by Jeanette Murray
Series: Santa Fe Bobcats #3
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Publication Date: September 15, 2015 by Berkley Books, New American Library, Penguin Group
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Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Sometimes faking it is your only option...
Football player Stephen Harrison has hit rock bottom—he’s fresh out of rehab, lost too much weight to be an effective offensive lineman, and has no support system in place. The Bobcats staff suggests he get a life coach to keep him sober and get him back into playing shape, but Stephen says his girlfriend will help. Too bad he doesn’t have one...
Luckily for Stephen, he does have a housekeeper. Margaret has always dreamed of starting her own elite cleaning service, and the money Stephen offers her to play the part of girlfriend is too good to pass up. But while Mags is helping Stephen bulk up and get ready for training camp, she can’t seem to block the feelings crashing into her heart. And one night of passion will pull both of their heads out of the game...
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This is my first time reading a book from this series. I already bought the previous books because after reading this one, I definitely want to know about the other Santa Fe Bobcats’ players. I was happy to not feel lost while reading this book and I believe it can be read as a standalone.
Stephen was recently released from rehab for his alcohol addiction and he is trying his hardest to stay sober and to not give in to temptation. His coaches would love if he’d get a live-in coach to help him stay sober and keep his diet in check but that is the last thing Stephen wants so he tells them he has a girlfriend even when he doesn’t. He proposes the deal to his housemaid Margaret and after much thought, she agrees but she has to guard her heart in the process and keep distance.
“I’m scared.” There. He’d voice his true emotions out loud. […] “I’m terrified I’m going to get out there and fail.”*
Stephen is such a vulnerable character (lately, I love reading male characters who are vulnerable) but he is also so strong to get back into football after what he went through. He has to do even more exercise than the rest in order to get back the muscle mass he lost. I loved how he really was trying to stay in the right track and asking Mags for help took a lot out of him. He didn’t want to see Mags as something else but slowly, he started to see her in a new light. Plus, he trusts her enough to offer the deal of becoming a couple and he even helps her out with starting a cleaning business.
When was the last time dressing a woman had been more erotic than undressing her? Never. That’s when.*
Mags was not expecting this offer from Stephen. It would mean she’d have to quit her job as a housemaid for the rest of the team in order to help Stephen out. Mags really puts others before herself and this can be seen when she decides to help Stephen. She stops having a job to help him in the present but she also has plans for what she’s going to do after—own a cleaning company—and Stephen is right there beside her through everything just as she is for him. She keeps his diet in check, helps him to not fall back into his addiction and overall, helps him to have a good time. Mags never thought Stephen couldn’t do this. On the contrary, she always believed he would get back on his feet. As for Stephen, he knew he made a grave mistake and this is his last chance and he won’t pass it up.
Also, if you have read the previous books, you won’t be disappointed in this one since the characters make quite a few appearances and are there for Stephen 24/7 like good teammates and friends.
Overall, this story had great writing style. These humorous and vulnerable characters made for a great reading experience, with a touch of realism. The romance is not fast—it takes its time to build up slowly with the ultimate happy ending that every New Adult fan will enjoy.
*Quotes taken from advanced copy which may not end up in final copy.*
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