To Win Her Smile by Mackenzie Crowne

A contemporary romance featuring a quarterback football star who eventually dons a kilt by the end of the novel. Ummm, yes please!

What’s it About? 

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When sultry British Baroness Piper Darrow falls on desperate times, she needs a diversion—and cash. As a talented photographer, she jumps at the chance to travel to the U.S. for a Manhattan Marauders football event. But she gets more than she bargained for when buff quarterback Wyatt Hunter’s errant pass lands . . . in her face. And when it results in Wyatt’s comeback of a lifetime, the superstitious athlete is convinced Piper is his good luck charm . . .

With his sights on the Super Bowl, Wyatt will do anything necessary to keep Piper close. The fact that she’s a feast for the eyes is a bonus. And as they get closer, he discovers that beneath her proper English surface is a sweet, sexy seductress. Soon the notorious playboy finds himself genuinely smitten, and surprisingly open to love—until his powerful family uncovers something about Piper that threatens to shatter his trust. Now he’ll have to decide whether to team up with his fears, or his heart.

First Impressions

I’ll admit, when this novel first started I was initially quite concerned. Our opening scene features a football game, and the stakes are high as Wyatt plays our lead quarterback competing to hopefully set the gears in motion to advance his team to their fourth Super Bowl win. So why did this concern me? I don’t do sports! Least of all football. Believe me, growing up in a Midwestern state that was all about sports rivalries I’ve more than had my fill. At the start there was quite a lot of detail involving passes, end zones, and lines of scrimmage that had me cringing in a kind of PTSD sports haze. But alas! I ended up loving this one! Our lead football star proceeds to throw his ball 60mph directly into the face of a stunning British photographer on the sidelines, and things simply go up from there!! Filled with humor, drama, sexy kitchen and elevator fun times, as well as family issues for both parties. What’s not to like?

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A British Baroness and Good Luck Charm

Piper might be a baroness, but she’s in desperate need of money to get an annoying cousin off her back who’s seeking a half million dollar inheritance. Piper risks losing her family home if she can’t pony up the pounds, but along comes a flying football to her nose to change things up. Wyatt sees her as his good luck charm, seeing as his team won a close game after the minor nose accident, and he’s willing to pay her a pretty penny to have her attend the rest of his games for the season.

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He also commissions her to photograph a calendar featuring him and his hunky teammates to raise money for Down syndrome research. However, Wyatt also makes it clear that he’s burning with lust to take the gorgeous redhead to bed, and he’ll do anything to convince her to take a chance on their blatant sexual chemistry. I must say I was rather surprised there was no initial hesitancy on Piper’s part with a possible comparison to…well…prostitution. After all, he is paying her with the intention of eventually getting her into bed, and his claims for her photography services sort of blur the lines on what exactly it is he’s paying for. To get a chance to photograph that beautiful man though? Mmm mmm mmmmm.

Secret Former Flings

For Wyatt, he’s definitely got a type in his attraction to redheads, and Piper fits the bill to perfection. As they get to know each other however, we see that his connection to her goes far beyond the physical. Wyatt is comfortable around Piper to a degree that he’s never had with another woman, and he’s willing to share things with her about his life that he’s never opened up to anyone else about. His family secrets, his home, and even his love.

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For Piper, she’s concerned entering into a relationship with Wyatt seeing as her last foray with a professional athlete ended so terribly, with the British gossip rags dragging her name and reputation through the dirt. I will say I was mildly disappointed that Piper didn’t choose to share any of this background with Wyatt until pretty late in the game. True, they initially agreed to keep things casual with no strings attached. However, as they get closer, and Piper sees the true Wyatt through her camera lens, I wanted her to willingly share more of herself with him beyond just her body. Only when he asks her to does she open up to him.

*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*

Series: Players, book 5. I shockingly really enjoyed this one, even with it being steeped in the world of sports. I also kind of want to go back and read the other novels in the series too!

Should you read it? A fun story, albeit with a somewhat cheesy ending. When you’ve got a hottie in a kilt declaring his love though I’m 100% in. I also found Wyatt to be a highly admirable character. His father is running for president, and he knows it’s only a matter of time before his staff uncovers the history of Piper’s appearances in the press. Even though their relationship is new, and it could be so much easier to break ties, Wyatt instead chooses to stand by her. Sigh.

