Title: Takes Two to Tackle
Author: Jeanette Murray
My Rating: A
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Santa Fe Bobcats #3
Main Characters: Stephen and Mags
Release Date: September 2015
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot
Football player Stephen Harrison has hit rock bottom—he’s fresh out of rehab, lost too much weight to be an effective offensive lineman, and has no support system in place. The Bobcats staff suggests he get a life coach to keep him sober and get him back into playing shape, but Stephen says his girlfriend will help. Too bad he doesn’t have one...
Luckily for Stephen, he does have a housekeeper. Margaret has always dreamed of starting her own elite cleaning service, and the money Stephen offers her to play the part of girlfriend is too good to pass up. But while Mags is helping Stephen bulk up and get ready for training camp, she can’t seem to block the feelings crashing into her heart. And one night of passion will pull both of their heads out of the game...
It's no huge surprise that I liked this one when I've liked the entire series. But this book was great just in the fact that Mags and Stephen feel so normal. Even though he's an NFL player, they both seem like people you would meet in the grocery store and strike up a conversation with.
We've seen Stephen's downward spiral in the other books in the series. He's a good guy. He just has a problem limiting his alcohol. He's an alcoholic, but when the book begins, he's just come out of rehab, 50 lbs lighter, and in a much healthier state. I like this Stephen, but now everything is up in the air. He's back in his house, in his daily life, and is terrified that he'll go back to drinking and being unhealthy. The first person to talk to him straight is his housekeeper Mags, and he really likes that about her. He also really likes that she kept up taking care of his house, even though he stopped paying her when he went to rehab. She's just really conscientious that way and he respects that.
But with his new recovering status, the team isn't so sure they can trust him to stay sober. Also, he was an offensive lineman (I think...he plays the position that keeps the QB safe), but now that he's lost so much weight, no one is sure he'll even be able to keep doing that...even if he does manage to stay sober. And I really liked how honest he is with just how hard this all is. I've read quite a few recovery stories and I think this is the most honest that a character has ever felt... with himself and with those around him.
I also really liked how self conscious he is about his body. This is a guy who's an elite level athlete, but was a bit flabby before rehab...he was supposed to be the "wall" guarding the QB, so that flab made sense and his coaches aren't happy that it's gone now. That self-consciousness hasn't gone away since he lost the weight. If anything he's even more aware of it now because he's not going through life "numb" anymore. In fact, he's a lot more aware of a lot of things now.
Seriously, this guy is such a nice guy... I picture him like a huge teddy bear, because even though he's lost the flab, he's still a big guy. But he's one of the good ones and Mags sees that.
And that brings us to Mags. I loved her and her compulsive organizing. She kept me smiling. Like Stephen, she's just a good person who deserves a break in life. And because both these characters are just such good, likable people, as a reader, I LOVED them getting together. At first it is an act, but their attraction never is...that's there from the very beginning which I find kind of humorous since Mags worked for him for 2 years before this. They just never noticed one another in that way before.
I loved the two of them together and really loved reading their story. This is a great NFL/sports story simply because it feels so authentic. These are all real-feeling people...not the perfect picture (or in some cases, REALLY, REALLY imperfect) the media puts out. The story was great and felt honest and real. I was totally caught up in their romance and drama and enjoyed reading the latest installment to this great series.
I liked it.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.