Geek meets the football player with unexpected sparks the result in this romance that starts out fun and flirty but takes a serious turn as the story progresses. It's an engaging read from start to finish and one that will capture reader's attentions. So keep reading to get a tempting taste of Oh Henry by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff, along with my impressions of it, then add it to your bookshelf. In honor of this second installment in The OhHellNo Series make sure to fill out the form below for the chance to win a signed copy of this book too!
SHE'S GOT ME BY THE FOOTBALLS...
My name is Henry Walton, and though I've been called many things throughout my life--tree trunk, moose, walrus--I am now six foot five, solid muscle, and the hottest defensive end in the NFL college draft. This is the moment I've been waiting for: fame, women, and glory.
Just one problem: I'm suddenly in a bad slump. And it started the moment I got dumped by Elle, the nerdy goddess with thick glasses, a smokin' hot body, and a genius IQ.
So what gives? We only dated for a few weeks, and it's not like I've missed her. (Much.) Regardless, all the facts point to one conclusion. Elle is my lucky nerd-charm.
Call me superstitious, but I have to get her back before I lose everything. Even if she's the last girl I should want and she now hates my guts.
It’s Friday, the last day of classes before Thanksgiving break, and I’m not exactly sure why I’ve come to see Henry practice, considering that I told him we were through. Maybe part of me longs for a little stress relief, the reason I began seeing him initially. I had never had casual sex before him, but nothing in my life has plotted normal this past year, and now I’m nervous about going home for an entire week. The two-hour drive isn’t far, so I go home all the time to see mypoor mother, who has a brain tumor and is in the process of evolving away from this world. At least, that’s the way I like to think of it. When it’s our time, we transform, but we never truly die.
Matter can’t die.
Of course, if my heart believed all that, I wouldn’t have to remind myself fifteen times a day that death is part of life or that my mother can’t leave this world seeing me a mess. Her final happiness is why I started college at the age of nineteen after swearing I’d never go. She’s why I’ve stuck with it and pretend things are normal. Pretending is also how I handle seeing her for a day or two before running back to campus, where I erect my mental fortress and make it all go away.
Thanksgiving week, though… Ugh. My aunt and uncle from California will be there, as will my cousin. My older sister, Lana, who lives nearby, and my father will be there, too, of course. But I know this upcoming week, likely our last Thanksgiving with her, is going to feel more like a funeral, not a holiday. Because my family’s not like me. They’re not able to bury their emotions in a sea of logic. I’ll have to sit there and listen to the sadness in their voices and see the tears. Then I’ll have to watch my mother trying to stay strong for them when I know on the inside, nothing hurts her more than watching the people she loves suffer.
How am I going to get through this?
Crap. It’s no wonder I find myself longing for Henry. Mr. Fun. He’s also the hottest guy I’ve ever met. Tall and strong like a great oak, vivid green eyes, dirty blond hair, and a panty dropper of a smile. My roomie, Tassie, says he looks like a seriously built, young Brad Pitt. I just say the man is fine. Sigh...
I watch Henry’s towering hulk of a frame mow down two guys on the field; one of them is Hunter. Hunter is tall and lean with dark hair and blue eyes. He’s cute, hotheaded, and has a serious heart-on for Tassie, who is currently not speaking to him. It’s a mess, really. Anyone can see that Hunter and Tass are madly in love and have been since they were little. They grew up next door to each other and somehow ended up at the same college.
Anyway, Tass has become a good friend, which is why I feel bad for having lied to her. She has no clue I kept seeing Henry after she had her fallout with Hunter and their frat did the unthinkable. But there hasn’t been a good time to tell her until recently—she’s been too upset.
Well, maybe it’s time to clear the air. And since I’m here, I can warn Henry. Yes, a great excuse for being here since I can’t tell Henry the real reason. I kinda miss him.
I lean back and watch the cheerleading squad—all Gamma Nu sorority sisters—doing flips on the side of the field. I suddenly wonder which one of these incredibly beautiful women with perfect thighs, boobs, and legs is keeping Henry’s bed warm at night. He’s an animal in the sack, completely insatiable, and words cannot describe how much I miss the stress relief he brought to my life. No, he has no clue about my mom, and I have no intention of ever telling him. I need him and everything related to school to remain isolated from that part of my life.
