Published by Carina Press on February 1st 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Barnes & Noble
All work and no play makes Adeline Kendrick a dull girl, so when she heads to a casino resort for a friend's bachelorette weekend, she's ready to have a good time. Until she runs into Brendan Quinn, professional fighter and the one who got away—the one her family drove away—and things take a turn for the interesting.
Running into his ex won't shake Brendan. Even if it brings up the old pain of loving her when she was only slumming. Even if she looks really good. In fact, what better way to get over the past than to take advantage of the still-sizzling chemistry running hot between them? He's there to win an MMA fight, but he won't say no to a little physical relief of a different kind.
But when the weekend is over, Adeline isn't ready to give up her second chance that easily. Brendan is still the one for her, no matter what her family thinks. Now, if only she can convince him of that…
A Fighting Chance is a charming, short second-chance romance. Second-chance romance is one of my favorite tropes, and Shannon Stacey is one of my favorite contemporary authors, so this was an automatic buy for me. Adeline (Del) and Brendan were in love six years ago, but he broke up with her (over the phone) without much explanation and they haven’t seen each other since. Until now. He’s an MMA fighter at a casino in Connecticut for a fight, and Del is there for a bachelorette weekend with her two best friends.
I would have liked to see a little more of their previous relationship. This is a novella, which generally means a little less back story and a little less character development, and I thought it hurt this a little. I didn’t really get a sense of why they were so important to each other in the past, so much that neither of them has moved on in the six years since they’ve seen each other. They’d both dated, but only casually because they couldn’t get over the other. There was a ton of chemistry here, and their connection was clear, but I didn’t get a sense of what it was based on other than a shared history.
I thought the pieces of the story with Del’s family were the weakest part. Apparently her family is the indirect reason Brendan broke up with Del six years ago. No one in her family came out and said “You’re no good, get away from Del or else”, or tried to buy him off, they made it clear to him that the difference in their upbringings meant Del would never be happy with Brendan, so he left her. Once Del found that out, she and her dad had a few conversations about it that I thought went well, if a little too easily. Unfortunately, I found myself agreeing with her dad when he said “If he really loved you back then, one conversation with me shouldn’t have been enough to run him off.” But Del held her own, calling her dad out when he completely discounted her ability to make her own decisions about her life. When her dad mansplained to her that if she and Brendan had stayed together, they’d be married and have a few kids by now, and would be struggling to make ends meet, and how her cute little handbag addiction would suffer because of Brendan’s inability to make money. Del told him in no uncertain terms that even if they’d gotten married, they would just now be starting to talk about kids because she still would have wanted to finish her degree and get her career built first. Good for her. He may have covered it with “I was just looking out for you”, but it was bullshit.
I liked this. I didn’t love the ending; I thought every wrapped up a little too easily, but that’s another thing that tends to happen with novellas. And I’d like to express my appreciation to Angela James and the team at Carina Press who have started putting alerts in the front of the ebooks letting us know that the story will end at the 70% mark and the rest of the file will be a preview of an upcoming book.