Man Down (A Rookie Rebels Novel)

Man Down (A Rookie Rebels Novel) Summary

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. 

Book Reviews


Great story!!!5 star

Loved this story!! I don’t think I have ever felt so much compassion and sadness for a character in a book as I did for Gunnar (and I read a lot) so heads up have a box of tissues nearby especially if you are a parent!55


Wow. Just wow!5 star

I waited a week after I bought this book to read it. I knew it was going to be emotional, both from the blurb and from the peeks we got of Gunnar in the previous books in the series. I didn’t read any previews nor did I read any reviews..which I usually don’t anyway. The beginning wrecked me. Reading Gunnar’s texts to his dead wife hit me hard. I’ve read sad books before, but something about those texts just got to me. Once Sadie joined the narrative, in text form, I was intrigued by her. Because would any of us have texted Gunnar back? Or would we have blocked the number and moved on with our own lives? Be honest. I really liked Sadie. I was blown away when I read that people those she was a doormat and had no backbone (I do read reviews upon completing a book). I saw her as a caring, brave woman who escaped a jerk of a father, built herself a life and business and reached out to a man in pain. She could have pushed back every time her sister was a freaking brat, but she took the high road. She never has a woe-is-me attitude, either. I’ve called out many a character for being wimpy doormats. Sadie isn’t one of them. As a couple, Sadie and Gunnar were a mixed bag for me. Their IRL meet-cute wasn’t that cute, nor was Gunnar’s reluctant attraction to her. It was definitely a weird blending of two worlds, but somehow, it worked. And all those cameos were perfect. While we got a glimpse of most of the Rebels organization, past and present, only a select few had a meatier role. And Meader picked and incorporated them to be used with maximum effect. Not to get spoiler-ish, but the ending was what it needed to be. If you’re reading this review before the book, don’t let that scare you. But remember it after you’ve read the last page and see if you agree. Anything more or less would be a disservice to the characters, past and present.55


Heartfelt4 star

After the heart wrenching loss of his wife & kids, Gunnar’s clings to the last connection he has to his family- text conversations he sends to his late wife’s phone. When Sadie Yates acquires Kelly’s phone number & is there to listen, for the first time in years he feels a spark of life again. I was moved & pulled into the story by his touching texts to his wife and loved that he & Sadie came into each other’s lives via those texts. From the heartfelt messages Gunnar Bond sends his dead wife in the beginning of the book to the soul mending epilogue, “Man Down” was a doozy of an emotional roller coaster. You may need a Kleenex or two reading this book, but a fun supporting cast of friends & teammates keep the t45

Book Lover 1967

Loved it!! Must read!!5 star

*I received an arc from author/Booksprout for an honest review.* Man Down is Gunnar Bond & Sadie Yates story. It was funny, entertaining, heartbreaking, so well written & so honestly written. Gunnar lost his wife & two kids in a horrible, tragic accident & retreated to a cabin to live with his grief. He was sending texts to his wife’s old phone# when Sadie responded to him. Sadie was dealing with her own problems after her father (who she was estranged from) ended up incarcerated leaving her 12 year sister, Lauren with no one to take care of her. This book is their journey to move forward in life & healing together to get the HEA they both deserve. Theo adds his usual entertainment to the book as well as other returning characters. You have to love Coop the poop dog too! You also have to love the love & support The Rebel family has for each other. I highly recommend this book & series!! Looking forward to the next one!!55


