From tragedy to intimacy, from distrust to tenderness, from anger to love, Fumbled by Alexa Martin has it all. Martin is an incredibly talented writer who explorers the gamut of human emotions in Fumbled while also showcasing the joy of living. Ultimately, that is what Fumbled is – joyous. Life may throw curve balls at you and you may fumble some of the catches, but positivity rises to the top — delight, pleasure, gladness, elation, that is what being alive means
Poppy Patterson is a teen mom who has survived ten years on her own by working nights at a club while dedicating her waking hours to raising a bright, emotionally strong kid who loves his mom, friends and sports. Ace is the light of her life.
TK Moore has spent those same years following his dream in becoming a football star in the big leagues and making pots of money.
They were high school sweethearts, till a misunderstanding drove them away from each. Now ten years later, a chance meeting in the club Poppy works at makes them realize that the magic between them is still there and just as strong as ever. But they are now adults with careers and responsibilities…not to mention a son.
You would think that acrimony — for the hard life Poppy’s led and the years of Ace’s life that TK has missed — would ensure that any connection between them in the present would be dead in the water. But the two show themselves to be above past hurts. By focusing on their son and on their chemistry and past bond, they are able to connect with each other and see the good of the other. Love is everything, whether it is familial or spousal, and always seeing the good in the other person and caring for their wellbeing, guarantees that any exploration of a relationship comes from a place of kindness and generosity.
As they get to know each other, she continually thinks: “Every time I think he can’t get better, he gets better.” Ultimately, no one can stay on a pedestal forever — a fall is inevitable. However, the heart of this story is how these two pick themselves up and make a success of their relationship. It’s not the mistakes in action and errors of judgment that matter so much as what you do afterwards that matters. How you handle the situation and how you relate to the people involved makes all the difference between the perception of success or failure. I was pleased how well Martin had her characters navigate the boundaries as well as the intricacies of their relationship.
Martin truly understands not only football, the game, but also the world of football, which involves the social aspect of the players and their spouses, the absolute commitment to training, the intense arc of a player’s journey and the physical injuries. Martin also does not shy away from the trauma to the brain that many football players suffer. It is real and a serious cause for concern, despite football’s lauded status in American culture. Players are aware of it, but their love for the game and the life it brings overrides their concerns. It was eye-opening to see Martin not glorifying the game nor glossing over the risks by having Poppy choose TK, the man, while refusing Ace from playing the game that he loves.