“I want to stay forever… I want to have you for as long as I can have you Lucas, even if that is a week or a year or a decade.”
Mia Carter never thought getting suspended from her part-time job for having attitude could be the best thing to ever happen … maybe.
When Lucas Ainswright—one of the world’s biggest sporting stars—needs a minder, it just so happens that attitude is just what is needed to keep Lucas in line.
Now Mia’s job is to manage the sporting world’s bad boy and keep him at the top of his game for the season. Game on!
Source: ARC from Atlas Productions via NetGalley
I have a few issues with this book. Well three, but they’re kind of important. My issues are: Lucas, Mia and the sport of football (or soccer if you want to be irritating about it). So let’s start at the top…
What was my problem with Lucas? Well, he’s a dick. Right from the start, right to the end, the man is an arrogant asshole who isn’t redeemed in any way, shape or form. Sure, he has a tragedy in his background and he feels abandoned by his parents, but that does not excuse the way he treats Mia. It’s abuse. He basically trains her to believe that every time they have a meaningful moment it will be followed by something hurtful and dickish. Not only does she come to expect this, she near enough takes responsibility for it.
Dear Mia, you are not responsible for his bad behaviour. Not even when his friends are knocking down the door, begging you to stay so he doesn’t go off the rails again. And do you know why? Because he was seriously offensive to you and he isn’t even attempting to apologise!
So yeah, safe to say Lucas is not my favourite hero. It’s obvious he’s attracted to Mia throughout the book, but that just leads him to disrespectful, hurtful behaviour – even right at the end when they’re finally having sex. He has no respect for women, absolutely none for Mia, and he doesn’t even realise he has serious problems.
Then there’s Mia. She’s very immature at the start of this book and though she does grow up a little, that maturity turns into a pathetic longing for Lucas that excuses the worst of excesses and basically waves away his awful behaviour because he’s just so handsome. Urgh. I did like that she doesn’t stand for his jealous nonsense and she does call him out on some of his rudeness, but the constant lusting over him undermined everything else. Given another hero, one who was worth a modicum of effort, and I probably would have liked her. However, she has Lucas and so clearly doesn’t have any self-respect left.
Finally to the football. If I’d known this was a book about football set in the US, I probably wouldn’t have bothered. Not that there aren’t any US fans, ’cause I know there are, but in the wider scheme of the sport it’s unlikely to be as accurate or as interesting as a US-based book on any of the US-favoured sports. And I would have been right not to bother because this is not a book about football! Fair warning, I’m about to rant about this, so if you have no interest in this sport you might want to skip the next few paragraphs.
Everything about Lucas’ sport is wrong. I get that the terminology for soccer in the US might be different to football here (UK), but it feels off and wrong. Firstly, if Lucas really is the next David Beckham, why is he playing in the States? Doesn’t he have any ambition to win the important things in his sport? Doesn’t he want to play at the best clubs? With the best players? Earn the top money? He’s British born, so why isn’t he over here? Or in Spain playing for Barcelona? Or in Germany at Bayern Munich? Or finding out that he isn’t nearly as good as he thinks he is by trying to play in South America? There is absolutely no explanation for this (such as his bad boy ways getting him kicked out) and I found it ridiculously unbelievable. Sure, there are big name players playing in the US these days, but usually at the end of their careers. The same goes for his “coach” Johan, who is one of the best in the world, playing in a country where the sport might be growing in popularity but is far, far behind other places in the world in terms of prestige.
Speaking of coaches… yeah, in football we tend to call the big boss man the manager. There is a coaching staff, a whole team of people dedicated to fitness and training, but the one who calls the shots and picks the team is the manager (again this might be different in the US). Something that isn’t different is the fact that Lucas should definitely not be praised for the use of his hands in a game. Unless he wants to be sent off for hand ball. And what is all this about an oval? What oval? A football pitch is rectangular, and if he really scored a goal from 60 yards out (on a 90 yard pitch) that would be a goal of a lifetime, well worth celebrating (it is possible, just uncommon).
As would scoring a hat-trick (three goals) in the first match of the season, especially against last season’s champions. Then again I’m not entirely sure just what position Lucas plays – attacker is the most I got. Is that a striker? Or maybe, if he really is like Beckham he might be a winger, or maybe he’s a midfielder who likes to press forward. Feel free to guess! At 6’3 he’s also pretty tall for a footballer, while his midfield team mate was 6’5! There are tall players in football, but they tend to be goalkeepers and defenders (or Peter Crouch, who is wonderfully misnamed, and also unusual because of his height). As for him not training at the ground every day (he has weight training every other day, which seemed a little… odd to me), well, I guess that’s why he’s not playing at the best clubs (Google Cristiano Ronaldo’s training regime if you want to know more). He doesn’t even have any particular dietary needs. I find it hard to believe he’s a professional sportsman of any stripe.
Add in the whole (completely incorrect) chromosome thing that Mia keeps banging on about – she thinks she’s not feminine, which she puts down to having too many X chromosomes. Er, really? She says she needs more Y… which I’m pretty sure is the other way around. This isn’t just a one time, possible typo, it’s referred to three times – and let’s just say my confidence in the believability of this book was severely compromised. Then comes the ending which is abrupt to say the least and a letdown compared with everything that’s gone before. After putting up with Lucas’ behaviour the reader deserves a decent ending, not this rushed, glossed over note thing.
In short, if you don’t care about football (or soccer as you might call it), don’t mind a lust-driven heroine who should have more self-respect and like your hero to be a complete asshole, then you’ll likely find something to enjoy in this book. It is readable and kind of enjoyable in a swearing-at-the-stupid-people kind of way. There were times when I came close to DNFing it, but I wanted to see if Lucas was ever redeemed. He wasn’t. If any of the above annoys you, however, then you’ll know what you’re letting yourself in for. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Good luck with the rest of the series. Pez seems a sweet guy, but unless the football levels improve I won’t be coming back.
Team Lucas is out July 1st!
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