Desert Isle Keeper
Blitzed is the third book in the Playbook series, which focuses on the love lives of the Denver Mustangs football team. Written by a former NFL wife, these fun, flirty, sexy stories sing with authenticity and humor. You don’t have to read the first two books to enjoy this one but you definitely should. Not only does it give you a deeper introduction to some of the characters, they’re such wonderful reads you simply won’t want to miss them.
We first met Brynn Sterling, owner of the female centered bar HERS, in Intercepted, book one of the saga. She gave the heroine of that story a job, and consequently, HERS became the monthly meeting place for the Lady Mustangs, the official organization of the WAGS (wives and girlfriends) of the Mustang players and the unofficial hangout for a lot of the WAGS during away games. The ladies also often meet at HERS for lunch or just to shoot the breeze, and as a result, Brynn has become an informal member of their group. She’s developed a lot of great friendships, not just with the wives and girlfriends but with the players who have begun hanging out at HERS too. Especially with shy, quiet Maxwell Lewis. The gorgeous hunk doesn’t say much but his slow smile and subtle wit have made him one of Brynn’s favorite people. They’ve been cautiously flirting for four years when it looks like he finally might make his move. Brynn is all ready to get aboard the idea of a friends with benefits situation when the unthinkable happens. Maxwell gets a phone call while sitting at the bar as she’s serving drinks and is so angered by whatever is said that he finishes it not by hanging up but by flinging his cell at a top-tier bottle of tequila that was sitting on a shelf behind Brynn. Before she can react, the glass snifter of whiskey he was drinking follows it, knocking into the shelf and shattering bottles in a truly spectacular fashion. Another Mustang player hustles Maxwell out the door, leaving her standing in glass shards and spilled alcohol, wondering what had driven her bashful, sweet friend to behave as he did.
The next morning Maxwell slips a check under the door to pay for damages and HERS is back to normal in no time. Well, almost back to normal. Maxwell comes in, ready to make his apologies, but Brynn is not in a forgiving mood. She ignores him for a full week before the WAGS take pity on him and arrange for him to join her during a tasting at a brewery. Brynn and Maxwell work out their issues over a few artisanal beers and after a bit more flirting, they move from the seeing-each-other-when-with-mutual-friends-zone to the hanging-out-friends zone. She introduces him to the TV show Parks and Recreation. He takes her to museums and buys her slushies and sneakers. They start dating and Brynn is pretty sure she’s looking at true love when a single weekend away ushers in a string of tragedies that have her questioning everything she believed about the man she loves – and herself.
The synopsis above in no way captures the utter charm of this story. Brynn is an absolutely fabulous heroine: strong and independent but with a heart of gold. I loved her sense of humor and her witty yet silly way of saying things, but most of all, I loved how she viewed life. The author gives her unique perspectives on things and I got a kick out of looking at the world from her point of view. For example, one of my favorite portions of the book was when she talks about the experience a bar can provide:
It’s weird to me. That all of us can come to the same places, laugh, smile and for a moment our lives are in sync. But then we leave and those bonds we so sparingly made are severed. The women you laughed with as you fixed your lipstick in the bathroom are forgotten. We are so intertwined, yet at the same time so distant that no cocktail or Ping-Pong game can ever bridge the gap. But for a moment, these places change that. For a small window in our lives, differences are forgotten and the only thing that matters is being happy with whoever surrounds you.
To me, that captures perfectly one of the small joys of going out, and that sort of wise, astute way of looking at the world meant I enjoyed every moment I spent with this heroine.
Maxwell is a great character, too. That opening sequence in the bar, where he throws the phone, initially had me very nervous. I’m not a fan of men who express their frustrations with violent gestures but this was a one off moment for Maxwell and when we learn everything that led to it, we can understand if not necessarily condone it. Once we move past that episode, we realize how perfect he is for Brynn. He’s kind, thoughtful, devoted, caring and patient. He really listens to her, cares about what matters to her and shares with her what matters to him. Brynn has issues from her past that have had her wary about commitment but Maxwell’s calm, steady presence as a friend gives her the time she needs to make a choice about moving them from friends to lovers. The author does a really nice job of showing us what’s at stake for both of them; not only do they have problems from their pasts to get beyond, but the fact that HERS is so closely linked with Maxwell’s job means that they need to handle every aspect of their relationship carefully. They would both still be attending events at HERS that involved the Mustangs if things didn’t work out and they wanted that to be able to happen with as little drama as possible.
So they take a while to become a couple but I loved going on that journey with them. They build a very solid foundation before moving towards the physical spectrum of the relationship but while I’m not always a fan of the slow burn romance, it really works here because the characters connected so well in every other way.
I also loved how the author kept all the characters we’ve loved throughout the series engaged in the story without them being obvious cameos. As friends of both characters, they’re an integral, natural part of the narrative. I also adored the new secondary character of Brynn’s dad; it was great to get to know (and love) him.
Blitzed is a fantastic, lighthearted love story that is sure to please Ms. Martin’s many fans and make her some new ones. I strongly recommend it to contemporary romance fans, especially those who like their romances funny, sexy and sweet.
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