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When a retired NFL player returns home to sort out his life, he finds his future in the girl next door.
Jason Black is a newly retired professional football player. Forced off the playing field due to an injury, he returns to his hometown to contemplate his future and finds solace in his relationship with his best friend, Samantha O’Brien.
Sam has spent the past five years caring for her younger brother. Home from college for Thanksgiving break, he parties hard and bullies his sister. When Jason comes to her defense, protecting her from a crowd of drunken college kids, Sam begins seeing him as more than a friend. Yet, she fears acting on their attraction could ruin the friendship she’s grown to depend upon.
Just one kiss changes everything for Jason. Sam is no longer the girl next door but the woman of his dreams. Now, he just has to convince her that his feelings are real. But when the football world comes calling again and career decisions are on the line, both sacrifice all to put the other’s needs first. They must decide whether to follow their hearts and make the catch of a lifetime.
Hazel eyes burned into hers. ”Sam.”
“You've got chocolate on your lower lip.”
“Oh.” She reached for her napkin.
His hand stopped hers. “I’ll get it.”
Instead of his fingers, his lips descended. His gaze intense, his movements controlled, he leaned in. Slowly. Sam moistened her lips and inhaled. Dream or reality? Jason’s lips closed over hers, too warm, too firm to be a figment of her subconscious. Fireworks exploded behind her eyes. She tasted the heady combination of chocolate and wine and Jason. She fisted his sweater, holding him to her. Kissing Jason was better than she’d imagined.
I just loved this book and am so impressed how such a big story was told in so few pages without leaving me feeling like I needed more. I was also impressed with the fact that despite having two authors, I would be hard pressed to find any instances where they didn't speak with one voice. The plot flowed nicely, the characters were multi-dimensional, and there was real life edge to the book that I really liked.
Sam was such a wonderful character. She has suffered such loss in her life, but has become so strong in spite of it all. She is at odds with her younger brother, but finds strength in her neighbor – her best friend, and a man she now looks at as maybe being someone who could be more than a friend.
Jason is trying to find his way now that his professional football career has come to end. What he didn't expect was to find himself looking at his best friend as someone who could be so much more – and when he sets his mind on having Sam, he’ll go to any lengths to prove to her that he’s the man she needs…and deserves.
Sam and Jason together were just awesome – what started as a smoldering attraction quickly escalated into a full blown bonfire! And even though there were things that got in the way of their happy ever after, Jason couldn't have been any sweeter – standing up for Sam, being at her side through some rough times with her brother, and just being an all-around good guy. I loved the fact that Sam has come to terms with her past and is ready (and willing) to move forward with her relationship with Jason, which was refreshing and made me love Sam that much more – she really has been dealt so many tough blows that I was really routing for her to find her HEA!
This is a definite must read – and I hope there will be more stories like this from the writing team of Susan Scott Shelley & Veronica Forand!
I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Susan Scott Shelley is an award-winning author of contemporary romance and romantic suspense.
She currently resides outside Philadelphia with her very own Superhero and spends her days writing about tough heroes, smart heroines, and love being the strongest magic there is.
In addition to writing romances, she is also a professional voiceover artist. Her favorite things include running, sports, hard rock and old Hollywood movies.
Susan is represented by Michelle Grajkowski of 3 Seas Literary Agency.
Veronica Forand is an attorney and an award-winning writer of romantic suspense.
She’s lived in Boston, London, Paris, Geneva, and Washington, DC and currently resides near Philadelphia. An avid traveler, she loves to roam across continents with her husband and kids in pursuit of skiing, scuba diving, and finding the perfect piece of chocolate.
Veronica is represented by Michelle Grajkowski of 3 Seas Literary Agency.