Ten yummy stories about star athletes and the women they fall for. This book stars players of hockey, baseball, basketball, football, and soccer. Some are humorous, others angsty dramatic, but all are riveting and entertaining. All are novellas but some are surprisingly very well developed and felt like a full novel. It was fun to read one after the other and experience the difference in writing styles.
The End Zone, by LJ Shen: this was a friends to lovers story, starring Jolie and Gabe, who were best friends since they were ten years old. The fact that he asked her to be his fake girlfriend was a fluke because immediately they felt like real. They were in their last year of college, they lived together because Gabe has his own rented apartment and a new truck. He shares everything with Jolie since forever. He loves her because she was his heaven during a horrible childhood with parents who fought all the time. He’s the university’s beloved quarterback but he’s never uppity or conceited. His plan was to prevent Jolie from taking up with a team brother, but then they were stuck into something more than friendship. This was steamy and fun.
Slapped into Love, by Rochelle Paige: one of my favorite stories in this book: Ryan plays hockey and his coach hires a power skating coach to improve their speed and increase their chances for winning the championship. Turns out that the new coach was a woman, Tamara, and they had a one-night-stand several years ago, and she disappeared right after. He felt like their night was more, but her disappearance didn’t let him explore options. Now that she’s here working for his team, he had his second chance and he wasn’t going to waste it. Yummy, sweet and sexy read.
Full Court Press, by Kennedy Ryan: this was my favorite story. Angsty and heartfelt. Avery and Decker first met when he was a rookie basketball player. He was a little too cocky and came on to Avery, and things didn’t end well. Ten years later, he’s retired due to an injury and is invited as temporary co-host in Avery’s television show. This time, both have baggage, he’s divorced with a daughter and a bitchy ex-wife who makes seeing his daughter difficult. She had a fiancee who died. She still hasn’t gotten over Will and has trouble overcoming her problems even though she’s soooo invested in Deck. I loved this book, it had all the feels, all the angst I love. Both characters were fabulous.
Out of Formation, by Ella Fox: this one was a little shallow but no less entertaining and fun to read. A friends to lovers plot, and the athletes are a cheerleader Elena and ex-football player, Colin. Elena, the main character, was fun, sweet and next door nice girl. She’s a cheerleader and I learned some stuff about them. They are true athletes and have a strict regimen of exercise and diet to be able to perform at peak. The university sports coach was fired under a misconduct: have an affair with a student. They are all in a meeting when the new coach is introduced; he’s the grandson of a couple who she loved and considered like grandparents. He is also the man who rejected her months before, using their difference in age as one of the excuses. Now they’re going to be in close contact. She was still stinging from their last encounter, so she was avoiding him. Colin was having none of it and made sure to require her presence at the house they had both inherited from his grandparents. This book is written using the flashbacks trope, so we learn what happened before which explains their actual situation. Colin is determined to have his woman so he has to overcome Elena’s concerns about the University stand on professor-student relations. The plot resolved quickly, or it felt quickly because most of the action was taken by the flashbacks and we didn’t see the couple in present time working on their issues. It was nevertheless entertaining.
Sweeping the Series, by Kate Stewart: Another favorite! Angsty second chance romance! Ren was playing his rookie game when he saw this girl. He approached her and as he looked into her eyes, he saw his destiny. She shot him down and he convinced her with a great show of shuffling his deck of cards. Fast forward three years later and we see Ren is a womanizer player with a real bad rep that is causing PR problems to his reputation and to his team. They hire a PR person to shape him up, and surprise, it’s Erica, the love of his life and the woman who left him with a broken heart. The reason why she left him two years before after a wonderful year of love is a mystery that will be revealed later on. At first Ren is angry and Erica reluctant to deal with him, but her job depends on the success of this project. It’s a steamy yummy ride as they clear out the problems and Erica’s issues are cleared up.
Back in the Game, by Meghan Quinn: At first the language in this novella was a little stilted and I had problems believing that a mad bad hockey player would dress as Wanda the Fairy and take his daughter to eat at a public restaurant. But destiny awaited at the restaurant in the manner of the perfect woman for him. They have a wonderful straight-forward romance, with some sexy scenes. It was funny, sexy and sweet!
Yard Sale, by Charleigh Rose: A snowboarding romance! This is my first and loved learning new idioms. Camden Hess, bad boy star snowboarder meets Mollie in a bar where he comes on to her and she tricks him and leaves her hanging. He follows her and they have an explosive one-night stand with a condom failure. Five months later, they meet again and Mollie is five months pregnant. Turned out she had been taking antibiotics and the pill didn’t work. Cam accepts his responsibility and they develop a relationship. This was a short story but I loved it. Cam was immediately taken with the idea of being a father and he was there for Mollie for all the issues related to pregnancy. He also took advantage of the chance of having unprotected sex and Millie’s sexual appetite. Sweet and sexy!
Sin Bin, by Mandi Beck: Stella Cruz is the pitcher in the woman’s softball team and Jason is the captain of the Chicago NHL hockey team. Both are in the college therapy room, where Jason is visiting old friends. Jason meets Stella, falls in lust and they have a one-night stand, and again, we have a story about a pregnancy. In this case, Stella did want to inform Jason early on and went to visit him but he blew her off, not wanting his friends to find out he had sex with a 20 year-old college student. Later, when he finds her heavily pregnant, he does the right thing and takes responsibility. He takes her to see his family and she’s welcome into the fold, so it’s like a family love story too. This was another good one!
One Good Man, by Emma Scott: This author always write compelling stories. Janelle is studying journalism and she wants to write gritty stories, she wants to be in the action, not writing from afar or writing pretty stories. She was arrested for getting into a Vietnam war demonstration trying to get a good story and her father sends her away from trouble, to study at the Sorbonne in Paris. Little does he know that Paris was also ravaged by the Vietnam war and there are good stories here too. She’s given the assignation to write about a soccer player Adrian, who is a star and the promise of his team to win in the league. She scorns at the job but has no choice to do the story. Little did she know that in so doing she found the love of her life and also a great story about Vietnam and the losses it causes in a family. In looking for the story within a story, Janelle achieved her goal and Adrian found his freedom to live the life he wanted versus the life he was forced to live. A great book with a great message and a feel good story.
Switch Hitter, by Sara New: This was a fun book and had a lot of Spanish, which I loved. Two twins, one is flighty and the other is serious. The flighty one gets into trouble, double booking a date, and gets the serious one to go on her behalf to the guy she considers boring. Turned out she did a favor to her twin, because her twin found her soulmate. I got a kick out of the meetings with the date, who turned out to be a Latino guy. He’s a serious guy and he didn’t like Lucy very much, but she was so insistent and stalked him so much, he gave in but had plans to break it up in this third date. Then he got all confused because the girl who went out with him was fantastic and totally his type and the kind of girl he would take him to his mamá. Luckily, he’s a smart guy, and Amelia, the serious twin, is a bad actress, and Lucy, the flighty twin, is flighty but loves her sister and wishes her well. It was entertaining and fun.