As Good as New by Jennifer Dawson
Rating: 5/5 stars
He was the high school hottie. She was the teacher’s pet. But in private, none of that mattered…
At the tender age of six, Penelope Watkins fell for her best friend’s brother, Evan Donovan, future hunk. By the time they were teenagers, they were having heart-to-hearts…and hot and heavy top secret make-out sessions. All that changed when Evan’s father suddenly died. Abruptly, Penelope lost him to grief—and to his true love: football. But now an injury had ended Evan’s NFL career. The notorious bad boy was in a depression no one could penetrate, except maybe the one woman who still knew him best—and still wanted him most…
Penelope is the last person Evan wants to witness the wreck he’s become. So when she shows up at his door he’s less than welcoming—even though the sight of her brings back the same old rush of desire. As a teenager, the emotions overwhelmed him. Now, when he wanted to be overwhelmed, Penelope wasn’t playing. She was telling the golden boy it was time to man up. It may have taken a concussion for Evan to realize it, but that’s exactly what he wants to do—starting with her…
This book is the fourth in a series of standalones. I’ve only read Name of the Game (#3) and you definitely do not need to read the prior books to enjoy this one. Then again, I definitely LOVED getting a little bit more of James and Gracie so… maybe there is something to reading every book.
Penelope and Evan have known each other their whole lives. Evan’s little sister is Penelope’s best friend and she always loved hanging around their house since it was so full of people and loud, unlike her own home.
Penelope and Evan share something while still in high school but it abruptly ends and they start avoiding each other. Penelope and Evan are very much in each other’s lives after all these years but they have an unspoken agreement never to look at each other or be alone together. None of Evan’s siblings seem to notice, since whatever they shared when they were younger was a secret.
Evan is at a low point in his life and can’t seem to make himself crawl out of the whole that he’s dug for himself. Penelope shows up to pull him out with some tough love. After that encounter, Evan refuses to back down and sets out to win Penelope once and for all.
They both have to work through their fears and uncertainties in order to allow themselves to be happy with each other. Evan needs to find a new path for his life and Penelope needs to let go of the notice that she’s not good enough for him and that he won’t stay.
Penelope is strong and confident in every aspect of her life, except where Evan is concerned. She doesn’t believe that he truly wants forever with her and can’t make herself believe him no matter how much he tells her.
“Someday you’ll trust me. Believe in me. All I can do is prove it to you
every day that this is worth sticking out.” – Evan
I love Evan’s brothers!! Even if they are tough on him at times, they do love him and support him and believe in him. I love even more that they see Penelope as family and are unwilling to let her go even if things with Evan don’t work out. She’s made a space for herself in this family and losing them is not an option for her, which also factors into her fears about Evan. I loved getting a little bit more of James and Gracie in this book, they are one of my favorite “opposites attract” couples.
About Jennifer Dawson:
Jennifer Dawson is the author of the popular Something New series; spicy, small town romance released with Kensington, and pens the dark and edgy contemporary romance series Undone.
Jennifer Dawson grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and graduated from DePaul University with a degree in psychology. She met her husband at the public library while they were studying. To this day she still maintains she was NOT checking him out. Now, over twenty years later they’re married living in a suburb right outside of Chicago with two awesome kids and a crazy dog.
Despite going through a light FM, poem writing phase in high school, Jennifer never grew up wanting to be a writer (she had more practical aspirations of being an international super spy). Then one day, suffering from boredom and disgruntled with a book she’d been reading, she decided to put pen to paper. The rest, as they say, is history.
These days Jennifer can be found sitting behind her computer writing her next novel, chasing after her kids, keeping an ever watchful eye on her ever growing to-do list, and NOT checking out her husband.
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