Series: Champion Valley #1
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Source: ARC, NetGalley
THE LOVE OF THE GAME
Money. Fame. Endorsements. Blake Carpenter had it all—before his professional football career spiraled out of control. Determined to rebuild his life, he takes on coaching the high school team in his Colorado hometown. Despite a few fumbles, Blake knows he can lead these boys to victory. As long as he can keep his eyes on the prize and off the team's distractingly gorgeous physical therapist.
Annabelle Turner knows all about the scandal that cost Blake his NFL career, and she'll be damned if she's going to let his mistakes hurt her team. What she doesn't count on is the intense attraction that turns every heated run-in they have into a wildly erotic competition. Point by point, play by play, kiss by kiss, they try to keep things professional for the good of the team. But when the score is this close—and the passion this fierce—it's anybody's game...
Winner Takes All
Sweet romance with a sassy, divorced heroine and a hero with a chip on his shoulder. He had to retire from the NFL for failing a drug test. Turns out, his trainers were injecting him with steroids after an injury. She is a physical therapist who moved to the small town to help her mother after her 2 hip surgeries. Annabelle also works with the HS football team that Blake coaches.
I admit, I thought it was unusual and unlikely that a PT would be working with a small town HS football team with a MAJOR losing streak. But, I can move past that. I liked both of these characters. Annabelle has sort of created a life she can be happy with, but she never quite seems totally fulfilled with just her mom, her BFF, and her job. She is skeptical of men after she catches her now ex husband cheating. Blake is out to prove himself. Obviously, he is struggling with his ‘early retirement’ and trying to adjust to a new reality. He is also struggling with pain pills. I was concerned that I might find these two a bit annoying because of their previous hang ups, but I didn’t. Annabelle could be a bit pushy at times, but you can really see that she is coming from a place of love. And you can totally see how much Blake cares about his football players. He wants them to win, but more importantly, he wants them to be good people. There is good banter between the two and that insta-lust factor that drives the relationship. This is a pretty clean romance in terms of heat, but still enjoyable. If you like a bit of adversary to lover with a bit of small town romance (and the gossipy old ladies that come with it!), you will enjoy Winner Takes All.
- POV: 3rd
- Tears: no
- Trope: enemies to lovers, small town
- Triggers: none
- Series/Standalone: stand alone
- Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »no « Hide Spoiler
- HEA: View Spoiler »Yes, with an epilogue but no mention of what their relationship status is (just dating, engaged, married?) « Hide Spoiler
She’s Got a Way by Maggie McGinnis, Defending Hayden by LP Dover, Interference by Sophia Henry…then you will probably like Winner Takes All!