Ash's whole life has been dedicated to Rugby. While team-mates and friends have found partners, built families, Ash has channeled all that energy and focus to being the best player he can be. Hoisting high the championship trophy, knowing he has played in his last game, he doesn't know what do next. Everyone wants to know and he really doesn't know. When Camila Morales interrupts Ash's post-game/retirement party, looking as beautiful as the day he last saw her 18 years before, Ash is thrilled to see her. Camila doesn't feel the same way. Camila is incredibly angry with Ash, and incredibly angry that she needs his help so badly.
Camila is angry with Ash for not being there when she needed him, but she needs his help desperately. When her father died, he left to her the summer camp they had been running together and an unexpectedly large overdue mortgage she can't pay. She needs Ash to lead her team of misfit teens to victory at the San Diego Sevens, so she can use the cash prize to save the camp. It is a terrible plan but it is the only one she has.
Kat Latham's London Legends series are my favorite sport-themed romance series. I love the international setting, the working-class feel to the heroes (Rugby players don't have astronomical paydays) and her heroines are strong, independent, smart women. When I saw that she had written a second-chance-at-love story for Ash Trenton, the supremely focused former team captain, I clicked request without even bothering to finish reading the blurb. Then I had a shock to my system. As I read the first couple of chapters and I started noticing some hints to a kind of storyline I like to avoid, so I ran to look at the blurb and there it was:
"Camila was just sixteen when Ash moved on to start his rugby career, leaving her heartbroken and on her own to make a life-changing decision."
The blurb was clear enough. There are only so many things that are considered life-changing decisions when you are 16. Had I read the blurb I would have probably hesitated requesting. As much as I love the second-chance-at-love trope, I pretty much hate Secret Baby stories. Despite my dread and because it was Latham I stuck with it. And I was really impressed with it. The twist Latham gives to the secret baby story was really well done. I appreciated that everything about that plot point complicated rather than clarified the relationship between Ash and Camila.
I really liked how Latham slowly developed both Camila and Ash's past and present relationships. Both of their lives have been incredibly changed by the choices they made as teens, choices and sacrifices they question but don't feel they would undo. They have to re-examine what they have come to believe about their time together, consider how that marked them, reclaim parts of themselves they have ignored and to forgive each other enough to try again. And they must do this knowing that their reunion might be as potentially short as it was their first one, when overseas job offers start pouring in for Ash.
Taming the Legend was sexy, emotional and fun. I liked the characters, and was moved by their conflict. The emotional arcs for each character were moving and believable and I loved the resolution.
I received at digital review copy of Taming the Legend from Carina Press via Netgalley.