Phenomenal!5 star

It’s sexy. It’s Inspiring It’s moving. Heartbreaking, heartwarming, emotional, sexy, and a red hot romance. That. Brings. All. The. Feels. Where the characters navigate their hearts through all the twists and turns, and the ups and downs required to reach a HEA. MAN DOWN was an exceptional read! If you want to get lost in a story (and series) I highly recommend this one. Gunnar Bond has been wallowing in his grief, and pain for the last two years after losing his family. Over the last eighteen months he has been texting his dead wife, when suddenly someone answers. As these two start communicating with each other they find comfort and hope in each other. Sadie Yates is also in her own private world of pain, seemingly lost and searching for her place, with a low paying, demanding job as an assistant to a social influencer. A self-serving, demeaning father that is going off to prison, leaving her in charge of a step sister, who doesn’t know her and hates her. These characters were fantastic. I loved their texting and their meeting and connecting. As things unfold, there is great animosity and banter that is super entertaining between them. I loved watching the heat and need grow between them. I laughed, cried and rooted for Gunnar and Sadie. I loved this story of healing, growing and opening of their hearts and letting love in. This story kept me glued to my kindle. The author’s talent for combining blazing hot scenes with genuinely moving romance ensures that the story is as intense and sensual as it is emotional. Happy reading!55


Emotional yet Uplifting - a MUST READ5 star

My heart ached for Gunnar Bond the instant his tragic backstory was mentioned in book two of Kate Meade’s Rookie Rebels series. When it was announced Gunnar’s story, Man Down, would be next, I fully expected to bawl from beginning to end. However, not even a flood of tears could stop me from learning Gunnar’s tragic story.  Box of tissues close by, I dove in.   I needn’t have worried.  Surprisingly, tears were few until the very end.  Yes, parts are heartrending but told in such a way not to be maudlin. That’s due to the author’s ability to craft a compelling story that could have easily been extraordinarily sad but is surprisingly, overwhelmingly fun and heartwarming.   I imagine most readers will fall hard for Gunnar Bond.  Not only because of his excruciating loss and his grief-stricken struggle to regain some semblance of happiness, but because of his big heart. I imagine him as a larger than life mountain of a man. Whether that’s by description or just how he seems due to his protectiveness towards those he cares about, I’m not sure.   Sadie is a sassy, tenderhearted heroine with the patience of a saint.  She prioritizes everyone else’s needs ahead of her own all while keeping a sunny disposition. Sadie is the perfect person to help Gunnar find a reason to go on.   The supporting cast is phenomenal. Many favorite characters make appearances and play an integral part of the story.  It’s a Who’s Who from the author’s previous series, which I enjoyed immensely. It reminded me all over again why I adored them in their own stories, making an immediate re-read necessary.     Man Down is a gripping, emotional yet uplifting book that will tug at your heartstrings, inciting tears and laughter alike.  I loved Sadie, Gunnar, and every moment of their story.   4.5 stars55


Gunnar, wonderful and tragic hero5 star

I have been both excited for and dreading Gunnar Bond’s story. We were introduced to Gunnar in the prior books and knew a bit about his backstory. About three years ago, Gunnar was happy man. He was the Captain of the LA Quakes hockey team, was happily married and a dad to four year old twins. He is in a horrible accident where he loses his family. He has been living off of the grid, and the only thing keeping him going is texting his dead wife’s phone. Eventually someone started texting back. Sadie Yates lives in LA working for an obnoxious Gwyneth Paltrow influencer wannabe, her father has been convicted of embezzlement, and she is now in charge of her twelve year old sister who hates her. The only bright spot in her life are the texts she has been exchanging with the tragic mystery man. Of course, fate brings Gunnar and Sadie together in Chicago where Sadie is dealing with her sister and Gunnar is starting his hockey career again with the Chicago Rebels. This was a bit like “You’ve Got Mail,” but with a wonderfully tragic hero. Make sure you have some Kleenex handy, you will need it. I loved this book and cannot wait for the next book in the series. I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.55


Absolutely loved it5 star

Fabulous. Beautiful. Heart wrenching. So many ways to describe this wonderful book. It was so beautifully written that I felt my heart ache for Gunnar when he sent texts to his dead wife. And when Sadie answers his texts one day... curse you AT&T... it starts Gunnar on a path he doesn’t think he is ready for or I should say he doesn’t think he wants. I loved the random texts they exchanged over a period of time and never knowing who the other was but they each filled something for the other that they needed at the time. When Gunnar and Sadie meet in person I loved that they both were not at their best and actually disliked each other. Yet they both were attracted to each other and confused since they didn’t hit it off. And still not knowing they did actually know each other. This whole story just had me loving these two from the very beginning and just rooting for them to find their way through everything to realize they both needed each other to move on. I started this book and didn’t put it down for more than 15 min. And I definitely needed a tissue to get through some spots. This was just a beautiful story and so well done.55


