A best friends to enemies to lovers romance.
As the first female lead sportscaster with FNN (Football News Network), I’ve had to be tough and unflappable for years. No matter how far we women have come, football is still a man’s world. Which is why I’ve strutted my stilettos and lipstick on every field and around every TV studio I’ve ever worked, making sure everyone remembers just how much of a woman I am. I let no man get under my skin.
Especially not Kade Jennings.
We have a history, Kade and I. It goes all the way back to high school and spans our college years. We used to be best friends. But we haven’t spoken in years, not since he left without a word and I made it clear that I never wanted to speak to him again. Now all of a sudden he’s FNN’s newest analyst?
He thinks I’ll break. With every wink he flashes me off-camera and every grope he sneaks under the table, he assumes I’ll shed my badass shell and fall into his arms like old times.
Well, screw him, his charismatic smile, and his giant di—er—ego.
I am where I am today because I’ve never let any man stand in my way.
If Kade even tries, I’ll bring him to his knees.
Fate can be a real bitch.
One minute you think you’re going to get the girl, and the next minute she’s slipping away.
It’s a complicated thing, to be in love with your best friend. That friend zone is a tricky place to be, not that I ever entered into it willingly. At least, not with Sam. Fate just seemed to place me there, despite the fight I put up.
Well, fate can go screw herself.
Sam Lawrence was always meant to be mine.
And it’s finally time that I prove it to her.
Once we’re seated inside, the car rolls forward, the driver already aware of where we’re heading.
“Pretty sure of yourself, aren’t you? That you could show up at my front door in a tux, with a limo waiting, and I’d automatically agree to go with you?”
“No, but you can’t say I’m not a risk taker.”
“You forgot a red rose to complete the cliché.” She’s talking more to the window than to me, refusing to make eye contact.
“Why would I get you a rose when your favorite flower is a lily?”
Her head snaps around, her lips parting.
I grunt, somewhat annoyed. “Really, Sam? You think after all the years I’ve known you I would forget your favorite flower? Am I that big of an asshole?”
“No,” she says quietly. “I just didn’t think you’d remember.”
Her forehead creases in thought. If I didn’t know better, I’d say she’s conflicted. Who knows what her brain is saying about me. Hell, I’d probably rather not know. So, I break the monotony.
“You have to admit, though. Getting to stare at this all night,” I wave down at myself, “is certainly better than going stag.”
Instead of rolling her eyes or making a snide comment like I expect her to, her eyes rake over me from head to toe, narrowing with her inspection. “It’s not your football uniform, but I suppose it’ll do.”
Sexual innuendo from Sam? I have to admit that’s the last thing I expected from her tonight. Slamming her door in my face? Sure. Stomping on my foot with her heel? I wouldn’t be surprised. But looking at me with unabashed lust shining in her green eyes? That didn’t even occur to me. Regardless of the fact that we kissed the other night.
Her comment reminds me of our night together in college when my football jersey was the only thing she was wearing at one point, thus fulfilling one of my longtime Sam fantasies. My dick stiffens into a steel rod at the memory.
Would you look at that? The football jersey still does the trick.
And I’m going to take advantage of this unexpected opportunity.
“I still have my uniform, you know,” I rasp, my gaze locked on hers. “And I’m sure I can rouse up some pads and pants if that’s what you’re in the mood for.”
She licks her plump lips. No doubt they’d taste like cherries if I were to kiss her, just like they had the other night. I can still recall what that mouth felt like years ago when it was wrapped around my—
For shit’s sake, Jennings. Get ahold of yourself.
“I’m not quite sure what I’m in the mood for,” she whispers. “Yet.”
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MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS BOOK:
Friends to lovers is a favorite theme of mine and is on sweet and sexy display in this tale told in dual POVs as readers get to see a delightful couple’s evolution from their first meeting in high school to their implosion in college and reunion later on. Along the way a memorable connection is formed and is then put through the wringer just as HEA seems within reach. Years apart doesn’t diminish their crackling connection though which makes for a sizzling reunion with answers and what-ifs just waiting to be discovered. Through each up and down I found this to be a romance full of heart and soul, one that’s easy to relate to, with just a few frustrations along the way.
