Cassandra, Cassie, James is a single mom of a six year old boy, Benji. She’s been burnt in love and even though her happily married best friend, Gina keeps trying too hook her up, Cassie hasn’t found anyone she’s interested in. To support herself and her son, Cassie works two part time jobs. Cassie also coaches tee-ball in her somewhat limited spare time. She’s known to be a good coach and excellent with children.
Dr Ethan Quinn is new to the area. He’s always wanted to work in private practice and when the opportunity came up, he made the move with his young daughter, Lizzie. Ethan’s wife died when Lizzie was just a baby. Ethan’s good friend and co-worker, Dr Julian Rivera told Ethan to make sure Lizzie was on the team Cassie coached as she was such a good coach. Ethan wasn’t sure what he was expecting but Cassie definitely wasn’t it. He was in a disagreement with her almost immediately!
The more Ethan watches Cassie, the more he wants to get to know her. Their children speed things up when Benji invites Lizzie over for dinner. As the adults talk, they find that they have similar problems being single parents. One of the biggest problems is going solo to family activities. So, they agree to team up as activities partners so neither will have to attend these activities solo.
When Cassie asks Ethan to come with her to a local club where she wants to participate in a contest but where she’s had previous problems with a stalker, will all this outside of kids’ stuff push them closer? And is that stalker still around and will he cause problems? As their lives intertwine, Cassie and Ethan find more and more in common but will it be enough when Ethan’s father makes Ethan an offer that few could resist?
This complex love story has more issues, problems and complexities than your normal run of the mill love story yet is done so well that instead of distracting from the story, they enhance it. Few people make it to their 30s without some sort of baggage. Cassie and Ethan are no different. They have both loved someone else hand have children from those relationships. They both have job issues as well. Helpful friends aren’t always helpful and though it doesn’t cause major problems between Cassie and Ethan, they are from different racial backgrounds. All these things are mixed up to come together in a wonderful story that reflects real life and seemly real people.
Because the characters are so well developed and have such depth, they feel as though they are people that you might run into almost anywhere or maybe at your local tee-ball game! There are conflicts as well as a lot of interactions with other characters giving all of the characters a neighborhood feel. You get to know the after school caretakers as well as the school principal. As you stroll through the bargain stores with Cassie and Ethan, you know what furniture they like and what their opinions on things are. Each interaction gives a more well rounded feeling to each character and you begin to see their lives and world more clearly.
The author knows the area she set this story in well. She has you walking the streets and knowing where each house, store, park, etc is located. She lets you know about annual summer events such as a free week at the museums and lets you know about participating ones. She describes the lake, the area around it and a pier going into it. You even learn where the local Cheesecake Factory is! This was excellent and I greatly appreciated all the detail she gave to this without making it boring.
I found myself so wrapped up in this story that time slipped away from me. I actually ended staying up way past when I usually go to sleep and I still didn’t want to put this book down.
While some people may have problems with racially diverse couples, I find that they are only a reflection of today’s society where many couple come from diverse backgrounds which made it a none issue for me.
Cassie James is an African American single mom who has just about given up on the idea of love. Dr. Ethan Quinn is of English descent, a widower who recently moved from Boston to Chicago with his daughter. Both meet at a tee ball practice, and realize they have a couple of things in common—they’re single parents and their social lives are on life support.
Hitting it off, the two decide to become activity partners—attending each other’s events and helping each other out with babysitting when need be. The two become more than friends, and their past begins to haunt them both. Cassie is faced with the prospect of trusting and loving again. Ethan knows about love, and wants to love her, but also has to face the fear of having and losing love.
Word Count: 91,000
Heat Level: Sensual
Genre: Interracial Contemporary Romance