Absolutely Amazing!!5 star

Knock knock. Who's there? Thisis. Thisis who? THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST AMAZING BOOKS I'VE READ ALL YEAR!!!! I mean honestly, I knew Gunnar's story was going to gut me, but man, I felt like my heart was torn right out of my chest! I bawled my eyes out on more than one occasion, thankfully Theo is around for some much needed comic relief. But as Kate Meader always does after emotional devastation, she makes everything okay so my heart could beat and I could finally breathe again. Gunnar's story is so heartbreaking and tragic, and he really has been a "man down" since he lost his family. Even hockey has lost it's appeal for him. I absolutely ADORE Gunnar and really felt everything he was feeling throughout this book!! Barely living himself except in the past, since he's been texting his dead wife's phone. But then one day someone answers back. Sadie became his angel as her texts and silly knock knock jokes pull him pretty much back into the land of the living. She honestly comes into his life right when he needs her. She is the light to his darkness. I just love her. She is dealing with so much of her own between her boss and her family situation, yet she always seems to be able to be there for Gunnar. I don't want to give any major details away about their story, but it truly is the most wonderful of stories. I enjoyed their journey so very much as it was so much more than just two people falling in love!! My emotions got one heck of a workout! I have loved all of the Chicago Rebels and Rookie Rebels books and I don't think I can pick just one favorite, but this one is very, very special and definitely one of my favorites.55

nora charles

Dear, Sweet, Tormented Gunner5 star

Oh, Gunner. Dear, sweet, tormented Gunner. The hero in Kate Meader’s latest installment of her Chicago Rebels series is both tragic and endearing. A family man who lost his wife and children in a horrific accident, Gunner is stuck in limbo. He has abandoned his life as a successful hockey player and is hiding out at a cabin playing mountain man. In an attempt to deal with his suffocating grief, he begins texting his late wife. Unbeknownst to him, her cell number has been re-issued, and instead of his messages disappearing into the ether, they make their way to a woman in the midst of her own problems. Sadie is stuck in her own personal limbo. A thankless job as a personal assistant to an online influencer has her dreams of being a designer stalled. Her estranged father has been caught stealing from his clients, and Sadie suddenly finds herself back in her hometown of Chicago, attempting to reunite with her teenage sister who has now been left in her care. When she answered Gunner’s texts months ago, neither of them realized that they would begin a relationship, but over time they have come to rely on one another, lost “LonelyHeart” and his “Angel.” While they continue to play out their relationship in text, the two are brought together in real life and their first meeting is less than perfect. Slowly the two warm to one another, and eventually Sadie figures out that Gunner and “LonelyHeart” are one and the same. They agree to embark on a fling, but it’s obvious that both are harboring much deeper feelings for each other. Kate Meader manages to make the rather fantastical story seem possible. She handles Gunner’s grief with a deft hand, and while he is a wounded hero she imbues the character with hope. What could be a very weighty and somber storyline is buoyed by the crackling tension between the two main characters. Sadie comes off as a bit of a doormat to the people in her life, but is saved by her spunk and confrontational attitude toward Gunner. As she slowly finds her way in her new reality as a guardian to her antagonist sister, Gunner is still attempting to bury his grief. Their story was engrossing and heartbreaking, their banter witty, their struggles endearing. Ultimately, a story that could have been far too heavy was lifted by Kate Meader’s deft writing and those dark moments never overtook the joy of Gunner and Sadie’s journey. And of course, this being part of a series, we also get glimpses of characters from past installments, as well as mention of characters from other series by Kate Meader. The book can be read as a stand-alone, but those brief moments with the characters is a fun way to catch up with them. I highly recommend this book, as well as all the other books in this series.55

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