WINNING ISN’T EVERYTHING
Callie Daniels is a singular sensation. She owns and operates her own bakery, contributes to a popular lifestyle blog, and is the dance team coach at a local high school. She lives by her own design and is much too busy to consider dating. Mr. Right will have to fit into her life when the time is right…
UNLESS YOU’RE PLAYING FOR KEEPS
Football coach Bennett Clark always plays by the rules. He knows that his new colleague Callie is off limits but she’s so beautiful-and irritating!-that Bennett can’t get her off his mind. She wants him to participate in a charity dance contest, and won’t take no for an answer. Soon, what begins as a festive athletic endeavor turns into a heated flirtation on and off the dance floor. Could it be that the free-spirited Callie has finally found a way through Coach Clark’s line of defense?
Source: ARC from St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley
What a perfectly timed tonic this book proved to be. If you’re having a bit of a rubbish day or just not feeling too good, then try this because it completely worked for me. Having thoroughly enjoyed the first book in this series (Start Me Up) I was looking forward to this, and it didn’t disappoint at all. Callie is great – small business owner, baker, dance coach, fiery and fierce. She has a lot going on in her life and definitely doesn’t have time for a man. Nor does she have time to coach a reluctant, er, coach through a dance routine. Even if it is for charity. Then again, when Bennett gives her a flat no, she becomes intrigued. Because Callie loves a challenge and she really loves to win, and getting Bennett to dance is definitely a challenge.
Being an ex-pro football player turned school team coach, there are plenty of reasons why Bennett doesn’t want to make a fool of himself. However, having a busted up leg probably tops them all. Except that he’s just as intrigued by Callie as she is by him and really, if dancing means he gets his hands on her, where’s the harm?
I loved this tale between these two very different people with similar goals in life. Callie is outgoing and vivacious, Bennett is much more closed off, yet they both care deeply for others in their life – Callie loves her friends and wants to do best by her dance team, while Bennett takes his responsibilities as a coach very, very seriously. Despite their initial attraction and the obvious chemistry between the two of them, their romance is fairly slow going as they get to know each other, make a few false starts and finally get together.
I have to admit I wasn’t entirely sure why Callie was so reluctant to get close to Bennett, especially when she sees what a great guy he is. Bennett has his own reasons, and is definitely rife with unexpected insecurities for such a big, strong guy. I liked that about him. He’s vulnerable without being weak, while Callie is feminine as well as strong. They make a great team.
Until they don’t, of course. I won’t go into details as to how the story pans out, but there was a definite moment when I wanted to snatch Callie’s phone off her and tell her it wasn’t about her! Well, until she straightened herself out and I wanted to shout exactly the same thing at Bennett instead. These two definitely have their moments, but what could have made me dislike either of them – for being too pushy, or brooding too deeply – instead made them more human and added extra depth to both the story and their relationship. Besides, that ending is just adorable.
If you read and enjoyed the first book in this series you’ll definitely like this one. But if you haven’t read that, don’t worry, this stands alone well enough. However, if you’re looking for a slow-burn romance with hot chemistry and heated moments worth waiting for, and you like (American) football, a bit of ballroom dancing or baking – or all three – and enjoy feisty heroines and vulnerable yet strong heroes, then you should give this a try. This book is funny and sweet, with a nice touch of heat and a couple of emotional moments, that all adds up to a thoroughly enjoyable read. I cannot wait for the next book! If only to find out what really went on between those other two characters.
Win Me Over is out September 1st!
Visit Nicole Michaels for more details.