30 Jan '13

A Nix Contemporary Review – Crazy Thing Called Love by Molly O’Keefe (4 Stars)

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Dallas TV morning show host Madelyn Cornish is poised, perfect, and unflappable, from her glossy smile to her sleek professionalism. No one knows that her iron will guards a shattered heart and memories of a man she’s determined to lock out. Until that man shows up at a morning meeting like a bad dream: Billy Wilkins, sexy hockey superstar in a tailspin—still skating, still fighting, and still her ex-husband. 

Now the producers want this poster child for bad behavior to undergo an on-air makeover, and Billy, who has nothing to lose, agrees to the project. It’s his only chance to get near Maddy again, and to fight for the right things this time around. He believes in the fire in Maddy’s whiskey eyes and the passion that ignites the air between them. This bad-boy heartbreaker wants a last shot to be redeemed by the only thing that matters: Maddy’s love.

I picked up this book expecting Chick-Lit. The blurb, the cutesie purple cover? It looked like a nice easy romance that would fill some time. Jesus, I couldn’t have been more wrong. This is a book about broken children and the damage that it does to the human psyche, how people often make choices based on the things they think they want rather than what they actually need. I read this book in one sitting, mostly chewing my nails and occasionally crying. It started off as something with a mild undercurrent humour and then it became something else because of an event that turns Billy’s life upside down, an event I can’t mention because it happens at 60% of the freaking book!
Billy is a broken man from a broken home that gets money thrown at him when he gets drafted in Hockey. From that day forward his life with Madelyn changes. She is the girl that he has loved since they were children, the young woman he married as soon as he could and he throws it away because money and fame get involved. I completely fell for Billy. He was young, stupid and had never had money. For him, this was the world that he wanted to be in, a world he would do anything to be part of. He didn’t mean to push her away, was even devastated when that was the outcome, but he just wanted the “dream”.  
From that day forth his career was turbulent but then he has one fight too many and some PR is needed. Enter Madelyn and the show she has worked her ass off to protect. She doesn’t want Billy anywhere near her, had worked to become something more than just his wife and she is absolutely terrified that all that will be taken away if anyone finds out about their past. She is so cold with him it is heart-breaking. He is so upfront, allowing her to humiliate him with her “makeover” of him on National TV, all because he wants her back in his life. The thing is she doesn’t want him back in.
I didn’t really like the way that he practically eviscerates himself on national TV to make penance for his sins. It wasn’t that it made him weak, the opposite in fact, but it did make me think less of her. She was in a difficult position job wise, but that was no real excuse for what she did. She sat back and let him do all this when she had no real intention of letting him back in. She had hidden the girl that loved him so deep, she was pretty hard to let her feelings be known.   Even doused in humour, it was still a very cruel thing to do. I liked that it was him that had the makeover though J
He is in a place in his life where he feels that he can commit; she is in a place where she feels she is happy without him. Him forcing himself back into her world leaves them with some occasionally hot sex and whole heap of pain. I couldn’t help feel that they were repeating the whole vicious cycle again, that they were doomed to fail. Then the “surprise” guests appear on the makeover show and Billy realises that maybe they can’t make it work after all. I really don’t want to mention who the guests are as I feel it’s a massive spoiler.  These “guests” though were the best part of the book, the part that broke my heart and made me realise that Billy and Maddy may not get their HEA as the relationship they had wasn’t healthy for anyone to be around. To be together, they would have to accept that they were a product of their past, that denying wouldn’t change the damage that it had done. Only when they accepted their fears and desires would they evolve to a place where they could be together. The problem was that neither of them wanted to face and accept the place that they had come from, the place that had created a woman determined to be something in her own right and a man who never wanted to feel that impoverished or unsafe again.  My heart bled all over the pages for these characters, especially during the flashbacks that littered the book, filling in the gaps of their history together.
I will say no more on this book and its tale. It was a book that made ripped me apart a little on every page. Yes, Billy and Maddy are a hot couple but their chemistry isn’t the thing that kept me going. I didn’t know how they would make it work or if it would even be enough to create a good relationship, but I had to know they were OK.  They say a good writer puts their characters through hell to put them back together again and by God these two were put through the ringer.

Nix

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