Release Date: Sep 11, 2018
Series: The Playbook
Heat Level: Sensual
Publisher: Penguin Group
Gavin Pope – a sexy, football god stuffed into too-tight pants on Sundays for us women to ogle. He’s my new book boyfriend, hope y’all don’t mind. I’ll share him with you via the book, but at the end of the day I’ll claim him. He’s the romance hero I didn’t know I was looking for. Seriously.
Marlee Harper doesn’t know she’s looking for him either, but she does know from a previous one-night adventure that he’s as sinful in bed as his looks are. Marlee also refuses to date football players anymore. Except, can she really turn away from a guy who defends her, stands up for her, treats her like she’s the most important person in the world… I could go on.
So, what did I really like about the story? The characters are amazing. Martin does this excellent job of crafting protagonists I wanted to root for and antagonists worth Best Villain Academy Awards. Marlee, friends Nicole and Brynn, hero Gavin (delicious) are giving glowing testimonials in Marlee’s eyes (yep, this is a first person POV), and through their actions on behalf of the heroine. Also, Gavin’s agent, Donnie, a true New Yorker with a potty mouth the size of Texas is an inspiration. He deploys the ‘F’ word with constant efficiency and it’s endearing as it is annoying. The villains and their shenanigans take things to a whole new level.
Second, the hero is so precious. He’s got honor, integrity, kindness, and is gentleman above all things. This guy knows the importance of doing dishes for a woman who cooked his dinner *swoon*. Yes, the guy GETS IT. Every time he comes on the page, opens his mouth, I had to re-read the dialogue. It was like a fantasy walked out. Gavin Pope embodied to me what a football player without the toxic masculinity we are always seeing blasted in the headlines. He’s what I want in a head quarterback.
Especially, after the set down he gives to the wife of the previous lead quarter back for coming down on Marlee after her ex verbally and physically harasses her.
“Are you happy, Marlee? We’re going to lose sponsors and money because you couldn’t just stay at home and your own business.” She stops and moves her narrowed eyes toward Gavin. “And I’m so disappointed in you, Gavin. I don’t expect much from her, but you should know better. I can’t believe Coach Jacobs replaced Kevin with someone who would fight a teammate. Kevin would never behave the way you have tonight.”
“You’re right,” Gavin says. Courtney’s eye widen with surprise – her forehead still doesn’t move – and it’s clear to anyone around us, she approached us looking for another fight. “Kevin would never stick up for a woman who’s being harassed. Which is the reason I was brought in. Your husband lacks the integrity and leadership it takes to have a winning team.”
I found myself smitten right there. Gavin displays qualities I can only hope to instill in my own son. One’s I long to inspire my daughter to search for.
Finally, I loved the story line. This book had a little bit of a chick lit feel to it in that the heroine had some growing to do for herself. She’d gone through a lot with her ex and with living a life for another person. I loved to see Marlee forcing herself to find her again and to learn who she was. It doesn’t dominate the story, but those elements were something I could relate to.
Overall, this book hit all my marks. From the crazy hashtags to powerful dialogue and scenes that are so sticky. I can’t wait for the second book and though this isn’t quite the same old romance I truly believe many will love it the same way I do.
This is for readers who enjoyed The Hating Game.