This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Berkley
Released on May 6, 2014
A bit of suspense and conspiracy in the football world, a strong, no nonsense nutritionist intern in financial trouble and a happy go lucky football star all make for a sizzling sports romance in Risky Game.
Risky Game is the third book in the Out of Bounds series. This one would work out of order or standalone thought it will be noticeable that it is connected to a series.
Brody Janik, football star, is at the top of his game on and off the field. Or so everyone thinks. Due to a health issue just before his next contract negotiation, he is forced to consider who he is and what he will do if he doesn’t have football. Issues with his diet are causing him to have energy losses and dizziness during games and practices. He needs a nutritionist and it all needs to be kept secret from the team doctors and trainers so it won’t affect the team wondering if he is good to play. An opportunity drops straight into Brody’s lap to have his nutritionist and keep her silence when he learns her secrets. Only as much as he tells himself that it’s strictly a business arrangement, Shannon, makes him want more.
Shannon Everett is working on her PhD and interning as a nutritionist for the Baltimore Blaze. Money is tight because she is helping her mom pay down the family debt and trying to live while working on student loans. She is tempted by an offer to earn money for a mystery sports gossip blogger by getting a locker room secret, but just when she decides not to stoop that low for money, she overhears Brody’s secret. He soon learns this and strikes back ruthlessly by making it clear he thinks she is the blogger’s snitch and will use that and her financial issues if she doesn’t help him. Shay has body issues and struggles to believe the spark of interest she sees between Brody and herself besides she has her life mapped out and a light-hearted football stud doesn’t fit into her plans.
So, this one had a little mystery going on with the vicious anonymous blogger and the snitch that was paired with the passionate and sometimes playful sparing of Brody and Shay. The author writes well-layered characters with strengths and flaws and offers an interesting facet to the pro-athlete’s life namely nutrition and health issues. Brody is a smoking hot, top of his game athlete without a seeming care in the world other than this glitch with his body’s sugar and Shay is a smart, brilliant woman with a lot of Texas sass. It was fun at times to see the way they wrangled.
At this point, I struggle to put into words what I thought of this story. I’ve actually begun this part four times with the last three ending up variations of the same rant. I don’t want to do rants, but I also don’t know how to succinctly word what didn’t make this an altogether enjoyable story for me.
But I shall endeavor to try- without much ranting.
The easiest issue is the ending. I felt there was need of more. I can think of three elements brought out in the story that were left vague or unresolved at the end. A fourth element, and part of the mystery, is left unresolved, but I’m pretty sure it is meant to carry into the next installment of the book. The overall story was resolved with a happily ever after, but it was some of the details that needed coloring in.
Another issue was on two occasions I was left scratching my head about what just went down to cause such a fuss. For instance, Brody and Shay are getting ready to spend their first time together having sex. He discovers she is a virgin. He already knows she has sticking points caused by her past and her frequent withdrawals from him when they got passionate before so he wants her to be good and sure that she wants this. All of a sudden, she’s locked in the bathroom sobbing and he is so worried about her that he breaks the door down to make sure she’s alright. Suddenly, Shay is blaming him, his family and friends are blaming him, and he’s the bad guy for brutalizing Shay. Ummm, what?
But my biggest sore spot was that this book was unbalanced. I expect the characters to have flaws and I expect to see them grow. I expect the romance to be a partnership of equals with both bringing strengths and weaknesses to the table. But this one didn’t.
Brody is always in the wrong (and he does screw up his fair share of the time) and always taking the blame when, seriously, more than half the time, Shay is responsible for the problem because her low self-esteem and body issues and nobody including Shay sees it. His family, friends, and the team descend on him like a Greek Chorus each and every time little Shay Shay pops out a tear or a sad face. I suppose it is meant to be funny, but it didn’t hit me that way.
I got pretty tired of her entitlement grandstanding, too. Girlfriend acts like being poor, working hard jobs, and working on her doctorate gives her the right to call him a dumb jock and accuse him of not understanding the value of working hard for something (um, a pro-athlete who climbs to that level and maintains it is working hard not to mention living life in a fishbowl isn’t easy). Brody respected her and I wasn’t impressed that she couldn’t respect him back. Doesn’t make for a good romance in my book.
It might seem I hated the story, but actually I liked large portions of it. I could definitely see them doing well together and I was rooting for them to get past their differences. I enjoyed the mystery side and seeing the whole cast of characters from previous books. I’ll also go so far as to say that other people probably won’t get set off by what frustrated me.
So, in the end, I liked it. I have read two books in the series and plan to keep going. I’m going to recommend it to lovers of Sports Romance.
My thanks to Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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