Loved this book! It has three of the best characters I’ve ever read. All three were super decent human beings, generous, kind-hearted, open-minded and loyal. The plot involves a love triangle, yet instead of anger or selfishness, there’s generosity of the heart, a bottomless love, of the friend kind, and of the sexy kind. The love triangle consisted of two men vying for the love of one woman.
Miller and Emerson were friends since they were seven years old, later sweethearts. After his mother died, his military father moved him away to Georgia and they lost contact. He hated her for what he felt was her abandonment; she felt he abandoned her, but instead she was hurt and devastated. When he was drafted to play football for the Bellevue Bucks in Washington state, his hometown, they meet up again, six years after their separation.
Emerson finally achieved her life dream of joining the Bucks cheerleaders. She had trouble making the cut because she’s heavier than the other girls. However, she’s healthy and in good physical shape, so she withstands the hard physical training as well or better than the other skinny cheerleaders. Her father used to be a brilliant university professor with a PhD and they lived in a nice lakeside house, but he lost his job because he suffers from Alzheimer’s. Now, roles have changed and Emerson is in charge of the household and medical debts. She has the cheerleaders practices and an online teaching job, so they now live in a ratty apartment. Her father made her promise to pursue her dream of joining the cheerleaders, no matter how sick he got or how strained their finances became. So she’s cheerleading to comply but has a heavy load in her heart.
On her first cheerleading practice, she meets Grant Sanchez. The best receiver in the NFL. Upon meeting, he declares they are best friends, and to the team he declares dibs. Miller resents Sanchez’s interest in Emerson but since he’s still in hate phase, he doesn’t protest. What was incredible is that, even though Sanchez is making a blatant play for Emerson’s affections, and Miller is dying of jealousy, still Sanchez and Miller connect as team partners and brothers and play in perfect synchrony. They even become great friends.
The action of the book is a brilliant manipulation of emotions of these three characters. Soon Miller and Emerson learn they were conned by Miller’s father and they make up and become best friends again. Sanchez is hot in his pursuit of Emerson and he changes his style. He’s not the playboy persona he used to be, he’s now sensitive, compassionate, attentive, and pushy. Emerson was very taken at the beginning with Miller, she had a lot of regret and yearning for what they used to have. However, Sanchez is front and center in her life whenever she has a problem, solving them with an intuitiveness that Miller doesn’t have. The change in balance of affection from Miller to Sanchez is very subtle, Miller goes through stages where he wants to assert his stake, then accept he’s not the best man, and conform to being her best friend again. Sanchez was constant and pushy. Emerson makes a gradual change in affections, but it’s totally credible because it wasn’t overnight, it happened over several incidents that solidified Sanchez lead. Yet, Emerson and Sanchez still have to process their newfound love.
Another thing I loved about this book was the diversity shown. Emerson was beautiful but big size. Miller had “mocha colored skin with clear blue eyes”. Sanchez was normal, just huge, cut, and green eyes. Oh and rich LOL. It was a great read, the page-turner type, and I enjoyed every line, every page.