My name is Kimberly and I'm the reader/reviewer behind Wit and Sin. Wit and Sin is a website that provides honest reviews and publicity. I primarily read and review Romance titles, but I also review Urban Fantasy, New Adult, Young Adult, Mystery, and Non-Fiction titles. In addition to Wit and Sin, I am a reviewer for Joyfully Reviewed (pen name: Shayna) and Romance Junkies (pen name: Lily).
Victoria Denault blends romantic fantasy and messy, complicated reality with great results in The Final Move. Devin Garrison has always wanted a wife and a family, but the perfect life he set up for himself is falling apart. Now going through a divorce, Devin is on the brink of getting lost in a downward spiral. Luck is on his side, however, and it brings Callie Caplan back into his life. The Garrisons and Caplans have always been close, but almost no one knows that Callie and Devin almost started something a long time ago. Callie needs a place to stay while she’s in town for work and Devin is happy to help her out, especially when she puts a stop to his self-destructive behavior. What he doesn’t count on is their old attraction flaring back to life. Callie doesn’t do relationships, so Devin will have to convince her to overcome her fears and take a chance on him.
I love a good hockey player hero, and Devin is an interesting, flawed one. There’s a core of sweetness to him when we first meet him in the past and I loved that about him. He loses that – understandably – when we get to the present and he’s going through a divorce. Devin’s life is in shambles and he doesn’t take it well, going through alcohol and women right in front of Callie. It’s not pleasant to read about and I was often frustrated with Devin. However, because I’d already been hooked on Devin from the beginning of the book, Ms. Denault had me rooting for him to pull himself out of the hole and become the hero I was hoping for. And when he did, The Final Move really took off.
Callie sees Devin at his worst and best and doesn’t flinch. She’s a strong, sassy heroine with a generous heart she’s terrified of risking. Callie has seen her family members devastated by heartbreak and doesn’t want to have that happen to her. Devin is the one man who has ever gotten past her armor and he and his young son grab her heart before she even knows it’s happening. I adored Callie and wanted to see her find the love she so deserved.
Devin and Callie have explosive chemistry and The Final Move definitely heats up once these two get together. But the road to happily ever after is filled with obstacles, Callie’s fears and Devin’s relationship with his soon-to-be-ex chief among them. Devin’s divorce is a major factor and I like that Ms. Denault didn’t sweep this under the rug, especially considering there’s a child involved. The one issue I had with this part of the book is that toward the end, Ms. Denault seemed to keep comparing Ashleigh, Devin’s ex, to Callie in order to make Callie look better. As a heroine, Callie does just fine standing on her own and almost pitting them against one another doesn’t do the story or the characters any favors.
The Final Move is the third Hometown Players book, but it can be read as a standalone. All the Caplans and Garrisons play supporting roles, which will no doubt charm fans of the series. There was a lot I enjoyed about The Final Move – Callie as a heroine, the mix of sweetness and spice in her relationship with Devin, hot hockey players – and it’s definitely a story I sat back and thought about for a while after I finished it. Whether you like sports romances in particular or just enjoy a good love story with flawed characters, The Final Move should definitely entertain.
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.