Saturday, June 21, 2014

Foolish Games by Tracy Solheim

Title: Foolish Games
Author: Tracy Solheim
My Rating: A-

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Out of Bounds #2
Main Characters: Julianne and Will
Release Date: December 2013
Publisher: Berkley
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
A Hail Mary play for the heart.

Bridal gown designer, Julianne Marchione knows better than to lose her head at a client’s wedding. But, much to her embarrassment, a mix of migraine medication and a smoking hot football player lead to a steamy one night stand resulting in a surprise pregnancy. Julianne has every intention of leaving her NFL hookup far in the past until her son, Owen, is born with a life-threatening blood disorder that requires a transfusion—and Julianne is not a match.

Will "William the Conqueror" Connelly grew up tough, shouldering the stigma of being a bastard child born on the wrong side of the tracks. He refuses to let any child face the same discrimination. When he finds out about Owen, he’s furious that Julianne kept his son a secret. But when he sees her again at the hospital, he realizes that his feelings for her go far beyond anger.

Will insists that Owen recuperate at his home in North Carolina, and he’s adamant that Julianne become his wife—even if it’s only a temporary marriage in name only. But will their simmering attraction ever lead to a real connection?  Or are they just playing foolish games?

My Review:
I'm not usually a big fan of hidden baby stories, but this one really worked for me and I think the reason it worked so much for me was Will's character. This is a guy who came from a small town where he was ostracized for not having a dad. As a result, bringing a bastard child into this world is about the worst thing that he could imagine so he's completely appalled when he finds out he has a one-month old baby in this world. His pain is palpable as is the crushing blow to his own self-worth. He thinks that Julianne didn't want him involved with the baby because she sees something wrong with him. But that couldn't be further from the truth. 

On the other hand, I had a harder time with Julianne's character just because she's done such a horrible thing to Will by never telling him about this. That's a HUGE deception, but what made her redeemable in my eyes is that she realized just how bad of a thing she did and was constantly punishing herself just as much as Will was trying to punish her. 

With this kind of drama at the beginning of their relationship, it is so hard for the two of them to develop a level of trust between them and that drives a huge wedge between them before they really develop anything. That's a hard thing to overcome. 

There were lots of little things about this book that made it so good...
*Will's mom is awesome. I love that she's not the typical mom...she's her 40's but has kept herself up although her history with relationships is abysmal. I loved how she bonded with Julianne and stood by her even in the face of Will's wrath.
*This small town...they love Will even though he doesn't see it. Their feelings for him are so apparent at the end and I loved that about the story. 
*The artistic story with Julianne's fashion design and Sophie's jewelry designs provided great side-details and stories that I really enjoyed. 
*Hank and Will's mom...LOVED that story...everything about it, I loved!
*Will's mom at the end...YES!

There's a whole side story with a controversial bounty scheme in the NFL where the players are paid to "take out" other players on the field. As a tackle, Will gets caught up in it. That whole story really worked for me. There were several twists to it that caught me by surprise. 

Overall, this was a great installment to the series. I have just one teeny-tiny complaint...this author has a thing about her characters' parents. I don't think there's anyone in these books (and that includes minor neighbor characters...everyone) who doesn't have major mommy/daddy issues. Something along the way has happened to ALL these characters where one or both parents are absent...and it's usually a horrific/tragic/mentally scarring occurrence. It makes me sad for all these characters and worried for them when it comes to their children. Once their kids hit around age 8, they need to all hole up inside their homes for everyones safety. LOL

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