A Perfect Distraction
by Anna Sugden
(Harl. Super #1874, $5.75, PG) ISBN 978-0373-71874-0
Hockey is a love of mine and Anna Sugden does well with the scenario she has written. Jake Badoletti is known as Bad Boy and for years he has been a force in the National Hockey League. But Jake was in a car accident where his best friend and teammate died and he has been recuperating from both physical and emotional injuries. He is back in his home of New Jersey to make a resurgence and with a goal of winning the Stanley Cup in memory of Adam.

Maggie Goodman is an Englishwoman who is visiting her sister Tracy. She too is recuperating – from an abusive marriage to a well-known English soccer player. For years she was the darling of the paparazzi and a big party girl. But the birth of her daughter convinced her she needed to change and when she tried; her ex decided she was not falling into his plans. He started with hurting her but when he almost hit his daughter, Maggie had had enough. She is slowly rebuilding her life and is determined to protect her five year old daughter.

Much of the story is as one might expect. Wary Maggie, vulnerable yet macho Jake and a little girl who loves life despite the trauma she suffered as an emotionally abused child. Maggie is working for her sister and therefore is working for Jake as his move consultant – helping him find a house and then a gym. Throughout their time, both fight the attraction and are resolute in their determination to maintain their distance. But they like each other and the forced interactions lead to more friendliness. Their decision to take their relationship forward is thoughtful and mature. This helped to make the story believable.

This is Anna Sugden’s first book and it is worth the time to discover this new author. I look forward to more of the stories of the characters she introduced here and I encourage you to pick up A Perfect Distraction. You will not regret it.

--Shirley Lyons

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