Pub Date: September 2018
Publisher: self published
Length: 444 pages
POV: Alternating 1st/present
FTC: Borrowed via Kindle
CW: Cheating, chronic illness, self-image/weight issues
As angry as I was for reading Long Shot by this author without being warned it was a book about domestic violence, the book itself was compelling enough to get me to try again. Because despite my well known aversion to present tense, I found Ryan's voice fantastic. But this time, the potentially "nope" content was out there and being publicly acknowledged by people on Twitter, so I knew going in that cheating was part of this book. And that's something I normally avoid. (The official blurb does not have a content warning at all)
Since I'm not skilled enough to make a clickable spoiler tag for the blog I'm struggling to find time for, if you'd like to see how cheating is involved, specifically, please scroll all of the way down to the bottom. It is not between the two main protagonists.
The blurb says this is an enemies-to-lovers story, but that's not really accurate. Banner loathes Jared, for extremely good (if mistaken) reasons. Jared doesn't hate Banner, though. She's always been his obsession. He needles her whenever they interact, which up until this book starts isn't often. He hasn't been able to convince her that what she believes happened, didn't actually go down the way she thinks it did, but that doesn't stop him from admiring everything about her.
If you prefer your romance without ethically or morally dubious stuff, this book isn't for you. Because while Banner is a good person (the agent with the heart known for her loyalty) Jared isn't. He is completely and utterly ruthless about everything. Even with his POV scenes, he's hard to really like. Possible sociopath. Definitely not caring about anything or anyone except for Banner and maybe his immediate family.
That being said, I was completely sold on this romance. I know nothing about sports, and less about sports management, but the emotional punch and the depth of conflict here is terrific. The chemistry is completely off the charts. I really liked it, despite my reservations.
My Grade: A
A STANDALONE second chance, enemies-to-lovers romance set in the cutthroat world of sports management.
They're two sharks in a fish tank...
If I had a dollar for every time Banner Morales made my heart skip a beat...
The heart everyone assumes is frozen over.
Her anger is... arousing.
Every glare from those fire-spitting eyes, every time she grits her teeth, gets me... well, you know.
If I had a dollar for every time she's put me in my place, I'd be an even richer man.
I'm a successful sports agent because I assume "no" means you'll think about it.
I'm sure what you meant to say is "Coming right up."
They say even rich men don't always get what they want, but those men don't know how to play the game. The trick is to keep them guessing.
Take Banner. She assumes she's winning, but this game?
She doesn't even know how to play.
If I had a dollar for every time Jared Foster broke my heart, I'd have exactly one dollar.
One night. One epic fail. One dollar... and I'm out.
I've moved on.
I've found success in a field ruled by men.
Anything they can do, I have done better.
They can keep the field while I call the shots, blocking them when I have to.
And Jared has the nerve to think he gets a second chance?
Boy, please. Go sit down. Have several seats.
I'll just be over here ignoring the man carved from my fantasies with a lust-tipped chisel.
Oh, I didn't say the struggle wasn't real.
But I've got that one dollar, and Jared won't have me.
Banner is in a committed relationship with her client. Someone she has been friends with for a decade, but recently made the switch to romantic. She's not really sure whether she's made a mistake, because she is pretty sure she's not in love. Jared knows she's involved, and despite her protests, uses their attraction to basically override Banner's usually strong loyalty. Banner had intended to end her relationship prior to sleeping with Jared, but that's not how things shake out. She immediately confesses to her boyfriend upon his return to town. It's out of character, and for me...I know real life examples of this, and Ryan manages to...if not excuse it...then at least make it understandable about how it could happen and why that infidelity wouldn't happen again between Jared and Banner.