He might make her skin tingle when he touched her, but he was pricklier than a knarl and she did not have time right now for a high-maintenance man. -- Sorry to start off with the very last line of the chapter, but I absolutely loved it. There's something about taking a well-worn, gender-based stereotype and turning it on its ear that always makes for a snappy one-liner. Excellent ending.
Back to the beginning, I enjoyed seeing some of what Fitz is dealing with in his life. Living with chronic pain can do horrible things to a person's mindset, even without any other problems weighing them down. The physical descriptions of his injuries helped to give things even more gravity. Sounds like it was a pretty gruesome injury. Then you layer on the bitterness of having a job where he was to spend so much time around people doing something that he used to love and isn't able to do any more. It's not a recipe for a happy, well-adjusted person. The confrontation with Molly on the pitch said a lot. He finds one of his star players getting in extra practice on her own time. He should be thrilled. Instead, he can't keep himself from being rude to her. I hope for his sake that something comes of Hugo's desire to help him. Otherwise, he's on a very self-destructive course.
For her part, I liked that Molly seemed more intrigued than offended by his boorish behavior. She's a sharp cookie, always analyzing other people's behavior and trying to figure out what's going on underneath their facades. She nails it with Fitz. He's such a basket case at this point. Back to my original praise for your closing line. High maintenance.
I love what you've done with Molly's family. I always have a strange fascination with how authors write Audrey when she appears in a story, because I find that it tells you everything you need to know about how the author thinks of Percy. You went with the warm, loving, slightly put-upon wife and mother. That always suggests to me that you envision Percy as lovable and well-meaning but slightly goofy. A more high-strung and ambitious version of his father. The alternative is the more aloof, social-climbing office politician Percy, which usually translates into Audrey being cool and a bit snotty. I like your version better, for what it's worth. Lucy seems pretty down-to-earth, as well. And her husband seems like a salt-of-the-earth kind of guy. Overall, a very likable bunch.
I'm glad that Molly has arrived at a more proactive stance with regard to her team. Something is going to have to shake Fitz out of this torpor that he's mired in, and Molly seems like the woman for the job. Doesn't hurt that the two of them are hot for one another.
I can't believe I'm getting to say this, but I actually found a typo:
She had them all snowed into believing a winning season was imminent when it was far from a certainty that they'd win even won game. -- "... win one game." I feel like I just landed a picture of a Yeti or the Loch Ness Monster. Typos in WTM's stories were rumored to exist, but reputable experts were skeptical...
Great job. You have a very enjoyable cast of characters here and I'm excited to see where you take them next.
Author's Response: Flipping gender stereotypes is fun, isn't it? Molly has no patience for high-maintenance people. Drama she can put up with, cause everyone she's related to is ridiculous in some way. ha.
Chronic pain really is a horrible thing to live with - Fitz not only has the pain weighing him down, but it serves as a constant reminder of what he lost. The scars are a bit gruesome - he got hit pretty bad. Recipe for being badly-adjusted for sure!
Molly's very smart - like her dad. Lots of book smarts, but more people smarts than Percy had. She does like analyze other people quite often. "Basket case" made me laugh - he kind of is!
I like your thinking about Audrey. I've noticed that sort of polarity in how she's portrayed - either she's a snotty social-climber or she's sort of put-upon and kind. I like the put-upon nice lady version better, and probably that is because I think Percy saw the error of his ways in the end. And Lucy and her hubby are pretty down-to-earth, yeah. Hilarion, for all he's famous and gorgeous, is not the sharpest crayon in the shed, but he loves his wife. Molly likes him well enough as a brother. ;)
A typo! I do make them. I usually catch 99% of them in edits and re-reads, but sometimes I miss them. Ah well. Thanks for letting me know! I fixed it.
Thanks so much for reviewing!