I was really excited to read Grinder by Samantha Whiskey when I saw that it combined a few of my favorite things in romance novels. Not only did it involve a sexy hockey player, but he was a single dad and the heroine was his best friend! This one had all the signs of being a book I would love because it was ticking all the right boxes for me. Unfortunately the story didn't quite live up to my expectations or hopes and I ended up being disappointed here. If you don't want to see any spoilers you might want to stop here, as there are some things that bothered me that might spoil some parts of the story. I wanted to give reasons behind my opinion for those that might have the same issues, and unfortunately the only way to do that is to just lay it out there so proceed at your own risk.
After the woman he thought he would spend the rest of his life with walked out on him and their daughter, Gage McPherson has vowed to never fall in love again. All he needs is his daughter and hockey. When his childhood best friend graduates from college and is in need of a job, Gage hires her to be their nanny, looking after Scarlett when he can't. Bailey is the only one besides his mom that he trusts to take care of her, and she immediately fits in perfectly with their little family. But both Bailey and Gage want more, though Gage isn't willing to give them a chance. Can Bailey show him that the three of them belong together and are worth the risk for a future together, or will Gage continue to push her away because he is scared of her leaving him like everyone else has?
I really wanted to love these characters and there were times that I did like them. I will say though that for Gage and Bailey supposedly being best friends from childhood, they had zero connection. It felt like these two had just met when Bailey took the nanny job and as though they had been strangers before that. There was nothing showing that these two supposedly had this strong connection and unfortunately that made it hard to really buy into things here. I also hated the fact that while there was technically mo cheating here, we had to endure the hero with other women as he paraded them in and out of his house not only in front of Bailey, but also in front of his three year old daughter. We along with the heroine had to hear about the loud sex they had, and it just rubbed me the wrong way. While he did stop once he admitted he had feelings for Bailey, he continued to make comments about how OW hit on him and wanted to have sex with him. It was just hard to get over while he continued to push Bailey away due to his own insecurities and fears. Not only did he push her away, but he was dead set on her being the one to give things up for them while he was unwilling to do the same. It made him come off as selfish, so even when he changed later on it was a bit too little too late for me.
The other thing that really didn't work for me was the fact that this three year old (while absolutely adorable!) that was turning four and was five in the epilogue, was able to speak in full coherent sentences and could read documents far advanced for her age. Even being a very smart five year old, I just couldn't believe some of the things she would say or do especially in the epilogue when she was able to read the adoption papers that said Bailey was going to be adopting her. There were just too many things that were unbelievable and felt far too advanced for even the smartest kids her age. Overall, this is one that I really wanted to love but just couldn't. There were too many things that didn't work for me and unfortunately even the parts of the story that I did like fell a bit flat. It was predictable and there really wasn't anything new or different here. I did like the guys on Gage's team, and I might give their books a shot. If you are looking for a quick sports romance and don't mind some of the things I mentioned, I recommend giving this one a shot. While this one didn't work for me personally, that is not to say that it won't be a story you enjoy.
**ARC Provided by Author**
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