Tag: Sports Romance

Guest Review: Block & Tackle by Elise Faber, Stephanie Fournet & Kristin Vayden

Posted May 11, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 3 Comments

Guest Review: Block & Tackle by Elise Faber, Stephanie Fournet & Kristin VaydenReviewer: Tracy
Block & Tackle by Elise Faber, Stephanie Fournet, Kristin Vayden
Published by Blue Tulip Publishing
Publication Date: March 13th 2017
Genres: Anthologies (multiple authors), Contemporary Romance, Sports
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Offsides by Elise Faber

Job title:
Executive Assistant for CEO of Prestige Media Group

Job description:
(1) Deal with a massive amount of emails.
(2) Schedule conference calls and meetings with top athletes and other hugely important people.
(3) Pick up dry cleaning and food, consult on tie selection, make dinner reservations, and book flights . . . basically act as a wife-on-steroids.
(4) THE IMPORTANT ONE: Do not, under any circumstances, fall in love with Devon Scott—demanding boss, former NHL player, and all-around gorgeous specimen of the male persuasion.

Job performance:
Failing.
Absolutely failing at number four.

Off Guard by Stephanie Fournet

Life couldn’t be better for Charlie Woodruff.

After a year of holding out, she’s finally landed the job she’s always wanted in the city of her dreams. An apartment she can afford and new friends at work make the transition easy.
When she meets a gorgeous stranger who makes her laugh and steals her breath, it seems like the icing on the cake...

Until Charlie discovers he’s a client.

Hutch Barlow — newly drafted wide receiver for the Oakland Raiders — looks like an avenging angel, hangs on her every word, and is completely off-limits. The trouble is he also refuses to take “no” for an answer.

And if she’s being honest, Charlie doesn’t want him to.

But seeing him means she could lose everything — including her heart.

Off Limits by Kristin Vayden

Everything about Ava screams off limits.
To want her is to invite disaster.
To pursue her is to risk my job.
To kiss her might cost me my best friend.
But all those risks seem small in light of the first problem.
She hates me.

To her I’m a sell out, choosing to advance my career rather than protect my biggest client.
Her brother.
And my best friend.
She hasn’t spoken to me in over a year, but that ends now.
Because I’m done with holding back.
To hell with the consequences.
Wish me luck . . .

Offsides by Elise Faber

Devon is a retired hockey player and now the CEO of Prestige Media Group.  Becca is his temporary assistant while his regular assistant is on maternity leave.  Devon is hot for Becca but knows that he shouldn’t get involved with an employee – even a temporary one.  Becca has got it bad for Devon but as much as she wants him her life is too crazy to get involved with him.  Her mother needs medical care and Becca works two jobs to try and pay the medical bills.  She’s also got an angry ex that is messing with her and is more than dangerous to both Becca and Devon.

This was a sweet boss/employee story.  Devon doesn’t hold out for very long before he’s giving in to his desire for Becca but I loved the sexual tension between the two of them.  I liked a lot about this story – the dialogue, the story, the passion between Devon and Becca – it was just a good read.

Story rating: 4 out of 5

 

Off Guard by Stephanie Fournet

Charlie has finally started the job of her dreams.  She’s recently moved to San Francisco and is out running when she runs into a fellow runner.  They hit it off and she thinks that maybe this guy might be someone she can really like until she finds out his name, Hutch Barlow, and realizes who he is, new wide receiver for the Oakland Raider, and that he’s a client of her boss.  Prestige Media Group – her new employer – strictly forbids employees from dating clients.  Charlie tries to get Hutch to understand that she can’t see him but Hutch refuses to take no for an answer – showing up at her apartment with dinner and his irresistible charm. Charlie finds herself falling in love with Hutch but she knows that she can never be with him as she’s not willing to sacrifice the career she’s always wanted.