Practice wraps up with the blow of the coach’s whistle, and the sweaty, tired-looking team makes their way to the locker room. Everyone except Henry, who’s high-fiving a few ladies as he heads toward me and the bleachers.
My heart rate increases, and little flutters erupt inside my knotted stomach. I don’t know what I want to say to him. Somehow, I doubt I’ll muster the courage to spit out, “I needed to see your smiling face.” Besides, it wouldn’t be fair. He’ll think it means something more than it does when I already know he’s not the guy for me.
I get up and take the stairs to meet up with Henry on the side of the grassy field.
“Hey,” I say with false bravado.
He pops off his helmet and those stunning green eyes of his sparkle in the sunlight. He’s so full of life. I love that about him.
“Hey, Elle.” His voice is deep, like a growling bear, and exactly what you’d expect from a guy who’s six-five and over twice my size.
A flash of memories explodes inside my mind of Henry groaning in my ear, telling me how beautiful I am, and of him laughing with that gruff-sounding voice as he pins me down and tickles my neck with his stubbly chin. Henry loved making me laugh.
Suddenly, I realize that moments have passed and we’re just standing there staring at each other’s lips.
I shake it off and clear my throat. “I, uh, just came by to say hi. How’s it going?"
He flashes one of those dimply, scruffy-jaw smiles that make my panties instantly steam up. “Surprisingly well, actually.” He makes a little shrug with his wide shoulders, the padding underneath his black jersey making him look even bigger than he already is.
“I’m happy to hear that,” I lie, secretly wanting him to be miserable without me.
Stupid. You don’t want that. Get your head out of your rear orifice, Elle.
He nods and stares like he’s waiting.
“Oh. Yeah, I, uh…just wanted you to know that I’m going to come clean with Tass."
“About what?” he asks.
“About you and me. I mean, I know it’s over, but I never told her the truth, and I think I should now that she seems to be turning the corner."
“What corner?” he asks.
“Hunter. She’s finally starting to get over him—I think—and I really don’t like keeping secrets from her."
The atmosphere abruptly shifts between us, and his eyes harden on me, like he expected me to give him another reason for my visit.
Oh, crap. I’ve made a huge selfish mistake by coming here. Whatever happened between us, we’re still not over it. Yet nothing’s changed. I’m wrong for him. He’s wrong for me.
“Fine by me,” he says. His tone is sharp and accusatory. “I never told you to lie to her—that was all you. I just went along to make you happy. Clearly, that’s not possible."
The jab isn’t missed, but I need to steer clear of the “us” topic and get the hell out of here. Fast.
“And I thank you for helping me protect her. She would’ve felt betrayed if she’d known I kept seeing you after Hunter slept with her for a bet."
It’s true, and the infamous bet is also a good reminder of why Henry is so, so, soooo wrong for me. As part of rush week, there’d been a stupid frat game involving stealing thingsfrom other Greeks, hazing, drinking, and nailing virgins. The pledges with the highest scores became the newest members of the Alpha Phi fraternity, which is the big football frat that Henry, and now Hunter, belong to. Lame.
Henry shakes his head and drags his strong hand over the top of his sweaty blond mop. He’s the only man in the world whose perspiration comes out smelling like spring water infused with mint or something herbal. He always smells good.
“You’re wrong,” he says. “Hunter didn’t fuck Tass for a bet. He’s into her. Period. And we both know that."
“Yeah, well, he might be into her, but he still participated in the bet, and you can’t argue that it looks bad.” Henry has three sisters—two older and one younger—so I know he gets what I’m saying.
“It did look bad,” he admits, “which is why a bunch of us left the frat, despite knowing we’d piss off half the team."
“Why?” I ask, hardly able to believe it.
“I can’t speak for the other guys, but I’m twenty-two and a senior. Doing the same old shit from freshman year just didn’t make sense anymore."
Wow. My stomach does this little cramping thing that causes a chain reaction, ending in my rapidly beating heart. Henry’s leaving the Alphas takes our romantic equation one step closer to a positive integer. Sadly, however, the facts that football is his life, he doesn’t possess a sympathetic bone in his body, and he’s more narcissistic than an only child who’s a runway model keep our equation in the negative five thousands with regards to chances of succeeding as a couple. Still, Henry’s leaving the Alphas is huge.