Smut Level: Give me a passionate scene in an elevator any day.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. Lyrical Shine. 232 Pages.

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Go Deep by Bella Love-Wins

When it comes to college sports, I find hockey to be violently interesting. Baseball? Mildly tolerable. Football? Good God what was I thinking?

What’s it About?

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Slade ‘Slaughter’ Clark

I’m a southern college football star in my senior year, and all eyes are on me, just the way I like it. I’m not riding a wave to the NFL. I am the wave, and everyone knows it, including my fans, opponents, coaches, every NFL agent who matters, and the hot little chicks who follow me around. I’m the whole package…with a package that leaves chicks wanting more.

There’s just one exception. Cassidy Greyson. She is the uptight cheerleader, my brother’s best friend, and a fellow student in a few of my courses. Getting a piece of her is now my informal senior year ‘pet’ project. Little does she know she’s about to be owned.

Cassidy Greyson

I worked my butt off for three school years and two long summers so I could graduate early and get the hell out of my backwater life in Louisiana. Sure, I stuck to the cheerleading, but only because it was a family tradition that my mother insisted I keep up. Just because my older sister, Caroline, fell for the ‘be-a-cheerleader-to-marry-an-NFL-star’ trap, doesn’t mean I want to follow in their footsteps.

This is why Slade ‘Slaughter’ Clark doesn’t have a chance in hell. I’ve avoided falling for the arrogant jock up until now, and there’s no way I’ll let him in. My business professor may have thought he was doing us both a favor when he forced Slade and me to partner up for a major project. I just wish I didn’t have to stare into his sexy hazel eyes or watch him flex his tight, bulky muscles while we work together.

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First Impressions

It is no secret among my family and friends that I detest football. College level, pro, it doesn’t matter. The fact that I chose to read a romance novel featuring the sport means I probably need to get my head examined. What can I say? I wanted to give it a try in spite of my aversion to the sport. That being said, my main problem with this book didn’t come from the sport itself, but rather the man doing the playing. Pretty much from opening bell he’s portrayed as a stereotypical jock who thinks the world of himself, and his only reason for pursuing Cassidy is because she’s the only good looking girl on campus he hasn’t screwed yet. He sees himself as a god who is a gift to all women with his sexual prowess. I mean, the novel starts with his involvement in a descriptive threesome.

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Changing Feelings

Now, everyone is capable of change, and we do see how Slade and Cassidy’s initial dislike for each other transcends into love. However, I must say I was kind of confused by this transition. It seemed like one day Slade saw her as a challenge to be conquered, and once conquered dismissed. There was no one moment which could be attributed to his change of heart towards her.

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There seems to be no real emotional connection between these two characters beyond the physical. Even after Slade starts to admit he might have feelings for Cassidy, he still treats her like crap. He never really returns any of her phone calls, and almost assumes she’ll be grateful to end up with him. Kind of hard to like him.

As for Cassidy, her sudden change of heart for Slade was also a bit of a head scratcher. She’s hated him since they were adolescents, and has refused his advances ever since he became star quarterback and she became cheerleader. Now they are forced to work together for a project, they end up sleeping together, and eventually she admits to having loved him for years. Wait a minute, since when? I feel like their childhood connection was never fully explored.

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Series: Bad Boy Sports, book 1. Although I wasn’t a huge fan of this first novel, I can’t say I’m done with the series. Cassidy’s best friend and Slade’s brother prove to be very interesting characters.

Should you read it? I think it took too long for us to see any kind of affection from the arrogant jock, Slader, and even then it was kind of hard to see. Hard to get emotionally invested in a novel when you don’t like one of the main characters.

Smut Level: The cheerleader and the football player. Rah rah indeed.

Moral of the Story: Ladies and gents, never make a bet with your friends about getting into somebody else’s pants. It will inevitably get back to that person, and cause a whole lot of heartache. Has She’s All That taught you nothing?!?!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $2.99 Kindle Price. Amazon Digital Services LLC. 203 Pages.