This was an adorable story.  I loved Hutch’s persistence with Charlie even knowing that she was off-limits to him.  He just liked her so much and was willing to give up a lot to be with her that it warmed my heart.  I think a lot of people would have thought he was ridiculous but I found it romantic and lovely.  Fournet has a way with words and she did a great job writing this story.

Story rating: 4 out of 5

 

Off Limits by Kristin Vayden

Markus and Bryce were college roommates and best friends.  Bryce got drafted into the NFL and Markus got hired by Prestige Media Group and becomes his agent.  Bryce has a twin, Ava, who Markus has been in love with for forever.  He wants nothing more than to make Ava happy but she hates him because she thought at one point in Bryce’s career that Markus was selling out and taking a risk with Bryce’s life.  Bryce has gotten a concussion but recovered and went back onto the field.  Ava believed that Bryce’s life was on the line if he got hit again but he was fine.  Five years later Ava still hates Markus – or at least acts like she does.  She can’t resist the man for long as she’s always had a thing for him. Markus should stay away from his best friend’s sister but he just can’t do it once she finally forgives him.

Unfortunately this was my least favorite of the three stories.  I didn’t feel the chemistry between Markus and Ava as I felt I should.  I also didn’t feel the whole forbidden love thing that the whole anthology was based on.  There were some decent parts of the story but overall I didn’t care for Off Limits.

Story rating: 3 out of 5

 

Overall book rating: 3.75 out of 5

four-stars

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Joint Review: Hard Hitter by Sarina Bowen

Posted January 31, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Joint Review: Hard Hitter by Sarina BowenReviewer: Holly and Rowena
Hard Hitter (Brooklyn Bruisers #2) by Sarina Bowen
Series: Brooklyn Bruisers #2
Also in this series: Rookie Move, Rookie Move, Hard Hitter, Rookie Move, Pipe Dreams, Pipe Dreams
Published by Berkley Books
Publication Date: January 3rd 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 336
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

From the USA Today bestselling author of Rookie Move comes the second novel in the series that s hot enough to melt the ice.
He s a fighter in the rink, but he s about to learn that playing nice can help you score...
As team captain and enforcer, Patrick O'Doul puts the bruise in the Brooklyn Bruisers. But after years of hard hits, O'Doul is feeling the burn, both physically and mentally. He conceals his pain from his coach and trainers, but when his chronic hip injury becomes too obvious to ignore, they send him for sessions with the team s massage therapist. After breaking up with her long-term boyfriend, Ari Bettini is in need of peace of mind. For now, she s decided to focus on her work: rehabilitating the Bruisers MVP. O'Doul is easy on the eyes, but his reaction to her touch is ice cold. Ari is determined to help O'Doul heal, but as the tension between them turns red hot, they both learn that a little TLC does the body good..."

Rowena: Hard Hitter is the second book in Sarina Bowen’s Brooklyn Bruisers series and it features Captain Patrick O’Doul. We first met Patrick O’Doul in Rookie Move. He was one of Leo’s new teammates and he hit on Georgia, Leo’s girl. I don’t remember much else about Patrick, aside from he helped make Leo feel more comfortable transitioning to a new team.

Patrick is the team enforcer and over the years, his body has taken some beatings. He’s coming off a wrist injury and his hip is acting up but every night, he goes out on that rink and he fights whoever needs fighting.

I’ll admit that when I first heard that Patrick was getting his story told next, I wasn’t all that excited. I’m not sure why that was since I didn’t hate Patrick, I just didn’t really think much about him.

Well…I love him now. Ha!

What about you? What did you think of Patrick and the rest of his book?

Holly: I really liked Patrick. He was quiet and intense and private. I kind of expected some deep dark secret or tortured past after the way he acted about being touched.

Rowena: Something more than the deep, dark secret about his parents? I liked the way that Bowen handled Patrick’s issues in this book. He’s had a pretty rough childhood and he had some hangups about them but he wasn’t saddled with those issues. He was an adult. He wasn’t this angsty hot head who lashed out at every turn or anything like that. He ignored them for as long as he can and then he fixed them. I dug it.

