Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
Cole Whitaker is happy. He has the job and boyfriend he always wanted. His heart’s in no danger of being broken, and he can’t ask for more from life. As a kindergarten teacher, he sees it all; however, one troublesome student has him reaching out to the parent, wanting to help. There’s something about Savanah that tugs at his heartstrings.
He never expected her father.
Zander Brooks hasn’t had an easy life, and he’s made some mistakes. Freshly retired from the military and working as a firefighter, Zander thought he’d left Cole in the rearview mirror. He’s not expecting him to appear in St. Petersburg, Florida, of all places, teaching his daughter’s kindergarten class. Suddenly, his biggest mistake is being shoved in his face.
This is Zander’s chance to close a door he’d never fully shut, but time with his former flame might change his mind.
Meg Harding has done a great job with Accepting the Fall. Its enjoyable so many levels. You have the lovers reunited storyline and the second chance at love, which are always favorites of mine. Plus Zander Brooks, one of the main characters, has been handed the unexpected role of father in the fiery, troubled form of five year old Savanah Emerson, dropped of by her mother with her birth certificate and a wave goodbye. So we have a father/daughter new dynamic in play as well. So many layers here in this story and the author does a beautiful job of weaving them in and out, juggling the new/returning romance with the demands of new fatherhood.
The other mc? Cole? He just so happens to be Savanah’s kindergarten teacher, dealing with an angry child with abandonment issues and just maybe her father as well. Here Cole and Zander must pry apart their past issues before they can move forward, both as lovers and for Zander, as a parent. Harding brings in a terrific counselor, one I would wish for in many a school or child in this situation. Through the counselor, Harding gets to work through all the emotional issues of child abandonment/abuse and its repercussions on children now and into adulthood (with Zander). Its handled with sensitivity and impact.
I loved the romance here as well. Cole and Zander have issues to work out, so while the attraction is as strong as it was in the past, they work into it, also mindful of the child in the middle. Plus they are hot, hot, together.
Ah, Cole, he’s a wonder of a character. The teacher everyone would have wanted in kindergarten, with a house and yard full of rescued animals, Cole also has a past beyond Zander, one that bugged that heck out of me. Why? Because with the hints, mentions of it, and an actual “I’ll tell you later” which never happens”, we don’t find out what happened to him. It’s the main reason this book didn’t get a 5 star rating. There’s this HUGE mystery about Cole, it’s mentioned repeatedly throughout the story and I kept waiting for the bomb to drop and it never did. Then I thought, ok, there’s going to be another story after this. Nope, we got an Epilogue which sort of eliminated that. So why bring it up at all? You have a great story, leave unanswered things like this out if you aren’t going to resolve them. Or don’t make them such a big deal. Either way irritated the heck out of me and still does.
So minus that narrative kerfuffle I mentioned above, I loved this story. It’s sweet, heart-warming, romantic and layered. It’s one I definitely recommend. Pick up Accepting the Fall by Meg Harding and get started today.
Cover art by Black Jazz Design doesn’t really speak to the story, the age of the characters or anything. Meh.
Kindle Edition, 286 pages
Published June 8th 2017 by Oceanside Press