Eleven authors. Eleven Novellas. This is one thick . . . book.
Christmas just became a whole lot merrier...
TEAM PLAYER, A Christmas Anthology
featuring titles by LJ Shen, Kennedy Ryan, Adriana Locke, Mandi Beck, Emma Scott, Charleigh Rose, Ella Fox, Sara Ney, Meghan Quinn, Kate Stewart and Rochelle Paige is available NOW!
Publication Date: December 14th, 2017 Genre: Contemporary/Sports Romance
“…and I knew, in that moment, the greatest story of my life was about to begin.”Janey Martin is sick of being held back in her pursuit of truth through journalism. Unfortunately for her, her father still pulls many strings, and Janey is sent to Paris, France to complete her college education.
On arrival, Janey is dismayed to find that again she is given fluff pieces to write about, starting with interviewing Adrian Rousseau; talented football (soccer) player whose star is on the rise. Worse, when they first meet, she is attracted to him. Can she get anymore stereotypical?
It’s not long before that Jane realises the surface Adrian and the real one are very different people. The more time they spend together, the more obvious it is to Janey that football is not where Adrian’s heart lies.
One Good Man is a complete story. It’s slow burn. And I have no idea how Emma Scott fit everything into this short length. There were many layers, each one peeling after the other until we get to the core truth.
The 1970 setting in Paris, France, framed by the impact of several wars is an unusual choice but it fits. We see the impact of wars on several generations. We visit a city nearly 50 years in the past, one that is similar yet so different to the one today. We get to live through a time when attitudes about life and people’s place in it are firmly set and very different to today’s mindset. Ultimately we get a beautiful love story between two people who are driven to do great things in this world.
“I’m in love with my best friend … With the girl who believed in me before even *I* believed in myself … And I’m going to conquer her. Consequences be damned.”Sage, college football superstar and manwhore, time and again manages to thwart guys interested in his childhood friend Jolie. With only a few months remaining until graduation, he decides to go one better and convinces Jolie he needs her to play the role of “fake” girlfriend.
Jolie loves Sage but she will never tell him. His friendship is too important to sacrifice for a short-lived relationship.
Sage and Jolie have such a long history that there’s no need for that awkward getting-to-know you phase to muddle through. What we get is a story filled with funny one-liners and wisecrack remarks as Sage and Jolie navigate this new relationship of theirs.
There is much playful banter as well as a few moments of drama that make this an enjoyable read all round.
“I think we need a rule that you walk around wearing my name on some part of your body every day.”This second chance romance features Ryan Forrester, professional hockey player and Tamara Antonov, an Olympic medal winning speed skater.
Tamara is hired to coach Ryan’s team on power skating skills but there is the pesky problem that they already know each other thanks to a one night stand several months earlier. Ryan may be ready for a relationship but his reputation does him no good with the skittish Tamara.
As he slowly manages to breakdown her walls, the future looms ahead of them with Tamara headed for Olympic training and Ryan remaining with his hockey team.
This book dealt well with two characters that have professional commitments forcing them apart.
“We both have pasts and we’ve both had pain, but what we’ve never had was each other.”This story is about a romance that’s 10 years delayed. Mackenzie Decker (aka Decker) first meets Avery Hughes in a locker room after a basketball match. Already struggling to gain respect as a reporter, the “towel incident” ruins any romantic chances for these two thanks to Avery’s humiliation.
A decade later sees the now retired Decker facing off against Avery on a sports TV show. The time spent together brings back memories and many “what ifs”, especially since the attraction between them is still there.
This short story packs an emotional punch. Desire, heartbreak and determination to get it right this time around make for an all-round great story.
Elena has a complicated relationship with Colin. Having known him since childhood, she has over time idolised him, crushed on him and fallen in love with him. Colin, irrespective of his feelings, has stayed away from the 10 years younger Elena.
Colin’s new job at Elena’s college – where teacher/student fraternisation is strongly discouraged – makes life difficult for them both as this fledgling romance tries to take shape.
I really enjoyed the set-up of how these character’s lives intertwined. I kept wondering how the story would play out given the restrictions in place at the college. Disappointingly, the momentum fizzled out and the eventual solution was anti-climactic.
“Have you ever done something so incredibly life-changing that you can’t make it right?”PR consultant, Erica Wild, is assigned to overhaul professional baseball player, Ren Makavoy’s bad boy reputation; the reputation that Ren has earned in the last couple of years since he and Erica split.
Ren was heartbroken when Erica left him. Further, he never understood why. Resenting management’s dictates that she babysits him; it’s a perfect opportunity for him to show his indifference to her. He really tries but those feelings just keep getting in the way.
Erica’s reservations about their relationship may be valid but even she is wondering if breaking up was the right way to tackle her misgivings.
The emotional aspects of this second chance romance are balanced with moments of comedy.
A special mention goes out to Alice & Rafe’s behind-closed-doors scene. I was howling with laughter.
“Where did this woman come from and why was I so lucky to find her?”This was such a sweet, endearing read that it felt like a sugar overload of the best kind. It was also incredibly funny.
In somewhat of a role reversal to the typical romance, it’s Calder, our hero, who is awkward, nervous, lacking practice in the dating world and being the sole carer for his daughter. He might be a beast on the ice but this hockey player is the kindest and most loving father you will encounter for a long time.
He is very attracted to Rachel and he wants to pursue this thing between them while protecting his daughter. Rachel’s honesty and straight-forwardness equally impresses him, reassures him and leaves him questioning if it’s possible she is real.
A special mention goes out to Calder’s teammate Hayden. The conversations these two have and the dating advice given by Hayden definitely bring out the laughs.
Cam and Mollie’s one night stand results in an unplanned pregnancy. Mollie’s decision about when (if?) to tell Cam he’s going to be a father is taken out of her hands when they run into each other unexpectedly.
The story is about them navigating this reality and their feelings for each other.
I struggled to take this story seriously because none of the characters seemed to. There was nothing funny about it yet the lackadaisical attitude taken by most characters has me thinking this story has just gone over my head.
Instead of cheering for our couple to get their happy ever after, I was perplexed. The reasons why the pregnancy was kept secret from everyone seem insignificant given the relaxed attitude taken when all the circumstances were revealed.
“Who are you?” She asks bewildered.“Tell you the truth, I have no fucking clue. I am scaring myself a little.”Stella Cruz spends several wild, passionate days and nights with Jason Dagger who is 10 years her senior. When she tries to reconnect with him some months later, he cruelly and deliberately cuts her off. Monogamous relationships are tough given his nomadic life as a professional hockey player. Furthermore, the age difference between them is too much for him.
It seems like third time’s a charm though. Stella’s life has veered off course and Jason’s attempts to help her come with a change of heart.
The bones in this story are good but it suffers because everything is condensed in this short story format. Things happen too fast and I did not believe in Jason’s change of heart.
Switch Hitter by Sara Ney
“I don’t think you should kiss me. “I pull back, eyebrows drawn together, perplexed. “Why?”“Because I want you to,”
In this humour filled story, Amelia, ever the sensible sister, is roped into helping her twin, Lucy, by impersonating her on a date with Dante “Dash” Amado.
Never mind that Amelia and Lucy have opposite personalities, the real problem is that Amelia really likes Dash. But breaking the sister-code is a no-go.
Not helping matters is an intrigued and fascinated Dash. Where has the shallow Lucy gone? And why is he attracted to her now? Lucy’s the same person - right?
This was a fun, light-hearted read.