Holly: No, I just meant that I expected there to be something, and I was right. I dug the way his issues were handled, too. I thought there might be more angst over it, but he just handled his business.

I’m kind of on the fence about the heroine.I didn’t dislike her, but she isn’t my favorite Bowen heroine.

Rowena: Ari isn’t my favorite heroine either and she got on my nerves throughout the book but not nearly as much as Georgia did in Rookie Move. My thing with Ari was that she taught all not judging and how to listen with your heart in her yoga classes but holy cow did she turn into the biggest judger of all judges when Patrick lands himself in trouble. That annoyed the snot out of me…even if she did buy him a coffee maker.

Holly: I didn’t like how she turned her back on him either. I get being angry, but her reaction was over the top.

Rowena: What did you think about all of the crap that Ari went through with her ex-boyfriend?

Holly: I don’t know how I felt about Ari’s boyfriend troubles. It didn’t seem like she made very good choices when it came to him. Not calling the cops on him, agreeing to meet him alone, etc. I wasn’t impressed.

Rowena: I think that was part of my gripe with Ari. How dumb she was where Vince was. Why did she wait so long to tell the Security guys at the Bruisers about everything that was going on? For someone so smart, she sure was dumb a lot.

View Spoiler »

Rowena: I’m not all that into yoga so I didn’t think that I would care much about Ari and what she did for a living but damn…can you imagine working as a masseuse to all of those hot guys? Getting paid to rub down all of those yummy hockey players every day? I’m low key jealous. Ha!

Holly: Omg, girl. I need some of that in my life.

Rowena: I would have married all of them if they asked me…and I would start every appointment with a foot rub so those marriage proposals would keep rolling in.

Are you looking forward to Beacon and Lauren’s story?

Holly: I am looking forward to Beacon and Lauren’s story. I like this world and I’m definitely glad we’ll see more.

Rowena: Overall, I enjoyed the story and the romance between Patrick and Ari. At least, when Ari wasn’t being a dumbass and I really liked Patrick. He was a complete dreamboat.

My grade for this one is 4 out of 5.

Holly: I liked the romance, too, as well as the additional time with the team. I didn’t love Ari on her own, but I did like her with Patrick.

I’m giving it a 4 out of 5 as well.

Final Grades

Holly: 4/5
Rowena: 4/5

four-stars

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Review: Playing the Player by Amy Andrews

Posted January 30, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Playing the Player by Amy AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Playing the Player (Sydney Smoke Rugby, #3) by Amy Andrews
Series: Sydney Smoke Rugby #3
Published by Entangled Publishing LLC
Publication Date: January 30th 2017
Pages: 171
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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three-half-stars

After a long history with crappy guys, high school teacher Em Newman is going man-vegan. Four months of revirginization has opened her eyes to her doormat imitation but, baby’s got spine now, and some smooth-talking—even if he is sinfully hot—rugby player, won’t be adding her as a notch anytime soon.
Lincoln Quinn loves rugby, women, and poker. And he likes to win at all three. When his team mates bet him he can’t break through Em’s resolve, he’s more than up for the challenge. But this lady has a shoebox of stipulations before she’ll even go on a date with him, much less use that mouth for kissing instead of giving orders.
Something’s gotta give but this time Em’s not settling. And Linc’s questioning everything he ever knew about matters of the heart.

Playing the Player is the third book in Andrews’ Sydney Smoke Rugby Series. I didn’t read the first two and I didn’t feel like I missed anything because of it.

This was a cute contemporary romance. Linc is an unabashed player, on the pitch and off it. He loves women and has no intention of ever settling down with just one. But he wouldn’t mind settling down for the night with Em Newman, the best friend of the soon-to-be wife of one of his teammates. Em is h-o-t, and her refusal to give in to their mutual attraction just makes him want her more.