“When did this happen?” I ask.
“A few weeks ago. Hunter, me, and two other guys got an apartment."
“Hunter, too?” I can’t wait to tell Tassie since I’m sure she was the catalyst and she’s never truly going to be happy until she and Hunter make up.
“Hey, who can resist living with me? Plus, my family owns the building, so rent is cheap."
“Plus you get more privacy for your orgies."
“Exactly,” he says. “We’re having one tonight. Just us dudes and fifty women. Want to be number fifty-one?"
I make a gag sound.
“Elle, that was a joke. We haven’t even had one party."
“Yeah, right.” I let out pffft! That’s like saying he’s joined a circus but doesn’t plan to put on a red nose or make balloon animals. Or ride in a tiny car. Or make children laugh. Or scream, depending on their feelings about clowns.
Don’t go there, Elle. Let go of your colorful past.
Henry crosses his big, big arms over his big, big chest. “I’m serious. We’re a no-party, study-only bachelor pad. Why’s that so hard to believe?"
“Because you live for that bullcrap."
His nostrils flare a little, and his normally plump lips go flat.
“Fine. Whatever.” I hold up two palms in surrender. “I didn’t come here to talk about that, and if it’s true, then I’m happy for you. I think it’ll be good for you academically speaking, because God knows you could use some improvement."
“Elle,” his light brown brows pull together, “there’s nothing wrong with my academics."
I laugh. “You have a three point three GPA, Henry."
Wait. That came out sounding really bitchy, didn’t it?
“Wow.” He shakes his head. “That was bitchy."
Okay. Mea culpa. Still, how dare he call me that!
I feel my claws extend. “I can’t help it if I find your lack of ambition to be comical,” I say calmly. “Besides, I’m sure you’re used to bitches—since you date the cream of the crop.” I glance over at the cheerleaders, three of whom are watching us and snickering. I know they think I’m just fan-girling over him or trying to trade math tutoring for sex. They wouldn’t ever believe that a guy like him would voluntarily be with a super-nerd like me.
Actually, come to think of it, maybe I don’t believe it either. Just like I don’t believe he could ever make me happy. There. You see, Elle. You made the right choice dumping him.
“That wasn’t nice. Since when did you get so bitter."
“Must be the company,” I reply.
He shakes his head and throws in a tsk-tsk for good measure. “I don’t know what I ever saw in you."
His words instantly sting, which shocks me because I’m not new to insults. For example, my nickname in high school was “shark bait.” Yes, from the movie Nemo. I skipped a bunch of grades, which made me very small compared to my much older peer group. For demonstration purposes, I’ll disclose that I literally wore a training bra at my high school graduation. And it was too big. I really needed an over-the-shoulder pebble holder.
Well, that was then and this is now. I’m almost twenty and all filled out. And I don’t need Henry’s approval.
I lift my chin and meet Henry’s angry green eyes. “Well, I know exactly what I saw in you.” I reach for the bulge between his powerful thighs. He’s wearing an athletic supporter, so his footballs look even bigger than they are. But make no mistake, his sporting goods section is as big as a girl like me—who’s five two and weighs one hundred and twenty pounds—can tackle.
I give his man gear a little squeeze, and his whole body freezes up, like he’s sure I’m going to rip off his manhood.
“The truth is, Henry, I stopped seeing you because your goal post isn’t stiff enough to keep me entertained."
Unexpectedly, Henry cups my left breast. “I know exactly how you feel. There’s just not enough there to hold my interest. Guess I’ll have to find a girl with adult-sized pom-poms to inspire me.” The right side of his mouth curls into a cocky smile.
“Ugh!” I pull my hand from his package and slap his paw from my boob. “You’re a pig."
“Well, I hope your little—” I glance at his bulge “—sense of humor keeps you warm at night when your brain is dead from all those concussions in two years."
“Don’t you worry, sweetheart,” he says, letting his Texan twang break loose and looking over his shoulder at a group of pom-pom-toting girls drooling over him, “stayin’ warm ain’t my problem.” He turns and struts his rock-hard ass toward the locker room, like he owns the fucking world.
My innards sizzle with anger. “Dumb jock."
He lifts his middle finger without bothering to face me. “See ya, gorgeous."
He didn’t call me a stupid nerd, but his tone said it all.