Samantha Lawrence isn’t your typical high school cheerleader as she never remembers the cheers and would rather recite football facts than embrace her girly side. This is just one of the things that has her sticking out in more ways than one though as she’s also the daughter of the former football coach who cheated on her mom and left her reeling from the town’s shame. Her vast football knowledge also sets her apart and has her dreaming of a future far from home on tv sport’s shows. Being the girlfriend of the town’s golden boy is the one thing she’s done that keeps her in the popular crowd but it’s starting to feel stifling, starting to make her want something more. Her first meeting with new boy in town Kade is that something more as he arouses all sorts of fire within her. Considering her past though she’s not a cheater so it’s years before they act on the feelings brewing beneath the surface in a romance that barely begins before a poor decision pulls them apart. Now at the top of her field her past comes back to claim her in interactions that have Kade working hard to make amends. While chasing after a story he’ll be chasing after her, protecting her every step of the way, before he ultimately works his way back into her heart. From the very first Sam’s an appealing heroine, one who’s strong-willed and embraces her love of sports. I liked her outspoken nature too and her casual looks that showed someone more concerned with substance than style. When it comes to matters of the heart though it’s clear that Sam’s just going through the motions with her high school boyfriend. Her father’s infidelity has her keeping her heart guarded, waiting for the other to leave her first in a rather bland relationship that I really wanted to see end. The only time fireworks flew was in her interactions with Kade and from that moment on the sexual tension was unrelenting in a journey that had me rooting for them to finally give in to each other. It’s ultimately a frustrating journey with a few bumps along the way, bits of anger, that still had her standing strong while finally getting her richly rewarding HEA. Throughout that journey she continued to impress as a woman who embraced her sport’s side along with her feminine side that made for an interesting dichotomy.
Kade Jennings was just starting to make his mark in high school football when his mother’s infidelities led to he and his father moving to a small town to start over. He at first thinks it will be the death of him and his future football playing but the moment he meets Sam he feels invigorated and their relationship changes his life irrevocably. He knows immediately that she’s the one, despite her being with someone else, and he’ll flirt with her endlessly to show her how much he cares until the day she dumps her boyfriend. Until that day though theirs is a crackling connection teeming with sensuality that has them pushing each other to be better. Their interactions drew me to them and though I was immensely frustrated by the wait until they culminated their coupling, I found it well worth it despite all the fallout courtesy of Kade’s poor decision. With years apart, years that took him in lonely directions, he’s now back to win over the only woman to ever really matter to him in a tale that was sweet and sexy. Kade’s a delicious hero, one who charmed his way into my heart through his subtle and occasionally overt attraction to Sam. He’s not too arrogant, just self-assured enough, to admit he’s wrong and his protectiveness of Sam while she followed her sportscaster’s instincts endeared him to me and added to the satisfying conclusion.
On a whole this was an entertaining romance with a likable main couple whose connection sizzled. They were fun and flirty as friends, with interactions teeming with sexual tension before college life led to a more mature pairing that resulted in emotional ups and downs that tore them apart before Kade returned to put them back together. Theirs is a slow-burn romance that takes ample time to evolve, almost too much at times, and though I liked the strong foundation between them I had hoped for a bit more sizzle early on. I enjoyed these two as teens and rooted for them from that moment on in a journey that pulls at the heartstrings. Surrounding this appealing main couple is an equally appealing cast of secondary characters. From Sam’s brother and her girlfriends to the other sportscasters they’re an eclectic group that we’re entertaining on their own, and in a few surprising pairings, that were a good support to the couple. With other romances just hinted at here Ms. Munton has me looking towards the future to see where she takes us next.
My rating for this is a B+
*I got this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.
Melanie grew up in a small town in rural Missouri. After marrying her husband, she decided she wanted to try coastal life because why not? A few months later, they moved to North Carolina where she discovered her passion for writing, and they never looked back. They are now enjoying life with their beautiful daughter in Savannah, GA and loving every minute with their little Georgia peach.
Melanie’s other passion is traveling and seeing the world. With anthropology degrees under their belts, she and her husband have made it their goal in life to see as many archaeological sites around the world as possible.
She has a horrible food addiction to pasta and candy (not together…ew). And she gets sad when her wine rack is empty.
At the end of the day, she is a true romantic at heart. She loves writing the cheesy and corny of romantic comedies, and the sassy and sexy of suspense. She aims to make her readers swoon, laugh out loud, maybe sweat a little, and above all, fall in love
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