Em decided she needed a break from men once she realized she was hopping into bed with them in the hopes that they’d fall in love with her. Four months of celibacy has give her a new sense of self, and, okay, maybe the series need for an orgasm. But she knows better than to hook up with Linc. She’s done dating guys who want nothing more than a roll in the hay. If only he wasn’t so attractive..and funny..and sweet.

Linc starts out planning to get Em into bed, but it isn’t long before she’s wormed her way into his heart. Can the confirmed bachelor

Let me just say, I loved how honest Em was with herself. She had daddy issues and ended up falling into bed with any guy who showed her even a bit of affection, because she wanted someone to love her. she recognized what she was doing and took a step back to reevaluate her life and her choices. She didn’t apologize for her past, or beat herself up over it, she just moved on from it. I really liked that.

I expected Linc to be a womanizer, but that wasn’t really the case. He wasn’t picky about who he took to bed, but he wasn’t a jerk about it. He liked woman and sex, and didn’t apologize for it. He was really sweet to Em, and I really enjoyed watching him open up to her.

The final conflict was pretty contrived and didn’t really work for me. They had pretty much hammered out their issues until, bam. I’d have preferred if it hadn’t been included.

Still, the story was sweet and I liked the romance. I’ll plan pick the first two books up soon.

3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Review: The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata

Posted May 10, 2016 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana ZapataReviewer: Holly
The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: February 19, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 673
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Vanessa Mazur knows she's doing the right thing. She shouldn't feel bad for quitting. Being an assistant/housekeeper/fairy godmother to the top defensive end in the National Football Organization was always supposed to be temporary. She has plans and none of them include washing extra-large underwear longer than necessary.

But when Aiden Graves shows up at her door wanting her to come back, she's beyond shocked.

For two years, the man known as The Wall of Winnipeg couldn't find it in him to tell her good morning or congratulate her on her birthday. Now? He's asking for the unthinkable.

What do you say to the man who is used to getting everything he wants?

Ames and Rowena both recommended this to me. I haven’t been reading much in the the way of NA or contemporary rom lately, but I figured I’d give it a try. It was a cute story, though I felt it could have been about 150 pages shorter.
Vanessa has been professional football player Aiden “The Wall of Winnepeg” Graves’ personal assistant for two years. He isn’t a warm and fuzzy kind of guy, and they aren’t friends, really, but she’s enjoyed her position despite how cold he can be. She likes the challenge and order of it, but her dream is to run her own web design company. She’s been working on building her business on the side and finally feels like she has enough in savings to take the gamble and quit working for Aiden so she can focus on her dream. She’s nervous about telling him, but figures he’ll understand. She’s still kind of hurt when Aiden acts like he doesn’t even care that she’s leaving. Sure, they aren’t best friends, but she’s been with him for two years..a little surprise or sadness on his part would have been nice to see.
She’s willing to give him time to find a replacement until he ends up being downright cruel to her. Then she figures she can walk away and not feel guilty about it. Based on his reaction, she’s beyond surprised when he shows up on her doorstep asking her to come back. He’s no less cold as he was before, but she begins to realize there’s more to him than she thought. When he asks her to marry him, she’s shocked. She isn’t interested at all, until he offers to take care of the one thing she’s been stressing about more than anything: her student loans.
The story was cute and I liked both Vanessa and Aiden for the most part, though there were times I wanted to kill one, the other, or both of them. The story dragged here and there and I really think a good portion of it could have been cut out. Still, I liked the slow progression of the romance and the story. I’ll definitely try more by the author.
three-half-stars

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Five Books Everyone Should Read: Author Kat Latham

Posted June 7, 2015 by Holly in Features | 8 Comments

5 Books Project

Kat-Latham-high-resWhen I’m plotting a new book, one of the things that excites me most is choosing a job for my heroine. The first female surgeon I ever encountered was between the pages of a romance novel (this was in the early 90s, and she had the misfortune of falling for a man we would today diagnose as an asshat with major dickhead tendencies, but still, she was a surgeon). By the time I started writing my own books, I got sick of heroines who owned art galleries in Sydney but never had to actually spend time at their stores.

