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Travis McCoy’s journey has led him down a road of changes where he found the love of his life and their child. Travis, Penelope, and Max have struggled during their time apart, found their way back home, and finally tied their lives together as a family. Now, Penelope and Travis find themselves on a new journey, one that leads them to the greatest journey of all.
At the brink of dusk, Travis held his arm out to Nadine. She smiled and slid her fingers around his bicep, clutching onto him. They were standing at one end of a covered bridge in Brandenburg Park, at the base of the Red River Ski Area, while Russ, Max, and Penelope stood at the other end. They had placed lanterns and candles along the way to offer a soft, sensual ambiance.
“Are you ready, Nadine?” Travis asked, looking down at the woman who had captured his father’s heart.
“More than ever.” She smiled. The two of them started across the bridge at a slow pace.
In two years, so much of Travis’s life had changed. After an injury ended his professional football career, he had come home to face his past. At the time, Travis had been prepared to fight with his father about the choices he’d made, yet somehow they had been able to rip off the bandages and expose their wounded souls to one another. With everything out in the open, Travis and Russ had begun to mend their tattered relationship and were now closer than they had ever been.
Travis shifted his attention to Max. He had been the person who brought them all together. Max had come barreling into Travis’s life with a bounce in his step and a positive outlook on life that most ten year olds didn’t have. The moment Travis looked from the boy to Penelope, he’d known Max was his son. At first, he had been angry that he’d missed out the chance to be a father to Max, but when Penelope explained why she hid his son from him, he understood.
Travis had been so wrapped up in achieving his dream of becoming a star football player that Penelope had been afraid of telling him she was pregnant for fear of him resenting her for taking away his dream. As much as he had wanted to deny her claims, Travis couldn’t. He wouldn’t have abandoned her or their child, but he could admit that a part of him would have grown to resent her for trapping him in a life that he had never wanted — or that he hadn’t thought he wanted. At eighteen, he was too dumb to know that he could have had everything.
None of that mattered now, though. Travis had allowed himself to love Penelope again, to be the man she’d always known he was meant to become. He became Max’s father, someone for him to admire and strive to emulate. Travis’s life had endured a couple of bumps in the road, but in the long run, he was right where he was supposed to be: on a covered bridge, walking his soon-to-be step-mother down the aisle so she could marry his father.
“Wow, honey, you look amazing,” Russ said as Travis and Nadine stopped in front of him.
Travis took Nadine’s hand and placed it in his father’s. Shifting his eyes up to Russ’s, Travis told him, “Just love her.”
“I do, boy, I do,” Russ replied.
The Journey to a New Life is the fourth installment of The Journey Collection, and as such, I agreed to review the entire collection in exchange for ARC copies.
The Journey Home (#1)
In this opening installment of The Journey Collection, we are introduced to Travis McCoy, high school football legend who got the dream: he went pro. What Travis doesn't realize until a decade later when an injury takes him out of the game, is that in going after one dream, he left another behind.
Unsure what to do when he can no longer play, Travis makes a long overdue trip back home, back to where it all began for him. What he finds is that for the most part, things have stayed the same; but there are some big changes as well. His old girlfriend Penelope is still there, and still harbors feelings for him. Kind of hard not to when she has been looking at a miniature of Travis’ face the whole time he’s been gone.
Faced with a broken relationship with his father, learning he’s a father himself, and discovering if old flames can be rekindled, Travis finds that the journey home couldn't have come at a better time.
The Journey of Champions (#2)
Once again, the story opens with Travis McCoy preparing for a journey. When the first book had him going home and reconnecting with Penelope, this time the journey takes us along while Travis and his dad get all of their issues out in the open. Along the way, they have to accept some hard truths and ask forgiveness of each other.
Travis returns to Florida to officially close out his business with the Sharks, and his dad comes along. In working out their demons, Travis is also able to find the answers he’s been looking forward with regards to his future. Decisions made, when he gets back to Clarendon he knows he’s there for good, for his family.
While the game time scenes were a bit drawn out and over-detailed for my liking, as a whole, this next installment of The Journey Collection moved the series along nicely. Kudos to the writing and creation of Max’s character—that kid is the best!
The Journey to Forever (#3)
In book three, Bilbrey really finds her stride with her small Texas town crew. Hands down, the star of this installment is Max. Finally secure that his dad, former Sharks quarterback Travis McCoy, is home for good, Max settles into a new life that includes a famous father.
Travis mans up and offers to make an honest woman out of Penelope, but theirs is not the only relationship that blooms. Seems all the menfolk end up “twitter-pated” this time around, even Max!
Cozy up for a light-hearted read that will have you saying ‘awwww’ and reaching for the Kleenex.
The Journey to a New Life (#4)
The final installment in The Journey Collection was by far my favorite. Maybe because it was the ‘girliest’ of them all? Not too surprising, because of the title and the cover, Travis’s final journey is pregnancy. No, not literally for him, but he gets to be there while Penelope goes through all the hilarious, horrible, and tender stages. With raging hormones comes elevated levels of libido and moments prone to coarser language; so be ready for a bit more of the risqué in this one, too!
All-in-all, The Journey Collection was a good story that sends a sweet message about the importance of family and believing in yourself. I’d definitely recommend getting the whole collection, as you’ll want to keep reading.
Lisa Bilbrey is a mom of three and has been married to her high school sweetheart since 1996.
Finding a love in the written word, she started writing as a way to express herself. From the first word she wrote, she'd found her heart and soul. Always willing to learn, she's spends much of her time trying to improve as a storyteller.
In late 2011, Lisa opened Renaissance Romance Publishing with Michele Richard and Laura Braley.
Follow The Journey to a New Life Tour:
9/10: Promo/Excerpt: Fandom Fanatic
Review, Promo/excerpt: FS Meurinne
9/11: Guest Post: Lorenz Font
9/12: Interview: Jude Ouvrard
9/13: Review: Lindsey Gray
Review: Sarah Carroll
9/14: Promo/Excerpt: S.A. Jones
9/15: Review: N. Wood
9/16: Review: Mich’s Book Reviews
9/17: Guest Post: Michele Richard
9/18: Guest Post: Jude Ouvrard
9/19: Guest Post: Donna Huber
Review: Anna Crosswell
9/20: Guest Post: Laura Braley
9/21: Guest Post: Elizabeth M. Lawrence
9/22: Interview: M.C. Rayne
9/23: Promo/Excerpt: Jennifer Garcia
Guest Post: Elena M. Reyes
Review: R. E. Hargrave