Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Risky Game (Out of Bounds #3) by Tracy Solheim

Baltimore Blaze tight end Brody Janik is a natural-born football star. At twenty-seven, his record-breaking athletic performance and his cover-boy good looks have turned him into a household name. But Brody’s hiding a major secret behind his charming public persona: a health condition that may cut his career short.

PhD candidate Shannon "Shay” Everett works multiple jobs to put herself through school—including an unpaid internship with the Blaze training department.  Strapped for cash, Shay answers the call of an NFL gossip blogger to uncover personal details about the Blaze players. Sneaking into the locker room one night, she gets entangled in Brody’s secret…and swept up by his charm.

Brody isn’t sure what to make of the gawky girl with the whiskey eyes, especially when he discovers she was snooping. His first instinct is to turn her in as a snitch, but she could destroy him by sharing his secret. Instead, he decides to keep her close…perhaps closer than either of them originally intended…

Type: Contemporary Romance
Heat: 3 out of 5
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Risky Game was all kinds of sports romance perfection! Yall know I love my sports romance and, damn me, this was just an awesome combo of the two. I was in a total reader girl *swoon* over Brody and Shay as desperation, survival and a risky secret bring the two together and romance begins to bloom. I mean. Loved it.

The quick of it is that Brody is hiding a medical issue from his football team and in a twist of fate a snooping Shay overhears and a slight case of blackmail ensues as Shay--who is in school for nutrition, stretched financially and is momentarily tempted by selling scoop to tabloids--is coerced by Brody to work for him balancing his dietary needs in exchange for not turning her in for snooping on the team. *cue the dum-dum-dum music!* lol

I really liked both Shannon and Brody. They're different but worked. Oh yeah. They worked...nicely together.
"I'm sorry I'm such a conundrum, Brody," she whispered.

Brody kissed the tip of her nose. "I already told you, Shannon, I like conundrums."
Shay's on the nerdy side and rather gawky. Has some insecurities with her appearance but is a total brain and brilliant. She also hella determined and dedicated to helping her family and becoming financially secure. She's got a backbone of steel and embraces who she is. I liked that she was just...herself. I didn't always love her thought process and occasional flaily girl moments but I enjoyed her quite a bit.

And Brody's a sexy footballer that's at the top of his game and by all appearances has the perfect life but he's struggling with inner worries and with who he really is outside of the game. His fears and worries were so relateable and I just enjoyed him as a character. He can be a bit of an alpha male (in an oh-so-delicious way) and a little cocky (again in a damn I so want to lick you way) and very sweet as well (and poof! panties are gone). He's one of those guys who can totally be a guy but can also go to Mass and hang out with an elderly nun and be just fine. I mean. Loved him. Even if he does manage a major flub up and needed a smack down now and again. Thankfully bub got his shit together quickly and totally had me swooning again. :)

The two were really great together and I enjoyed watching them get to know each other, the more professional side of her keeping track of his medical issues and seeing the two try to track down the culprit behind the selling of team secrets. It was fun, exciting and just a good time. And whew when things finally get steamy they're just...excellent.

My only complaint--other than Brody having a total asshole move there near the end and wanting to bop him--was that I would have liked him to have seen a little showdown with everyone around him. They all go on about how easy his life is and everything just comes to him but really to be at the top of your field like he was that takes serious dedication and hard work and it would have been nice to see that acknowledged just a little by those who cared about him. Minor complaint but damn it had me a little riled. lol

The sports aspect was perfect done. Enough to keep you in the game but not overpower the romance or become overwhelming for the non-sporty type. I loved getting to meet some of the team and their families and very much want to read their stories next. There was some nice humor there, some great friendships and yes some frustrations too. While I wanted to shake people every once in a while what I loved was that it felt real. The emotions and fears and insecurities were believable on so many parts. I could see getting caught up in some of the thoughts and them taking over even if they were irrational.

Risky Game was an easy read. I found myself smiling thinking about getting back to it and grabbed it up every chance I could find... even if it was just for a few pages at a time. Solheim created a comfortable world and one that was nice to be a part of even for just a little while. It was just a delightful sports romance.

Have you read Solheim?
Have a favorite sporty romance?
If you love sports you like sports? Or are you like me and real life sports are a no-go?

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