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Man Down (ebook classic cover)

Man Down (ebook classic cover)

Rookie Rebels

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I’ve been texting the wife I lost, the woman I loved beyond measure . . . Now someone else has answered back.

Original classic cover version. Also available with an illustrated cover.


  • Grieving widower hero
  • Grumpy-sunshine
  • Text messaging
  • Hockey romance
  • Band of brothers
  • Curvy heroine


I’ve been texting the wife I lost, the woman I loved beyond measure . . . Now someone else has answered back.

Gunnar Bond is broken.

Three years ago, he lived through the car crash that took his wife and twins away from him—though “lived” barely describes his current state. Giving up professional hockey, going off grid, and drinking himself into oblivion are his coping mechanisms. Another is texting his dead wife about his days without her. Therapeutic? Doubtful. Crazy? Definitely. But those messages into the ether are virtually the only thing stopping him from spiraling to even darker places.    

Until someone texts back . . .
Sadie Yates is losing it.

Suddenly guardian to a little sister she doesn’t know and a misbehaving hound she’d rather not know at all, she’s had to upend her (sort of) glamorous life in LA and move back to Chicago. The nanny has quit, the money’s running out, and her job is on the line. The last thing she needs is her sister’s hockey camp counselor, a judgmental Viking type, telling her she sucks at this parenting lark. Thank the goddess for her sweet, sensitive, and—fingers crossed—sexy text buddy who always knows the right thing to say. In the same city at last, they can finally see if their online chemistry is mirrored in real life. She just needs to set up a meeting …

A ruined man who claims to have used up all his love is surely a bad bet, but Sadie’s never been afraid of a challenge … even one that might shatter her heart into a million pieces. 

Chapter One Look Inside


Gunnar: Remember when
we’d look at each other and you’d ask without saying a word: is this crazy? And I’d tell you silently: probably but do it anyway.

That’s how I feel every time I send one of these texts to you.

I’m waiting for the dots. I’m waiting for those dumb emojis you’d add to every sentence, even though
you’d laugh at me because I never understood what half of them meant. Still don’t.

Born old. That’s what you said about me when we met. Born old but I think I’m going to die young.

I can’t do this without you, Kel.

I can’t do this without any of you.

The cell service here sucks. Half the time the messages don’t go through and when they do, I wonder: is this crazy?

Probably. But I’ll keep doing it anyway.

I’ll keep sending because if I stop then it’s over. We’re over which means … I don’t want to go there.

How about I tell you what I did today? I’ll take your silence as encouragement :)

I chopped wood.

Don’t laugh. Honestly. There’s a mountain of logs out back of the cabin, enough to get me through winter. I’ve turned into one of those weird survivalists, the kind of
nut jobs we used to laugh at, complete with small-animals-a-nesting facial hair and a wild-eyed look that would scare off grizzlies. Now I’m guessing all those crazies have their reasons because here I am. Chopping wood in the middle of
Nowhere, New Hampshire.

Kurt says hi. Actually, that’s a bold-faced lie. My brother would summon the men in white coats if he had any idea of the state I’m in. He already thinks it’s bad enough I won’t stay
with them at the lodge. How can I tell him I can’t look at his beautiful kids?
That every time I hear my niece and nephews’ laughter I want to smash

How can I tell him I’m currently in a complicated texting relationship with my dead wife?


Gunnar: Dante Moretti called today. Remember him? The Beast, Italian badass, amazing cook. Used to be
the scouting manager in LA but now he’s the General Manager in Chicago. Guy’s a trailblazer, one of the good ones. I let it go to voicemail so I don’t have to talk to him. I don’t talk to anyone but you.

You would put your doctor hat on and tell me it’s unhealthy. I can see that elegant eyebrow arching as high as your hairline, see it as clear as if you were standing right in front of me. You’ve got to go back, Gunnar. You’ve got to move on.

I have moved on, or as far as this forest. The world’s not big enough to disappear into. People will always find you. Moretti wants to talk about bringing me onto the Rebels. All their
legends have retired and they’re rebuilding.

Perfect timing, you would say. Rebuild a team, rebuild a life.

Sounds like Moretti’s looking for babysitters. That’s not for me.


Gunnar: Happy anniversary, Kel. Ten years! Who would’ve thought it? You didn’t think much of me when we met. Too many pucks to the head,
were your exact words. (I laugh now but I didn’t then!) We made it work, didn’t we?


Gunnar: Harper Chase
called, hot-shit CEO, the Rebel Queen herself. Must be scraping the barrel in Chicago. Tommy’s being a dick but then that’s what agents do. He sees “potential” in my comeback story, aka dollar signs. I think you’d have a good laugh at that.


Gunnar: I wish I could hear your voice again. I wish we had another day, just you, me, Janie, and Danny. I wish I’d taken your advice and let that asshole pass me sooner on that
road. I wish a lot of things.


Gunnar: It’s been a
few days. Maybe a week? I’ve lost track of time. Just lost track.


Kelly: Hello! Sorry, but
I think you might have the wrong number?




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