Anyway, I actively seek out books whose heroines have unusual jobs, and those are the women I like to write about. I’ve written about a sanitation engineer in displacement camps, a trader for an investment bank and an airline pilot, and I’m drafting a book now about a train engineer.

Here are my top recommendations of books with heroines who have unusual jobs. I hope you’ll find the books themselves are just as unique and memorable as their heroines are!

inside brenda novakInside by Brenda Novak

Virgil Skinner served fourteen years for a murder he didn’t commit. He’s finally been exonerated, but he can’t escape the gang he joined in order to survive. They’ll do anything to keep him from telling what he knows. And if they can’t get to Virgil they’ll go after his sister and her kids.

The California Department of Corrections needs someone to infiltrate another gang, one that’s taking control of the state’s most notorious supermax. Virgil agrees to do it under an alias—in exchange for his sister’s protection.

Chief Deputy Warden Peyton Adams is opposed to having Virgil in her prison. How will she protect him if things go bad? Besides, she’s far too attracted to him; she might even be falling in love with him. That makes her all the more desperate to keep him safe—and it gives him someone else to lose.

Peyton Adams is the deputy warden in a California prison, where she meets prisoner-turned-spy Virgil Skinner. The stakes in their romance couldn’t be higher, and the prison setting is so incredibly well researched and detailed that my stomach was clenched the whole time I was reading (which had to be great for my abs). Hmm…I think it’s time for me to get this one down from my keeper shelf and reread. My abs could use the workout.

start me up victoria dahlStart Me Up by Victoria Dahl

Lori had always planned to get out of tiny Tumble Creek, Colorado, but when her late dad left her his beloved auto body shop, she’d stayed. Now, according to her crazy best friend, Molly, what Lori needs is some excitement, in the form of hot, no-strings-attached sex…and lots of it.

Quinn Jennings has buildings on the brain–not love and romance. A serious architect, he’s delighted to discover that Lori is willing to skip dating protocols and head straight for the sheets. And aided by the steamy books on Lori’s bedside table, he’s busy indulging both of their wildest fantasies. But when life in Tumble Creek takes a dangerous turn for Lori, Quinn’s protective instincts kick in.

Suddenly he cares. More than either of them ever expected…

Lori Love is a car mechanic who owns her own auto-body shop and drives a tow truck in Colorado. She falls for her best friend’s brother, Quinn Jennings, an architect. I love how Lori has a career that requires strength, mechanical knowledge and courage–especially as Lori has to take the tow truck out in some dangerous situations–and she’s good at it. She struggles with the fact that her expectations of her life haven’t become reality (she’d always wanted to leave town and see the world, but her dad was seriously injured and she stayed home to take care of him instead), but she doesn’t struggle with the actual work. When Quinn gets worried about her safety, she puts him in his place and really shows her strength. Plus, this book is really freakin’ HOT.

 

after hours cara mckennaAfter Hours by Cara McKenna

A dangerous infatuation with a rough and ready man…

Erin Coffey has been a nurse for years, but nothing’s prepared her for the physical and emotional demands of her new position. Needing to move closer to her dysfunctional family, she takes a dangerous job at Larkhaven Psychiatric Hospital, where she quickly learns that she needs protection—and she meets the strong, over-confident coworker who’s more than willing to provide it.

Kelly Robak is the type of guy that Erin has sworn she’d never get involved with. She’s seen firsthand, via her mess of a sister, what chaos guys like him can bring into a woman’s life. But she finds herself drawn to him anyway, even when he shows up at her door, not eager to take no for an answer.

What Erin finds even more shocking than Kelly’s indecent proposal is how much she enjoys submitting to his every command. But he can’t play the tough guy indefinitely. If they want to have more than just an affair, both will have to open up and reveal what they truly need.

