AUTHOR: Alicia Gaines
GENRE: Romantic Comedy
PURCHASE @ Amazon
REVIEWER: Pistol Annie
RATING: 3 Stars
Her brother’s best friend is not only the hottest man Michelle Dennis has ever seen, he’s the one man she hopes to avoid after leaving town eight years ago. Of course he’s the one waiting at the airport. Worse, he made sure they’re staying in the same house.
Pro football player Alex Stafford is expecting to pick up his friend’s kid sister, not a full-fledged bombshell. He was planning to apologize for their past, but the feelings he had years ago come roaring back…and this time, there’s no denying them.
Keeping his hands off is a test he’s bound to fail—especially when they’re stuck in close quarters. But falling in love with Michelle, living in her world, isn’t an option for a guy like him. And remembering that will save them both a lot of heartache…
A new-to-me-author with another his best friend’s little sis trope, and not one I found much different from a ton of others. Lured by the hook of a “football player” as a main character, along with the 99-cent sale price, I one-clicked. Okay, I’ll also admit to really liking that hot pink cover with the model clutching the football tightly to her side. Confession time: I’m a sucker for a football romance every single time. However, this one didn’t include much more than a mention of the sport as Alex’s profession.
Michelle Dennis got her heart broken when her brother’s best friend, Alex Stafford, rejected her. After high school graduation, she took off for college without a word to anyone, and has never returned. Fast forward eight years and a 35th wedding anniversary party, combined with a 65th birthday, brings her back home. She’s a brainiac college professor and he’s a sexy NFL football linebacker. Still carrying the hurt and anger, she plots revenge. Alex, on the other hand, just wants to mend fences and be forgiven for the way he treated Michelle. That is, until he sees her and realizes that he can’t ignore the feelings he’s always felt for her — even if her brother is still his best friend. The Stafford family is busy at work playing matchmaker between the two. Before too long, these two are making up for lost time and things get hot and heavy. The angst is minimal with most of the trouble stemming from self-doubt and silliness that isn’t worth mentioning. A little mature conversation could have saved a lot of wasted time.
Both Michelle (or Mickey as Alex calls her) and Alex came off as immature and foolish for their age, making it equally difficult for me to bond with either of them. Their behavior didn’t really track with either’s professional or intellectual status. Mickey’s ploy to exact revenge against Alex was completely childish and ridiculous. And Alex’s lack of confidence, and the reason for it, just didn’t register true with all the successes he had attained in his career and his otherwise positive attitude.
With the promotion of a couple of issues that are important in all our lives, I am pleased to say the positive intent, as applied to both main characters, met its goal. The emphasis on “how words can hurt” carried a strong message in its influence on both the young and inexperienced to even the strongest personalities.
On the negative side, I felt the entire plot was a bit sensational. The reasoning behind the eight-year estrangement that kept Mickey away from home, and then pushed her to return, came across as exaggerated and overplayed. Just didn’t feel “real” to me. Not talking to people for eight years that you’ve known your entire life, who have included you and your brother as part of their family, and you don’t keep in touch or let them know anything about what is going on in your life, is a really far-fetched notion. Especially when one of them is your brother that you proclaim to love — and others that welcomed you into their home and helped you when you needed it most.
There are some strong players in the secondary cast. Alex’s family is too-good-to-be-true. I totally enjoyed the family’s interaction and the love they shared beyond the borders of their immediate family. Readers are sure to appreciate the humor of a grandma who is no shrinking violet, as she expertly showcases her interviewing skills for potential love interests for her grandson, and in a most clever and funny way.
I can’t say I loved this one, but I didn’t hate it either. It was merely an easy, quick and spicy read that was mediocre at best. It definitely had possibilities of being so much more. Had the story been written in a more mature voice, minus the teenager-ish behavior, I probably would have enjoyed the set-up much more.