Long Shot by Hanna Martine
Series: Highland Games #1
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: October 1st 2013
Genres: Romance, Contemporary
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Jen Haverhurst is on the verge of becoming a partner in New York City’s top event-planning company when her sister calls begging for help. The New Hampshire town of Gleann—where they spent many happy childhood summers—is in danger of losing its main attraction, the Highland Games. Jen reluctantly agrees to take over running the Games, as well as helping with their aunt’s failing B&B. But she didn’t count on Leith MacDougall.
Before Jen left town ten years ago, Leith was a summer friend who grew into something much more. Since then, he’s become a legend of the Highland Games, winning three years in a row. Now retired, he’s just about ready to skip town to chase his own dreams of success.
But when Jen tries to convince Leith to stick around and help revive the Games, their youthful romance is revived into a very grown-up Highland affair...
Aimee’s mom was a laze-about alcoholic. In order to try to give them some sort of good memories their Aunt Bev would fly them to her home in Breann, New Hampshire every summer starting when Jen was 8 years old. Right away Jen met Leith and they became fast friends. Every summer after that Jen and Leith picked up their friendship when Jen would arrive and that continued until the summer of Jen’s 18th year. Leith was 19 and they were both working at the same restaurant when they realized that there was more going on between them than just friendship. They became lovers and were inseparable. When the summer was coming to a close Leith didn’t want Jen to leave, told her he was in love with her and asked her to stay with him in New Hampshire rather than go off to college. As much as Jen cared for and yes, probably loved, Leith she just had to go to college.
Now it’s 10 years later and Aimee, Jen’s sister, has asked for Jen’s help. Jen is an event planner and when she finds out from her sister that the woman who was to plan the annual Breann Highland Games has run off with the money that was to pay for the games, Jen comes to the rescue. She has a tendre for Breann in her heart and wants to make this Highland Games the best it’s ever been.
Almost immediately Jen meets Leith once again – hard not to since she’s renting the house next door to his. The old feelings come to the surface for both of them but Jen doesn’t know how it could possibly work with her based in New York and Leith moving his business…possibly to Connecticut but he’s not sure. Jen and Leith eventually come to the heart of what drives them to do certain things in their lives. Jen comes clean to Leith about her mother and the verbal abuse she endured as a kid that forced her to prove herself – leaving for college and getting a great job. Leith finally realizes and confesses that he’s never gotten over his father’s death and this is one of the things that has driven him to move his business out of Breann. There might just be too much standing in the way for this couple to be together forever.
I love Highland Games. I think there are just awesome to watch and I hope one day I’ll actually get to go to one in person. Because of that love of HG’s I snapped this title up when I saw it. I couldn’t wait to see what the author had in store for me in the pages of this book. What I got was a really great story about two people who love each other but aren’t sure they can get past their individual issues and be together.
Leith was such a strong character and I loved reading about his life. He and his dad had been kind of the Dynamic Duo for so long that when he had died a few years earlier Leith had never quite dealt with it. He had taken his belongings from his father’s house and hadn’t been in there since. When Jen asks to look at his father’s photo albums of HG’s in Scotland it starts a domino effect that eventually has Leith stepping up and facing the heartache of his father’s death. This was incredibly emotional for me. I didn’t even know Leith’s father but the way Ms. Martine wrote the story I felt like I did and this caused some tears when Leith was finally going through his father’s house. It was intense, but a good intense.
Jen has some serious issues having to do with her mother and that was understandable considering the way she was raised. Her mother expected her to fail at everything she did and wasn’t afraid to tell her so. Jen needed to prove to her mother and to herself that she wasn’t a failure but unfortunately many things got left behind because of her ambition, including Leith. When she finally starts to take a deeper look at her life she comes to the conclusion that it may be ambitious but she’s not really happy. When Jen finally decides that she’s going to make her life with Leith work it was really great and done in such a “Jen” way. I loved it.
This story was well written and kept my attention from page one. I loved the setting, the family issues, the emotion, the humor and the romance of it all – as well as a bit of my HG’s thrown in as well. I recommend this contemporary romance and will definitely be reading more from this author in the future.
Rating: 4 out of 5
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