanny position when it’s available. Amelia’s extremely distrustful of men due to a horrible experience with her ex; leaving Amelia with emotional and physical damage. She doesn’t trust men, especially, to be interested in her beyond her looks. When it comes to Brick dislikes him as a person despite being wildly attracted to him. No matter how hard she tries. She especially can’t walk away from the five year-old girl who was left on his doorstep.
After a long night of partying Brick is awaken by loud pounding on his apartment door. When he checks the peephole he doesn’t’ see anyone. He opens the door anyway and finds a little girl with huge brown eyes. Then hears the squeal of tires tearing out of the parking lot. She asks if he’s Mr. Brick and he confirms that he is. Upon hearing that she flings herself onto his legs and yells, “Daddy!” Brick’s horrified and is convinced it’s a mistake or a sick joke. He immediately calls his agent demanding he come over immediately. Once his agent stops laughing Brick demands a paternity test denying the possibility that he could be the father. Despite the fact the little girl resembles him and looks just like his sister. The agent recommends he get the girl into daycare since he has hockey practice and look for a nanny.
Brick tries to dump Macy on his mother then his sister but they’re busy and can’t help. He goes to the neighborhood daycare facility asking to enroll the little girl temporarily. He’s convinced the tests will confirm he isn’t the father. Amelia works at her despise and self-absorbed sister-in-law’s daycare. Brick asks for temporary nanny recommendations especially one who can work 24/7 during his away games. Although she isn’t thrilled to work for the conceited man she jumps at the job. Upon meeting the little girl, Macy, they connect immediately and Amelia’s instantly captivated. She hates that Brick doesn’t want Macy around because he wants his lifestyle of freedom, partying, and women back. Amelia especially dislikes his constant sexual come-ons and pick-up lines. His disregard for the little girl, she can clearly see is his daughter, makes him unattractive. But her body says he’s sexy as Hell.
Even though Macy is living in his apartment Brick continues to go out partying with his teammates. Amelia gets increasingly fed up by his behavior and tells him that he has responsibilities for his daughter. Brick continues to deny that Macy is his daughter. Macy picks up on Brick’s rejection and stops calling him Daddy. Passive-Aggressively Amelia takes Macy shopping for clothes and some toys. She buys a huge handmade stable set, several horses, and accessories. Amelia then places it in the middle of Brick’s bachelor pad living room. Brick gets the DNA results which confirm he is indeed Macy’s father. Now he wants to try to be a good father and has no idea how to do it. It doesn’t help that Macy’s emotionally cut him off and doesn’t call him Daddy anymore. Which oddly enough really bother’s him.
Brick does make attempts to be there for “Family Night” dinner and outings. But caves under the peer pressure of his still partying crew of teammates. This confirms to Macy that Brick doesn’t want her and frustrates Amelia. Ironically it’s one of Brick’s drinking buddies who tells Amelia and Macy about the team’s Family Skate Day. Amelia fumes that Brick himself didn’t invite them but they do go. When they go Brick dreads having to teach his daughter how to skate. He winces when, while he’s leading her around the rink, when she says “This is boring.” However his jaw drops when she goes skating across the rink performing jumps and other skills like a pro. When Brick asks Macy who taught her how to skate like that she tells him her mother.
Until then Brick couldn’t remember who Macy’s mother was, only that the note Macy had with her said she died. When Macy tells Brick her mother was a skater coupled with Macy’s age he remembers who her mother was. He and Amelia do some research. They learn that Macy’s mother was killed in a car accident on the off-ramp leading to Brick’s apartment. She died trying to bring Macy to meet him. Brick’s riddled with guilt as he remembers details of that day. Brick struggles between hanging out with another single dad on the team, and his drinking crew. But since he met, and eventually kisses Amelia he can’t get interested in having sex with random puck bunnies. After he and Amelia begin a sexual relationship they start trying to have a more family-like home atmosphere.
Brick’s mother arrives stateside and declares she’ll take full-custody of Macy. Brick hears his step-mother’s voice telling him he isn’t serious enough to be a professional hockey player. He’ll never be a responsible adult. He’s torn and doubts he won’t tire of being a “family guy”. Even though Macy’s finally calling him Daddy again and his and Amelia’s relationship’s strong; he’s afraid it won’t last. Brick never tells his mother he wants her to take Macy; nor does he tell her he wants Macy full-time. He just ignores her calls and texts. One evening Brick gets a 911 call from one of his buddies and skips out on Amelia and Macy. His mother shows up to take Macy and Amelia tries to keep her there until Brick returns. Amelia has to go and deal with a family emergency as well. When they return to the apartment Macy’s gone.
I really did enjoy reading “Goaltending” unfortunately I found the Hero’s long-lasting immaturity level extremely irritating. Good thing he’s adorable. The five year-old Macy is not too mature nor too baby-ish. She’s the perfect balance of precocious, vulnerable, and mature-beyond-her-years due to all she’s lost. Macy, Amelia, and Brick’s good moments make up for a multitude of sins. Amelia’s fabulous when she resists the obnoxiously cocky Brick. But when she submits to him completely, the timing and the situation are perfect. Jamie Davenport fills the cast with wonderfully amusing and endearing secondary characters. Brick’s Russian best-friend Rush has personality plus and his teammate Matt who’s also a single dad is wonderfully likable. Amelia’s best friend Vi is outrageous and ridiculously “out there” I anticipate we’ll be seeing more of them soon. This is the first Game On in Seattle series book I’ve read and I’m intrigued enough to read more.
I’m giving “Goaltending” 3 Lightning Bolts and a Storm Warning.
This novel was provided, voluntarily read, and honestly reviewed.