It’s the summer, so romance rules, as you know. Haha. Anyways, I have known about this series for awhile but hadn’t been totally sold on trying it. Mainly it’s because sports romances are just not my preferred sub-genre. I cannot give you a reason for that, as I do love sports in a general sense. But there you go. However, I asked a couple people who recently reviewed it and they all said I should try it anyways, that the sports story-line is present, but not overwhelming. So I went for it.
Marlee has been an NFL girlfriend for 10 years. Girlfriend. Just girlfriend. For 10 years. So when she catches her man cheating (again), she decides that’s really it this time. Enter Gavin. The new quarterback for her ex’s team. And a one night stand of hers from four years ago when she and her ex were on a break. A very hot one night stand. A one night stand who has clearly not forgotten about her (yup, he’s sending all sorts of subtle and not-so-subtle signals her way). But is it too soon for Marlee to be in a relationship again? And does she even want to date another athlete?
Alright, straight up, this has not sold me on sports romances. I don’t know what it is, but they are just really not for me. However, I’m going to try and review this objectively, putting aside my sports romance issues, in order to be fair to the author and other potential readers. There were definitely aspects of the story that I really liked. First, the general storyline, an “old flame” (that’s a stretch, but I’m going with it) coming back at just the right time, is a cliché that I can get behind. I also liked how sure Gavin was about Marlee from the word go. And, even though he made blunders (because guys are like that sometimes…alright, alright, all people are like that sometimes), there was good intent/support behind it. As follow up to that, I appreciated that when Marlee pointed out where those oversteps leaned towards the unhealthy, he legitimately tried to be better. And, relatedly, I liked that he never blamed her for any of his own mistakes, mis-reading, or (no spoilers) minor injuries. Applause for that.
Another thing I enjoyed was Marlee’s business/job, and the importance she placed on it, the investment she put into it. It was great to see her be strong under trying circumstances, to follow her heart both in her personal and professional life and not, when the moment came, allowing herself to be walked all over again (even if it was by a “good” guy and even though it was heartbreaking for her). It made the ending that much more satisfying, for both Marlee and the reader, when it came. Last, and I know this may sound contradictory, considering my aforementioned feels about sports romances, but the “behind the scenes” look at life for an NFL wife/girlfriend was interesting. I can honestly say I’d never thought about it before, and some of the little details about it definitely added depth to the plot. (I also feel like I can, with a grain of salt, take them at face value, since Martin herself has personal experience in this area, which is pretty cool.) Small final detail: I am into the inclusion of current day tech and culture in books, so I liked Marlee’s internal hashtags describing her life/situations.
On the other hand, a few things were weird for me. One, I was just not a fan of reading all the cattiness among the NFL wives/girlfriends. I get that they’re in an intense position, they’re fighting on behalf of/in defense of their partners, and that there always needs to be a source of drama as a plot device in a good romance novel. But it just all felt very much like middle and high school all over again and I wasn’t that into reading about it. Also, some of the dialogue felt too cheesy for me. I am a person that is all about “whispering sweet nothings,” but I like them to be creative. A few lines made me cringe while reading them, which kind of took me out of the story a little too much. Perhaps others may love it. But those are my feels. Also, to be honest, the sex scenes were so-so. I’ve read a lot better. And that was a big “meh” situation, since a great sex scene is kind of make or break, for me, in a romance.
All in all, I have to say that I’m glad I tried this book. It’s important to get out of one’s reading comfort zone now and again. Plus, I truly was entertained and sped through it in just a couple days. The storyline was well put together and the pacing was solid, but there were a few parts that just didn’t hit quite right for me. I won’t say I’m against trying another sports-themed romance one day, but it’s for sure not at the top of my list. However, if you are not like me, not weirdly prejudiced against the sub-genre for an unexplained reason, then you’ll probably enjoy this one and should give it a go!