by Violet Duke
Published by Loveswept on March 8th 2016
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New York Times bestselling author Violet Duke kicks off her fun and sexy new Fourth Down series with a heartwarming friends-to-lovers romance between a no-strings-attached sports analyst and the hottest damn tomboy he’s ever met.
It’s no secret that sports analyst Jackson Gray doesn’t do relationships. What is a secret, however, is the reason why. Jackson’s life is . . . complicated. And it doesn’t help that his current hands-off “friendship” is with the cute-as-hell new sideline reporter he’s assigned to train. Turns out, not only is the woman damn sweet, she also knows as much about football as he does. Like it or not though, Jackson has to remind himself that sex is the only thing he has to offer . . . until now.
Leila Hart’s fast-growing friendship with Jackson is something she’d never risk, no matter how unbelievably seductive the reward. Becoming an NFL sportscaster has always been the goal, and thanks to Jackson’s fierce support and mentoring, it all finally seems within reach. Problem is, a girl can only take so much of that sexy-as-sin voice whispering dirty, filthy football stats in her ear before she loses all self-control. A workplace romance with Jackson is a disaster waiting to happen, especially for someone with big dreams . . . and secrets of her own.
Where do I even begin?
Based on the blurb alone, this book was a solid 4 stars. I mean, a gorgeous sports analyst with secret meets feisty, upcoming field reporter with a head for sports stats. They’re forced to work together while keeping their attraction under wraps. Sounds like a good, solid plot for a romance novel. Sure, the writing was more on the side “telling” instead of showing but it was still a decent read. There were a few annoying plot contrivances that crop up here and there but I could still ignore it. For the most part.
But then these little plot contrivances became downright annoying very fast until it came to a point where I was rage reading just to finish it.
Annoying plot contrivance #1
The heroine is a sports junkie who happens to really be good at stats. I appreciated that. What I didn’t appreciate however was the fact that since “she loves football” she’s not “like those other girls”. I have no idea what that means anymore but just to reiterate the point that this girl is so “speshul”, the author had to remind readers that the heroine has so many friends but she has ZERO female friends on Facebook. ZERO. NADA. NONE. ZILCH.
The hero was mighty impressed by this. Why? I have no idea but apparently, having zero female friends on Facebook means she’s not like “those other girls.” Again. Whatever the fuck that means, I still don’t know. But don’t worry. The hero promised the heroine that he will introduce her to girls who are also like her. Meaning have no female friends on Facebook. Hero thinks they’ll get along so great because you know, they have that in common.
OMG. My mind just went—’wait. So, if they’re gonna be friends then each of them are gonna be friends on Facebook and shit and oh my God…finally, girl powrr! Rawrr!
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen because the hero forgot. He just forgot about introducing her to his female friends. So…yeah.
Annoying plot contrivance #2.
#2 is related to number 1. The way the other female characters are portrayed in the book was trite and clichéd. They are either portrayed manipulators out to seduce the menfolk into marrying them and the other half are portrayed as nitwits with stars in their eyes swooning at every guy. When I say every guy, I meant, the hero.
Annoying plot contrivance #3
#3 happened around 40% or what I would like to call as the place where everything went from annoying to just downright bizarre. I was hit by plot twist so out of left field it left me dazed and confused. Well, mostly just confused. It was an Lol-wut moment for me.
I’m not gonna spoil this for you partly because I’m daring you to read this book. And second, whatever you’re thinking the plot twist is…just don’t because I’m pretty sure that what you’re thinking right now is wrong.
What you’re thinking: He’s a serial killer.
Me: Nope. He’s not a serial killer.
What you’re thinking: Oh, oh! He’s like Walter White.
Me: Look at you! Very creative, but NOPE.
What you’re thinking: Oh he’s a secret prince from a secret kingdom who wants to secret baby with the heroine.
Me: *looks at you with pity* Close but no. *whispers Jackson’s secret*
What you’re thinking: What? Why?
Me: I rest my case.
It’s not that the secret was an implausible one because this is fiction after all. But there was no sense of why IT HAS to be a secret. Why? I kept reading because I wanted to know if the hero has a good reason for keeping it a secret. And no, the whole “I kept it a secret because I don’t trust women” just doesn’t fly. The whole thing was CONTRIVED.
And it changed the tone of the whole book. Suddenly, the office romance thing with a side of sports became a…a…hmm…not sure what exactly it became but I hated it.
But wait! There’s another plot twist around 70-ish% which again changed the whole tone of the book. This one was even more bizarre than the first. Just…I don’t even know what to say. At this point, I just was annoyed. And tired. But mostly annoyed that I actually went and finish the whole damn book.
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.