I think this book melted my ereader. Erin Coffey is a nurse in a psychiatric hospital, where she meets uber-hot orderly Kelly Robak. As the title suggests, they start up a liaison after hours, and it’s one of the sexiest things I’ve ever read. Erin is new to this job but she’s clearly good at it, and Kelly helps her through some of the challenges she faces–just as she helps him when one of his favorite patients harms himself. The conflict between wanting to be strong and independent, and knowing when you need help, works wonderfully in this book.

 

flowers from the stormFlowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale

The Duke of Jervaulx was brilliant – and dangerous. Considered dissolute, reckless, and extravagant, he was transparently referred to as the “D of J” in scandal sheets. But sometimes the most womanizing rakehell can be irresistible, and even his most causal attentions fascinated the sheltered Maddy Timms.

Then one fateful day she receives the shocking news – the duke is lost to the world. And Maddy knows it is her destiny to help him and her only chance to find the true man behind the wicked facade.

But she never dreamed her gentle, healing touch would alter his life and her own so completely – and bind them together in need, desire…and love.

There are no words for how much I love this book. Maddie Timms is a Quaker who’s an asylum nurse. She looks after the Duke of Jervaulx, who today we would recognize as having suffered a stroke but in the early 19th century was diagnosed as mad. He’s not only imprisoned in a horrible asylum but in his own body. Maddie is the only person who braves his temper to help him communicate, but they belong to completely different worlds and she struggles to determine which of her community’s values are essential to her own identity and which are worth sacrificing for her imperfect love. What a beautiful, beautiful story.

 

anticipation sarah mayberryAnticipation by Sarah Mayberry

The eagerly awaited next instalment in New York Times bestseller Sarah Mayberry’s Brothers Ink Series!
Blue Sullivan knows a player when she sees one. And Eddie Oliveira—charm and sex personified—was born to play. She never wanted him to say goodbye, so for the last ten years she’s ignored the sizzling attraction between them and focused on being the best sidekick a guy could have. Smart girl, right?

Then Blue has a serious accident, and overnight Eddie changes. Suddenly he’s more intense and singularly devoted…to her. With all this sexy attention, it’s hard to stay within the boundaries she’s scrupulously drawn. The temptation, the anticipation builds and, finally, she has to have what he’s offering. Of course Eddie proves to be brilliant. Now, she worries he’s ruined her forever, as well as the friendship that is so important to her….

This book came out very recently, but I already know it’s one I’ll come back to over and over. Blue Sullivan is a tattoo artist working for Eddie Oliveira’s tattoo parlor in Melbourne. Even though she works for him, she clearly taught him a thing or two early in his career. She even let him give her the first tattoo he ever did. You know you trust someone if you let them practice their tattoo skills on you! She and Eddie are best friends and she’s always wanted more, but she knows Eddie isn’t capable of giving more. At least, she thinks she knows that, until she has a bad accident and Eddie suddenly realizes how much she means to him. Their chemistry is explosive, and their commitment to each other is just as permanent as the ink they needle into each other. A definite must-read!
That’s it! Five absolute keepers featuring heroines with unusual jobs. Do you have any to recommend so I can add them to my TBR pile?

taming the legendAbout Kat Latham:

Kat Latham is a California girl who moved to Europe the day after graduating from UCLA, ditching her tank tops for raincoats. She taught English in Prague and worked as an editor in London before she and her British husband moved to the Netherlands, where they are surrounded by miles and miles of green pasture, canals and Shetland ponies. Kat’s slowly adjusting to life in a place where bicycles and cows seem to outnumber people.

With degrees in English lit and human rights, she loves stories that reflect the humor and emotion of real life. Kat’s other career involves writing and editing for charities, and she’s had the privilege of traveling to Kenya, Ethiopia and India to write about the heroic people helping their communities survive disasters.

You can usually find Kat on her blog (katlatham.com), Twitter (@KatrinaLatham), Facebook (facebook.com/KatLathamRomance) and Goodreads. She hopes you’ll hang out with her there!

Check out Kat’s latest release: Taming the Legend (HOT RUGBY PLAYERS!)

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