This is the first sports romance I’ve read that involves football. Unlike most sports romances, though, neither main character is a player. So maybe it’s not considered a sports romance? Either way, it was really entertaining.
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
A woman takes a job as an NFL sportscaster and becomes involved with one of the sports analysts. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.
The story starts out with Leila getting her dream sportscasting job and meeting Jackson, who she has an instant attraction. However, she doesn’t want to act on it because she doesn’t want to put her job or her reputation in jeopardy. She knows a lot about football, and even runs her own fantasy pick site. But the industry doesn’t welcome women with open arms and she knows she’d be judged quickly if anyone caught her getting down and dirty with Jackson.
The “I’m No Good For Her” Scenario
Jackson has an instant attraction to Leila as well, but besides the fact that he knows the type of problems an affair could cause for her, he has his own personal reasons for not wanting to get into a relationship, insinuating that nothing good could come for anyone who dates him. Okay, drama king. It’s a pretty standard trope, and I knew eventually all would be revealed and we’d find out why he was so anti-relationship.
Taking It Slow
Instead of jumping into bed, Jackson and Leila start a friendship, then a cuddle buddies agreement, and things eventually escalate into an actual romance. Through the first half of the book, things are pretty standard. The banter is good, the sexual tension is palpable, and the foreplay isn’t overdone, but you know what’s coming. Maybe.
Did Not See THAT Coming
The second half of the book starts taking some turns. We find out that Jackson isn’t actually who we think he is just before Leila finds out the same thing. Whoa. It’s not like he’s Superman or a serial killer, but I kind of loved the fact that up until that point, I’d accepted he was just a mild mannered sports analyst. This brings a little more conflict to the story, as does the family drama for both of them. While their relationship doesn’t have a whole lot of angst, there’s a lot of side conflict between douchecanoe relatives and coworkers being morons.
Towards the end of the book, things get really nutty, and again, I saw none of it coming. There are more secrets that, if they were alluded to earlier in the book, I didn’t catch on to. There are some heartstopping moments. There are feels all over the place. Basically I started out thinking it was a nice, mellow, cute romance and ended up feeling wrung out and hung to dry. And yet it was executed and paced so well that the experience was fun and unexpected.
The only part that seemed a little weird to me was that at one point, Jackson starts talking about “them” in relation to the conflict in the context, and he sounds a little paranoid. By the end of it, you understand where he’s coming from and why he’s saying it, but it led me to wonder if we’re going to see some weird conspiracy in other books? Or if it was just rambling as a product of his situation.
The Romance Factor
My favorite thing about Jackson and Leila’s romance is how supportive they are of each other. Jackson believes that Leila can do anything in her job and that she’s highly talented, giving her the support her crazy political family never gave her. And Leila never stops proving to Jackson that despite his beliefs that he has nothing to offer, she knows he does. There is a lot of great unconditional love going on here, and it was delightful. 4/5
The Steam Factor
There’s a lot of foreplay, but eventually things get horizontal. It wasn’t overly scandalous, but it was still sensual and upped the temperature a few degrees. 4/5
Besides being a good read in general, this story had some fun side characters that lend themselves to future plots of the series. Jackson’s friends make a big appearance in this one (and they’re hilarious), so even though I liked Jackson and Leila, I’m definitely looking forward to learning more about the other guys. This was a solid romance with a nice dose of excitement thrown in, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.