Title: Take a Chance
Series: Willow Creek #4
Author: Micalea Smeltzer
Release Date: August 25, 2015
I had life all figured out.
Married with a baby on the way I stupidly believed that things were perfect.
But then the good guy I fell in love with turned out to not be as good as I thought.
I was left alone to pick up the pieces of my life and provide for my daughter.
And then I met him.
The bad boy that just might not be so bad.
Three years after her husband walked out on her Arden James is struggling to make ends meet as a single mom. Despite it all, she knows she’s better off with her ex out of the picture, and so is her daughter.
Josh Hayes—player, jokester, and very naughty boy—is the guitar player for the band Willow Creek. He’s used to living the fast life, but suddenly it doesn’t appeal to him anymore, and he has his sights set on the fiery Arden.
Despite their undeniable chemistry, Arden isn’t sure she wants to invite a man into her life that has never been in a committed relationship before. But Hayes is determined to prove to her that there’s more to him than meets the eye. He just needs Arden to take a chance.
Micalea Smeltzer really outdid herself with Take A Chance, the final book in her Willow Creek Series. By the time I had reached the end of the previous book, In Your Heart, I was incredibly intrigued by Arden and Hayes. Micalea gave us glimpses of a connection that would surprise me and impress me in Take A Chance. As excited as I was to read Hayes’ story it still managed to exceed my expectations in every way. Hayes is the one character that completely snuck up on me. Throughout the series he remained almost a complete mystery, only really revealing any significant pieces of himself in In Your Heart. Going into Take A Chance with only a tenuous and hopeful connection to this character, Micalea Smeltzer managed to blow me away with Hayes’ intensity and steadfastness. His easy charm and fun-loving personality made him impossible not to love. Hayes, Arden, and Mia share a journey that is full of laughter and heartache, teeming with unexpected emotion and powerful truths.
“I’d tried so hard to pretend for the last two months that there was nothing between us, nothing more than a one-night stand at least. But all of my pretending had been in vain because there was no denying the electricity that pulsed between us. It was magnetic, sucking all of the energy from the room into our orbit.”
Hayes and Arden are very much opposites when they first meet. Being a young mother, Arden is cautious, serious, and selfless. She lives her life for her daughter Mia, silently haunted by the nightmares of her previous relationship and ingrained feelings of inadequacy. Micalea manages to completely transform Arden over the course of this book, allowing her to enjoy life again and accept love in all its forms. Her evolution was often heartbreaking and undeniably challenging but Hayes brought her through it with his humor and lightheartedness. Hayes initially struck me as the funny, carefree member of the group. He seemed to have been the most settled going into this series. In Take A Chance, Micalea Smeltzer dives deep into the heart of this character, unveiling an unwavering loyalty, fierce protectiveness, and genuine heart. Hayes showed himself to be sweet, thoughtful, and more than capable of handling responsibility. His interactions with Mia were probably my favorite part of this book. Hayes kept me laughing and shaking my head while simultaneously making me swoon.
“No one’s life is all rainbows and sunshine. There’s going to be good and bad. And fuck it, Arden, I want all your good moments and the bad ones too. I want to help you bear the burden of your past so that you don’t have to do it alone.”
Take A Chance felt different than the previous books in the Willow Creek series, perhaps because its true focus was on blending families. Not only did we experience Hayes attempting to slip into Arden’s family, but also bring her and Mia into the Willow Creek family. Mia’s presence soaked this story with her vibrant light, giving Take A Chance the unfiltered thoughts and untainted emotions that only a child can provide. This book made me smile, swoon and laugh a lot. Micalea Smeltzer gave me all the feels, heating things up, keeping me on edge, and invoking unexpected emotions from me as I experienced Hayes and Arden’s journey. I’m sad to see this series come to its conclusion, but I have loved every minute of this adventure. I fell in love with each of Micalea’s couples, adoring their distinctive dynamics and how easily they all fit together to form the Willow Creek family. I hope we’ll see these characters again in future works, even just for a brief cameo. Take A Chance was a deeply satisfying and incredibly heartfelt conclusion to this series.
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Don’t miss the rest of the Willow Creek Series:
Last to Know (Willow Creek #1)
Never Too Late (Willow Creek #2)
In Your Heart (Willow Creek #3)
Micalea Smeltzer is a bestselling Young and New Adult author from Winchester, Virginia. She’s always working on her next book, and when she has spare time she loves to read and spend time with her family.