Out of Bounds #2
by Tracy Solheim
Tantor Audio (8 Audio CDs, 1 Mp3-CD or Audiodownload)
Publication Date: 08/12/2014
Running Time: 9 hrs 47 min
Narrator: Charles Constant
E- Book & Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
Berkley/Penguin0 3 Dec 2013 | | 18 – AND UP
(sitting model cover is from the Print/e-book, and model standing cover is from the audio version)
Audiobook provided by Publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinion presented herein is my own except as noted.
This Hail Mary play for the heart is the latest sports romance in the sizzling Out of Bounds series.
Bridal gown designer Julianne Marchione knows better than to lose her head at a client’s wedding. But, much to her embarrassment, a mix of migraine medication and a smoking hot football player lead to a steamy one night stand resulting in a surprise pregnancy. Julianne has every intention of leaving her NFL hookup far in the past until her son, Owen, is born with a life-threatening blood disorder that requires a transfusion—and Julianne is not a match.
Will “William the Conqueror” Connelly grew up tough, shouldering the stigma of being a bastard child born on the wrong side of the tracks. He refuses to let any child face the same discrimination. When he finds out about Owen, he’s furious that Julianne kept his son a secret. But when he sees her again at the hospital, he realizes that his feelings for her go far beyond anger.
Will insists that Owen recuperate at his home in North Carolina, and he’s adamant that Julianne become his wife—even if it’s only a temporary marriage in name only. But will their simmering attraction ever lead to a real connection? Or are they just playing foolish games?
I enjoyed this unabridged audio recording of Tracy Solheim’s complicated story. FOOLISH GAMES is themed on trust and several sports scandals similar to those in the headlines recently. But I did not feel drawn in to the female characters by the narration. I am probably too picky, but I feel Mr. Constant makes the women sound either old and decrepit, or silly and stupid. There was one female character I did like the voicing of and that was Sophie Osborne, The Blaze’s (Will’s team) GM’s daughter.
I did get drawn in by the plot though, even though the outcome and relationship were predictable, there were enough different variables, like that temporary marriage, and the various sports scandals to keep it interesting. There’s at least one big surprise too — I did not see it coming at all.
I found the male love interest, Will, very quick to anger and sort of prone to man-handling Julianne, even if just grabbing her arms. This would put me right off a guy. He seems to recognize that as bad behavior with women, but with his guy friends he seems similarly inclined. Is it a football thing, I wonder? At other times he seems sensitive, like when he finally opens up to Julieann. I would have preferred a character who had better control of his emotions. Will is under a lot of stress, so that could be an explanation for his quick temper. Julieann is well defined although the character is seen as flighty and “bat-shit” crazy.
The ripped from the headline aspect gives the story a realistic feel and timeliness. I also like the “poor boy with young single mom makes good” feel. Some aspects of certain business arrangements are not as believable as I would like, but perhaps that is too particular. Also the changeover in the relationship from wary to hot-for-each-other felt a tad abrupt.
I just started listening to Tracy’s books; I’ve never “read” one in another format. The sports romance feels like a good match for the medium. Tracy keeps the characters distinguishable and on one team so there’s not a confusing mishmash to keep track of. While there are a good number of characters it’s easy to keep them separate. I especially enjoyed the characters of Brody, and Will’s mother. The next book in the series features Brody.
The sex is passionate and definitely not for little ears, but sometimes even with headphones the sex in an audio book can make me blush. This is not that graphic, nor is it kinky; no hand-cuffs even.
Even if it isn’t destined for a leather binding on a shelf of classics the writing is fine; with good grammar and correct word choices. And though it is part of a series and the experience of reading in a series is even better, this can stand alone because the story is really self-contained. But, there is continuity and follow through from GAME ON, the first book in the series.
I enjoyed this story a bit more because it seems more realistic. I recommend this for anyone looking for a contemporary romance with steamy romance and hot athletes. Great beach read!