This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Sports Romance
Published by Berkley
Released on December 3, 3013
Tis the Football Season and I was pleased to take up a football-themed sports romance by a new-to-me author. I knew this was a second book in a series, but got lucky in that this didn’t factor into my ability to engage with the story and characters. This one did tap on one of my plot pet peeves and it was touch and go in the beginning whether I would muscle past that, but I’m glad I gave it a chance because I ended up really getting into it and loving the romance and the surrounding plots.
The story opens when NFL Pro, Will Connelly, gets blind-sided with the shocking news that a one night stand the previous year produced a baby boy and the woman hid it from him until now when the baby is dying without a blood transfusion from Will. He is hurt and angry especially after the woman called out another man’s name when they were together and then disappeared without leaving him a name or anything. Will had been so careful about stuff like that because he never wanted for a child to grow up a bastard and without a dad like he did and now, thanks to this gal, it happened. Well not anymore. His son will have a dad and know he is wanted and loved. He’s got a plan and a proposition that Julianne had best not turn down. He’s already been pushed because of the scandal that has hit the NFL that is a firestorm with Will caught in the middle trying to do the right thing by everyone.
Julianne knows she screwed up horribly. She deserves all of Will’s hate and anger and the disgust and hurt from her closest friends whom she deceived along with Will and kept his son from him. She is a hot mess and let her issues make her hide and lie hurting all these people. She will make it all good so long as Will comes through with the transfusion. But that being said, she is not just going to roll over and let forceful, dominant Will dictate everything. He’s unimpressed with her ‘fly by the seat of her pants- live in the present and ignore the future’ attitude. Well, she’ll show him that running from your past and hiding behind a wall of mistrust isn’t the way to go either. Okay, just as soon as she proves it to herself first. Meantime, this thing with Will and the shared time with Owen makes her want so much more than they agreed on.
Alrighty, so this one starts off with a secret baby- fake mates deal that had me very worked up. I had Julianne written off the moment I met Will in the story. I do not like it when women hide a child from the dad unless its a safety issue. It wasn’t even close to a safety issue, but there were hints that she didn’t have her head on right because of stuff from her past so after the third time I put down the book (yeah, she was a real piece of work in the beginning- blame shifting and lashing out defensively)I was determined to give her a fair shot to see if her mess matched her actions and choices. I never did completely think her drastic measures were justified, but she owned her mistake and wholeheartedly tried to make good even while struggling against quite a bit of her own past trauma so I cut that gal some slack. Will was no perfect innocent because he responded in kind right back at her when she poked at his sore spots, but he was a guy who was intense, but honorable and trying to do the right thing by all concerned.
Once the opening shock of the secret baby and their wild solution was settled, the story got interesting for me. I enjoyed watching these two opposites gripped by their pasts really start to heal and love as a result of each other. And oh the passion both in and out of the bedroom…
[quote]For such a smart man, he really was an idiot sometimes. Did he really not see how much she wanted him every moment? How much she needed him? How much power he had over her?
“Oh God, Will! Don’t you get it?” she confessed giving him the power to destroy her if he wished. “I miss you whenever you leave the room. I miss you as soon as you leave my body. Sometimes…sometimes it’s so overwhelming that I’m beginning to think I really am bat-shit crazy.”
“It’s bat-shit crazy. I think we both probably are.”
And then he finally kissed her. pp. 183-184 Julianna and Will from Foolish Games[/quote]
[quote]”Last time you needed me.” His breath fanned her ear. “Tonight, I need you, Princess.”
Her knees buckled as he pressed an open-mouthed kiss just below her ear. p. 202 Will from Foolish Games[/quote]
But there was a whole lot of other stuff going on besides Will and Julianna’s romance. There was the secondary autumn romance between Will’s boss, Hank, and Will’s mom, Annabeth which was just so adorable. Hank has Annabeth so flustered most of the time. There was the intrigue of the football scandal which incidentally was the catalyst for the heartwrenching stuff at the end. And there was a great deal of character development and family and friends interactions. Brody, Will’s teammate, just made each scene he was in sparkle. I can’t wait to read his story.
So in the end, I had a good time with this one and definitely want more of the series and more from the author. I can’t say that I changed my mind about the secret baby plot theme, but it was left behind as other things took my interest. This is definitely for those who enjoy a passionate Contemporary Romance set in a small town with a sports element in the background.
Thank you to Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this story in exchange for my honest review.
And thank you To Be or Not To Be…Read Voters. Another good pick!
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