As I watch him disappear into the locker room, I can’t help feeling like the tiny part of me he’d brought back to life—the part that loved to laugh and play—has just died a sad, twitchy little death. If there’s anyone in the world I wanted to connect with more, it was him. But this reaffirms my earlier assumption. We don’t work and never will. I need a serious guy who’s my equal.
Henry is a man-child. So hmph! Good riddance. Again.
MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS BOOK:
When an intelligent yet geeky young woman sets out to find a bit of fun with the star football player unexpected sparks fly along with futures irrevocably changed by their making a connection. From the moment readers meet this surprising couple they'll be put on a roller coaster of emotions in a romance that starts out fun and flirty but soon takes a serious turn that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. By the turn of the final page you'll be satisfied by all that's come before but counting down the days until the ramifications of these opposites attracting comes to fruition.
Henry Walton comes from a family of wealth. It's made his life easier in some ways but in some respects life is much harder as the family money comes with far too many strings. While he's focused on joining the NFL his father attempts to use guilt and manipulation to get him to be a part of the Walton company. Acquiescing to those manipulations will forever change Henry as the weight of the world will be put on his shoulders as the story progresses. Early on Henry looks like a party boy who's only dedicated to football, but inside is a caring young man who ends up sacrificing all for the brainiac he unexpectedly falls for. He and Elle are opposites in many ways and though their reason for getting together is merely for fun and sex at first, it soon becomes clear that they're more alike than they care to admit. When readers first meet Henry he appears arrogant and juvenile but as we get to know him we discover a man willing to sacrifice all for those he cares about. He's charming, willing to humble himself in the name of love, and is the highlight of this story as he wore his heart on his sleeve. He's the perfect hero and readers will find themselves drooling over this delicious dichotomy of sexy, sweet, and snarky!
Elle comes from an average family but is anything but average. From an early age it was clear that she was super smart and those smarts had her family planning out her entire future. She had other plans though that made for a memorable childhood until her mother's illness leads to obligations of her own. Life for her is serious as she devotes herself to college and ignores the reality and hopelessness of her mother's fate. Looking for a bit of fun has her connecting with Henry for a few weeks of erotic interludes and blocking out of the future. When feelings become involved though she runs which leads to a merry chase that endeared Henry to me even more. When she can no longer ignore the truth of what he means to her, it will lead to heartbreak as well as heartwarming admissions that had me cheering her and Henry on every step of the way. Elle's a bit unlikable early on as she puts on a tough facade. She'd rather hurt than be hurt which has her pushing Henry away in the most hurtful ways. She softens as the story progresses though, admits truths about herself, that had me rooting for her and her family. I liked that she was an unconventional heroine. She embraced her geeky side, raised her geek flag high, and it made her and Henry a more engaging couple.
On a whole this was a fun and flirty romance of opposites attracting. From the engaging main couple to the delightful secondary ones who return in this second installment in The HellNo Series, this was an entertaining read. Henry and Elle were immensely appealing and had a combustible connection through scorching interludes and witty banter that had me chuckling as well as blushing. I enjoyed their early interactions that were exhilarating and fresh but felt the suspense in the latter part of the story was a bit melodramatic. It felt unnecessary and manipulative but despite that I still enjoyed their journey and its uplifting message of love overcoming all and can't wait for this story's cliffhanger to be resolved in the next installment. Those looking for a decadently delightful hero and a unique heroine will want to add this charming and sexy read to their bookshelf!
My rating for this is a B+
*I got this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.
THE PREVIOUS INSTALLMENT IN THE OHHELLNO SERIES:
Mimi Jean Pamfiloff is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of Paranormal and Contemporary Romance. Both traditionally and independently published, Mimi has sold over 800,000 books since publishing her 1st title in 2012, and she plans to spontaneously combust once she hits the one-million mark. Although she obtained her international MBA and worked for over 15 years in the corporate world, she believes that it’s never too late to come out of the romance-closet and follow your dreams.
When not screaming at her works in progress, Mimi spends time with her two pirates in training, her loco-for-the-chili-pepper hubby, and rat terriers, Mini & DJ Princess Snowflake, in Arizona.
She continues to hope that her books will inspire a leather pants comeback (for men) and that she might make you laugh when you need it most.
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