As much as I enjoy a gut-wrenching and emotional novel, I also sometimes like to read an uncomplicated and predictable story that is well written and entertaining. This is exactly what Julie Brannagh delivers with her sports romance Intercepting Daisy, where the professional quarterback falls for the team’s flight attendant with a couple of bumps along the road to their happily ever after.
Grant Parker is hired as a backup quarterback for the Seattle Sharks to help clean up the team’s image. He’s scandal free, quiet and the son of famous megachurch pastors. He even looks a little like Jesus! The team’s public relations department markets his good-boy image by arranging dates with girls from the local Christian colleges and by making sure photos of the innocent evenings find their way to the Internet. Grant is fulfilling his role as the churchgoing football star, but he has a secret that threatens his image and his career. Grant’s nights do not end when his vanilla dates end. After praying over pasta with a Bible co-ed and leaving with just a kiss on the cheek, Grant frequently heads out to find a no strings attached one-night stand. His bosses, his parents and his fans believe he’s chaste, even celibate, when he is quite the opposite.
Daisy Spencer is an extrovert, self-described dork living in Seattle where she works as a flight attendant for the Sharks. She met Grant during football season two years ago while working the team’s chartered flights and quickly became infatuated with him. (Grant is also secretly crushing on Daisy.) One night while at home alone, Daisy has too much wine and writes down her wildest and most graphic sexual fantasies starring Grant. Fueled by her lifelong desire to be an author, she self-publishes her writings as an erotic novella making Grant the lead character and using his photo for the cover, while protecting her own identity as the author by copyrighting under her initials. Her secret little book turns Grant into a book porn star, becomes a fan favorite, hits the bestseller list and captures pop culture’s notice.
Just as the novella is climbing up the rankings of Amazon’s top sellers, Grant asks Daisy out on a date. The two are adorably awkward during their first date; both overwhelmed by their feelings. Neither wants this to be a one-date wonder and both feel their connection could turn into something special. They immediately plan their next date and their relationship develops quickly just as Grant’s life starts to get complicated.
His angelic image is marred and questioned by the public because of Daisy’s novella and further besmirched when some of his one-night stand partners attempt to grab some of the media spotlight and brag about their time in the sack with him. This reputation apocalypse comes at the worst time for Grant as he has the opportunity to realize his life’s dream and move from backup to starting quarterback.
Daisy’s secret life as an author is the biggest roadblock in her and Grant’s developing intimacy as her guilt escalates and she struggles to find a way to confess to Grant.
Why couldn’t she have chosen something safer and less ridiculous, like writing erotica about some woman who had a fling with a dinosaur? She wouldn’t have to worry about facing a pissed-off dinosaur.
Grant and Daisy’s fledgling relationship must survive under this pressure-cooker of secrets, angry employers and public scrutiny if they have a chance to win the game of love.
Daisy is likeable, a little quirky and funny. I enjoyed reading about her fall into self-publishing, because it felt like a brief glimpse into the life of today’s amateur author, who no longer has to rely on established publishers to produce a book. There is an excerpt of Daisy’s novella included in the story and it’s charmingly awful. It is the first (fantasy) sex scene in Intercepting Daisy, and I admit it made me nervous about Ms. Brannagh’s ability to write intimate scenes – but luckily, she is a much better writer than Daisy and delivers some nicely executed heated moments between her central couple.
Grant is also a congenial character although his feelings and actions do not always make sense considering his described personality. He is portrayed as a playboy who could meet a woman at a bar and quickly persuade her into casual sex, which made me believe he must be a smooth talker, but when Grant is around Daisy, he suffers from extreme prepubescent-like anxiety and struggles with basic conversation:
His hands shook. He wanted to fidget. He was nervous, and he couldn’t figure out why.
Maybe his feelings for Daisy have overwhelmed him and robbed him of his normal seductive charisma? His nerves just don’t seem to fit a grown man who is an adept womanizer.
Grant’s life as a backup quarterback is interesting – I never realized that a “backup quarterback” is a specific position on a football team. Ms. Brannagh obviously researched professional football teams, and it is always impressive when an author takes the time and effort to give her readers an accurate story.
Intercepting Daisy is the sixth book in the Love and Football series and a true standalone work. My only reservation about the story is that it is predictable. Most readers will easily guess how things between Daisy and Grant will resolve, but I believe they will also have fun reading their story. I can easily recommend this light romance if you are in the mood for an uncomplicated, enjoyable read.