First Step Forward by Liora Blake
Series: Grand Valley #1
Also in this series: First Step Forward, Second Chance Season, Second Chance Season, Ready for Wild (Grand Valley #3)
Published by Pocket Books
Publication Date: November 29th 2016
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Pro-football player Cooper Lowry is off the field and into some trouble—in the form of a very alluring, very free-spirited apple orchard owner named Whitney Reed—in the first installment in Liora Blake’s all new Grand Valley series.
After eight seasons playing pro-football, Cooper Lowry knows all the right answers.
Is he stubborn, short-tempered, and impatient? Yes. Are jersey chasers more trouble than they’re worth? Absolutely. Has he ever imagined a life beyond the game? Nope.
Cooper has built an enviable career—the result of staying focused, working hard, and keeping his head on straight—even as his body takes the brunt. So when a hard hit during a Sunday home game leaves him in a dazed heap on the field, it’s nothing more than another day at the office. The only thing that’s different about this Sunday is a chance encounter with a certain fascinating, beautiful free-spirited woman. And some sternly-worded instructions from his coach to take a little time off and give his body the TLC it craves—before he does lasting damage.
Whitney Reed is a few months away from losing the organic fruit orchard she bought three years ago in the tiny town of Hotchkiss, Colorado. At the time, she was just looking for a place to get lost. Instead, she found a home, somewhere she could finally put down roots. Now foreclosure is knocking on her door—along with a grumpy, gorgeous football player who might be just what she never knew she needed.
A charming love story for romance and sports fans alike, First Step Forward is a sexy, heartwarming romp perfect for readers of Jennifer Probst, Kristan Higgins, and Julie James.
Liora Blake is a sort of new to me author. I read and enjoyed her True North series so when this book came on to my radar, I knew that I wanted to try it out. I’m happy that I did because Blake wrote a sweet romance between an NFL player and a hippie apple orchard owner that had me smiling throughout the entire book.
Cooper Lowry is a wide receiver in the NFL, playing in Denver and the book opens with him getting wacked pretty hard during a game. He might have a concussion so he’s ordered by the team trainor to take a couple of days and not do a hot damn thing. Get away for a little while and be one with his thoughts before reporting back to work. The time off finds Cooper heading to Hotchkiss, Colorado where he meets up with a quirky woman that he can’t get out of his mind.
Whitney Reed is on the verge of losing her apple orchard. She’s having money troubles but she’s not going down without a fight. She’s going to apply for every loan and try every thing under the sun before she’ll admit defeat. She’s tenacious and she’s strong and she’ll figure something out. When she meets Cooper Lowry in a liquor store, she didn’t really know who he was and he needed help reaching the bottom shelf so she offers her assistance. She is immediately attracted to him because he’s hot stuff and looks strong and he totally does it for her but when she leaves Denver to head home, she doesn’t think she’ll ever see him again so she was prepared to put him behind her. That wasn’t going as well as she’d hope but when he shows up on her doorstep, she’s surprised and also happy because she wants to jump his bones. She’s so glad that he seems to want to jump hers too.
What a great romance this turned out to be. Their problems were real life problems and they fumbled their way through each situation that came their way but what I really liked about this was how once they realized that they had feelings for each other, they didn’t shy away from feeling them. They were grown ups about everything and yeah, they weren’t perfect but they were a charming set of characters anyway.
I’m curious about who will get their story told next because I didn’t really catch on to any story set ups. I’m hoping that Garrett will get his own book but that’s all I can think of, off the top of my head.
This was a sweet romance that really dug its way into my heart and I’m glad that I read it. I’m looking forward to more from this series.