tl;dr: sexy banter but what is the hero thinking?!
I read a lot of sports romances, but I’m not sure this one entirely counts as one. The hero and heroine are two coaches for teams that aren’t connected except for the university they both belong to, and the entire story takes place during the off-season of both sports. Kate coaches the women’s championship winning basketball team, and is a celebrated sports star in her own right, felled by an injury that led her to coaching at Wolcott. Danny has fallen from grace, a former coach for a high ranking college team who got caught in a recruitment scandal that cost him his job, his reputation, and his girlfriend, who jumped ship and married his younger brother.
Fresh off of Kate’s team’s latest championship win, she’s blindsided when she finds out that not only did the school hire a new football coach with a sordid past, but they also offered him double what they are paying her. She’s frustrated and angry, but she can’t deny the sparks that fly when she spars with her newest coworker. Her friend Millie, who also happens to be the publicist for the university, is egging on the rivalry because it gets lots of page views and clicks since it’s obvious that they have raging chemistry.
There are a few things about this story that seemed a little weird to me, and maybe effected my enjoyment of it. The banter between the two is great, although I just don’t understand why Danny, with so much to lose, pursues Kate so doggedly. She seems content to leave the attraction as just a passing thought, but he can’t seem to control himself. He comes on to her in the university workout room, practically begging her to get naked on the spot. He won’t sneak around, even though it puts his job on the line. It’s obvious that the scandal that he left behind affects him, but it’s hard to tell how.
This book also suffers slightly from “set up the rest of the series syndrome”. We’re introduced to Kate’s other friends, who are such stereotypical caricatures that they are labeled as such in Kate’s internal monologue: the priss and the feminist. Also, the foreshadowing for book two is a little ham-fisted, as it doesn’t further the plot of THIS book and is just tossed in.
I mostly enjoyed this book, aside from a few characterization problems. I liked how the creepy journalist is dealt with, as the plot turn I was expecting didn’t quite turn out that way. I like it when I’m surprised like that. Some of the banter between the hero and heroine is also really funny and great.
Find a copy at your local library!
While this is my first romance with basketball in it, it’s not my first football-adjacent romance. For another sexy football coach, check out It Had To Be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.