REVIEW: Season of Us by Pamela Sanderson
Sunny. Sexy. Sweet.
Shelly Paige has never been one to take risks. Even less so since the loss of her husband. She’s content to stay in the town she grew up in, surrounded by the safety of family. A lost dog leads her to a handsome young athlete and the possibility of new adventures. Can she put the past behind her and take a chance on love again?
Zach Carrey is a professional soccer player still finding his way in the high pressure sports world. Unfamiliar town. Tough coach. And he’s had heartbreak of his own. The sweet and sexy widow is the calm presence he didn’t know he needed. Can he convince her he’s worth the risk?
Dear Ms. Sanderson,
I’ve been eagerly waiting to see what you’d write now that you’ve finished the “Crooked Rock” series. Then I remembered that I had this book, one you’d written before them. Wow – this is what I needed right now. Cute, lovely, funny, emotional, heartfelt – reading it felt like slipping into a hammock and rocking the afternoon away in a warm breeze with an occasional slurp across the face from a loving dog.
Shelly Paige comes home to find a dog in her front yard doing what you don’t want a dog to do in your front yard. Steeling her heart and memories against the obviously lost animal does her no good (as she knew it wouldn’t) and soon she’s at the vet’s office where the microchip leads … nowhere. Shortly after, she gives into her sister-in-law’s urging and gets out of the house for pretty much the first time (other than work and food shopping) since The Event. That’s when she finds the “lost dog” poster at the local pro soccer stadium and calls the number.
Astounded when two of the athletes she just watched play arrive at her house to pick up “Dewey,” Shelly tries to covertly admire them (not as pervy as this sounds) up close while still being laid back. She’s obviously older than they are (one of them calls her ma’am) and imagines both have women lining up around the block. Zach is overjoyed to get his dog back and (seemingly) shyly grateful to Shelly for finding his girl. Soon the two are seeing more of each other but Shelly is still thinking that they’re just friends while Zach is cutely trying for more. Does the relationship have a “best use” date or will these two be willing to see where it might lead?
I know nothing about being around a professional athlete or much about soccer but I love how it’s shown here. It’s not all glory and money and everybody loves Zach. In fact, it’s hard work, things not gelling, disappointment, media appearances, and lots of frustration. Plus living in a bachelor player’s apartment with ratty furniture because … frequent trades.
Shelly is surrounded by family who love her, try to protect her, and want the best for her. But maybe they smother her just a bit. The family business job is fine and she’s good at what she does but she’s put some dreams aside. As she shows Zach, she has her own house but as she phrases it, there are also twenty seven layers of security because of The Event. Shelly doesn’t like talking about it but also hates it when people learn about it because of how they treat her differently. After two years and lots of therapy, she has coping mechanisms but also moments when the anxiety and memories hit her. There’s also the delicate dance (and sometimes anger) with the family including her mother-in-law (who Shelly does love) but who at times has expectations about what Shelly should be feeling and how to feel and when to feel it.
Zach is like a breath of fresh air with a fantastic body though Shelly at first feels awkward with the (roughly) ten year age difference. He’s also the first guy since she lost her husband that she can see herself spending time with so she needs to get used to that. Is he her boy toy and should she give into what her sister-in-law urges her to do, e.g. have fun with him and enjoy it while it lasts? Zach seems to want more but Shelly is sure that eventually this will end when he meets a hot chick (of the type favored by some of the other team players). Then there are the few players who (sometimes not so) jokingly call her Zach’s cougar.
Kudos for the sex scenes. These felt hot, real, and as if they’re advancing the emotional relationship at the same time. The first encounter is actually a little awkward but cathartic for Shelly regardless of the fact that she didn’t climax. The next one was better but (when does this ever happen in a romance?) still no angels singing for her. But they can joke (a little) about it and keep settling into exploration and discovering what works for them.
Her heart was still beating so hard she could barely think straight. She held up a red packet. “This one is feather-light so that neither you nor your partner will even know it’s there.” She held up the white one. “This is America’s favorite condom for over seventy-five years, providing the safety and security that adults everywhere have come to trust.”
“Wow,” Zach said. “You’re like a condom sommelier. Since I failed so spectacularly earlier this evening while wearing red, I’ll go with America’s favorite.” Zach picked up the white packet.
“I wanted to make sure I had something you liked,” she said
“I get to have sex with the most beautiful woman who has ever spoken to me. There’s no part of this I don’t like.”
The introduction of Zach into Shelly’s family life also felt real. Emotions get tangled, feelings must be worked out, and yes, there is pain. Then something happens for Zach professionally which could upend everything. How will they work this out if it even can be worked out? I liked that we see the good as well as the messy sides of all this. Life isn’t smooth sailing and there will be missteps. Just wanting something very badly doesn’t mean that it will work out. Both partners must be on board and willing to give and take. Sometimes a leap of faith along with love might do the trick. Hurrah that I felt both Shelly and Zach think this out and put their hearts into it. The resolution didn’t come from nowhere – all the information, clues, and means to move forward are provided along the way. And even though I think Zach is going to go all out with his proposal – much to Shelly’s dismay, I’m mentally cheering him on and am so happy for them. A-