Review – Defending Hayden by L.P. Dover

Defending Hayden by L.P. Dover

After many months hoarding L.P. Dover’s books—promising myself I would read them—I was excited to finally meet this author’s work. With sports romance being one of my two favorite genres and football my top sport to watch, I was thrilled to pop my L.P. Dover cherry with the fast-paced and fabulous football love story, Defending Hayden. There is nothing like a sports romance to get my adrenaline flowing fast with fascination.

I lost myself in Defending Hayden as this tender and touching tale grabbed me, wrapping itself around my heart, where I did not want to surface until the very end. Pulse pounding. Eyes tearing. Heart breaking. Feels flowing. Heart healing.

“Time didn’t heal all wounds. The pain was still there, simmering under the surface.”

These words cut me like a knife as my heart bled for Derek McLaughlin, the NFL football linemen who lost his fiancé, his first love, and top cheerleader. I felt the pain pour through the pages straight to my heart as Defending Hayden captured all of me: body, heart, and soul.

I’m in love with Derek McLaughlin. This baller has a big heart. Add gorgeous looks to the sweet man and it makes for one perfect package. Auburn hair. Blue eyes. Tall, muscular, and a body built to perfection. Tortured from tragedy, Derek had his life shatter, literally, before his eyes after losing his fiancé, a cheerleader for his team, to an awful accident.

Derek now fights a war of demons, mustering the strength to win. He numbed the pain with lots of liquor and ladies, anything to try to forget if even for a little while. After Derek spiraled for many months on a path of destruction, it’s now time for redemption and rebuilding his life.

I had to believe anyone could be redeemed, and I was going to make damn sure I worked hard to achieve that for myself.”

During a chance encounter one night, Derek collides with a beautiful veterinarian, Hayden Hunter. Dark hair, green eyes, and a body made for sin, Hayden has been burned by love and does not want an encore performance.

Everything happens for a reason.

One chance encounter is a coincidence.
Two chance counters is fate.
Derek and Hayden meeting by chance again and again is destiny.

Like the flicker of a flame, Derek and Hayden’s passion permeates. A slow burn of a buildup. Strangers to friends to more.

“I wanted him to kiss me, and I knew he wanted it as well by the look in his eyes.”

Hayden and Derek swear they will just be friends as more is too complicated. Though their combustible chemistry may be the biggest complication of all. They can’t fight destiny because they will lose.

“What do you want from me, Hayden?”
“You. Just you.”

Oh. My. Swoon. I melted into a pool of goo, swooning all the way.

Love is sometimes a battlefield. The war for Hayden has begun with another player racing for the touchdown. Derek needs to realize that he deserves Hayden, then fight like hell to keep her before he loses the biggest game of his life: love.

“The world closed in around me and I could barely breathe. I’d never thought my heart could be broken twice, but it was split wide open.”

Defending Hayden is not your typical sports romance. It’s refreshingly raw and real. It’s a story of heartbreak and healing. It’s a tale of redemption. Spellbinding, sweet, and suspenseful, Defending Hayden blazes the body, hits the heart, and sends the soul soaring straight to a touchdown.

Defending Hayden held on to my heart, hitting it hard, and never letting go. This story infiltrated me with feels from beginning to end. Defending Hayden is a sports romance wrapped in sweetness and soul that stole my heart and soul. This game may be over, but the sensational season of L.P. Dover stories has just begun, and I can’t wait for my soul to soar with more of this author’s evocative and emotional writing.

4.5 soul-soaring stars

View all my reviews

No one’s tougher than Carolina Cougars linebacker Derek McLaughlin. But when a fatal car accident claims the life of his girlfriend, Derek finds himself caught in a destructive spiral of drugs, alcohol, and meaningless sex. But not even a string of one-night stands can ease the hurt. Football is all he has left. Then fate leads him back to the scene of the crash, and into the arms of a kind, gorgeous woman who sees past his façade to the man he once was . . . and can be again.

When a chance roadside encounter brings Derek into her life, veterinarian Hayden Hunter isn’t fooled by his bad attitude: All bark and no bite, he’s hiding a wounded heart beneath that gruff demeanor. And Hayden wants to be the one to kiss it all better. Soon they both find that a dose of passion is potent medicine. But when a hidden enemy lashes out at Hayden, Derek steps up to do what he does best: put his body on the line in the name of love.







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