If this is a debut, then I can’t wait to read whatever the author writes next. I’ll openly admit that this takes a little while to find its footing – I didn’t love the beginning – but somewhere along the way, it hits its stride in a big way. I loved the slow burn romance and the transformation of both characters; their personalities at the start were a definite turnoff for me, so I really appreciated how much they grew and changed throughout the story. There’s such a great build in intimacy, and you can feel how much these two mean to each other. Our hero might irritate you in the beginning, but you will love him by the end. It’s a light but heartfelt, sweet yet sexy read, and I was loving it by the end.
The story follows Amalie, an author in need of inspiration for her next book. Her career is on the line, and though she comes from a wealthy family, writing is her way of separating herself from all of that. When she meets Julian, it’s most certainly not love at first sight. He’s drunk, kind of inappropriate, and a washed up tennis player who can’t get over the past. Julian’s not a great potential love interest… but he’d be the perfect inspiration for a comeback story. Getting Julian’s career back on track is beneficial to them both, so Julian and Amalie work together to make that happen.
The plot is both original and formulaic. And by that, I mean that the first half doesn’t stand out from the crowd for me; it’s the second half where the story really shines. I didn’t connect to either of the characters right away, and I think the writing itself gets stronger in the back half. Once these two start digging a little deeper, I became so much more invested in their story. There’s some light tension, bickering that slowly turns into bantering, and an emotional build that sneaks up on you. Had the first half been as strong as the second, I would not have hesitated to rate this as 5 stars. But I needed more from the start. This author’s got all kinds of potential, and I’d love to read more. I received an ARC via Inkslinger PR and am voluntarily leaving a review of this slow burn sports romance.
Amalie Warner wants another shot to prove that she can be a successful writer. After hitting the bestseller’s list nine years ago, she’s lost her spark. Feeling pressure from her father to leave her writing behind and to work for her family’s lucrative hotel business, she’s desperate to find inspiration for her next big idea, something that challenges and excites her, something real.
Enter Julian Smoke, a failed tennis player making a dream run for the US Open. After a chance meeting at a bar, Amalie hates him instantly. He’s cocky and arrogant, but Amalie knows his story could be her big break. Could he be more?
Everyone knows that in tennis, love means zero, but these two are about to change that.
Perfect for fans of The Hating Game and Wimbledon.
Grab Your Copy Today:
He dipped his head as he pocketed the undies. “I’m so sleepy.”
Amalie pinched her lips together at the sight of her bright red thong sticking out of his pocket. She made herself remember the reason for all of this, the reason she was even putting up with this mess. She knew Julian was drunk, but there was something she had to ask.
“Hey, how badly do you want to get to the US Open?” She edged closer to him, hands wringing.
He propped a hand on the back of the couch, his eyes even heavier lidded than before. “I…I want it more than anything, but it’s impossible,” he slurred.
“What if I can get you there? What if I can make it happen?” She cocked her head to the side, realizing she was quickly losing him. He was minutes from passing out. Again.
“You can’t. You live in this tiny, itsy bitsy,” he held his pointer finger and thumb together, “house or hotel or whatever this place is. Tennis is expensive, more than I can afford.” He shuffled to the front of the couch.
“But what if I could? What would you be willing to do for me?” She regretted the words instantly.
A sexy smirk tilted his lips and then his hands went to the button on his jeans, his thumb tracing that sexy trail of hair right above it. “Are you propositioning me?”
Amalie forced herself to look away.
“Oh, no you don’t,” she said while blindly smacking at his hand, ignoring that little bit of drool pooling at the corner of her mouth from his impromptu show. “You are not about to completely undress here.”
Suddenly her hand smacked at emptiness and she turned to see that Julian had fallen onto the couch haphazardly, one hand still on his fly. He was out cold. She growled in aggravation as she dug her underwear from his jeans, careful to keep her eyes averted even though those traitors wanted to look their fill.
After rearranging him as best she could, she looked down at his unconscious form, still feeling a little breathless. She’d found out what she needed to know. Julian could be bought.
“You don’t know it yet, “but you’re going to save me from a life I don’t want, Julian Smoke.”
She stepped out of the pool house into the cool night air and wasted no time seeking out her father.
About the Author:
Ashley R. King is a middle school English teacher whose love of the written word began when her mom took her to the public library, letting her check out stacks of books taller than she was. She’s the least athletic person you’ll ever meet, but that doesn’t decrease her love for her favorite sport, tennis.
She loves swoony romances and is addicted to sweet tea. When she’s not teaching or writing happily ever afters, she can be found snuggled up with a book, travelling, or quoting obscure lines from her favorite movies and tv shows. She lives in a small town in Georgia with her favorite person in the world—her husband, and their sweet and chatty spoiled cat, Cleo.
Connect with Ashley: