TAKES TWO TO TACKLE by Jeanette Murray: Keeping it Real

Takes Two to Tackle

Takes Two To Tackle coverBook 3 in the Santa Fe Bobcats series
By Jeanette Murray
Narrated by Carly Robins
Published by: Tantor Media
Publication date Mar 29, 2016
Running time 8 hrs 24 min

Audiobook provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.


Football player Stephen Harrison has hit rock bottom—he’s fresh out of rehab, lost too much weight to be an effective offensive lineman, and has no support system in place. The Bobcats staff suggests that he get a life coach to keep him sober and get him back into playing shape, but Stephen says that his girlfriend will help. Too bad he doesn’t have one . . .

Luckily for Stephen, he does have a housekeeper. Margaret has always dreamed of starting her own elite cleaning service, and the money Stephen offers her to play the part of girlfriend is too good to pass up. But while Mags is helping Stephen bulk up and get ready for training camp, she can’t seem to block the feelings crashing into her heart—and one night of passion will pull both of their heads out of the game.  Contains mature themes. https://tantor.com/takes-two-to-tackle-eanette-murray.html


My Take Oblong Shaped


In this story, I really admire how Murray deals with alcoholism and its effects on friends, family, job, and relationships.  I have, like many, had some experience with the recovery lifestyle.  I thought she kept the internal aspect, and the effects aspect of Stephen’s sobriety very real.

Unlike the TV show ELEMENTARY, a modern mash up of Sherlock Holmes, Stephen’s choice of and relationship to his housekeeper/sober companion is not antagonistic.  Margaret is the perfect choice for Stephen: she is discreet, sassy, and already friendly and devoted. 

What happens is the fake relationship (two of the three books in this series faking some aspect of relationship is central to the plot). Is fake to real the big trope this year?   As in the last book the play acting is due to a threat from the coach.  The guy is obviously a douche, but seems to be learning something from changes in his personal life.

Oddly, in my entire dating career no one, rich or poor, ever suggested I be his fake girlfriend, fiancee or wife.  Is it as easy NOT to fall in love with a rich man as it a poor one? Nor has that been the case for anyone I know.

When the idea starts off it is a straight up business proposition with no fakes-lover-with-benefits in the agreement.   So, when things heat up, why can’t these tow talk about it?  As it too often is, it is all about poor communication.  Strange for someone who just got out of rehab.

Would you ever engage in a fake relationship for money? Well, I didn’t even think it was a ton of money?

I liked how his internal struggles with  alcoholism were handled and how his friends helped him, but I thought it was recommended that people don’t start new relationships in the time right after rehab.  Although the reasoning is diverse, websites I checked said this over and over. So, it seems strange that a new relationship would be okay with the coach, or that he would meet with a player about it without the team shrink present (since they had one).

“Oh, Stephanie” you might be thinking, “It’s just a romance novel!”

Okay, it is, but it is a romance novel that takes on a weighty issue so I am picky about it.

I was a little concerned about the rapid weight loss that is a big problem in Stephen’s career and the rapid gain back.  It is hard to gain back as much as is implied on what seems to be a low-carb, high fiber, low-fat diet.   And he lost 50 pounds in a month at rehab? I read that is unlikely unless he was over 250. Of course, not drinking multiple six-packs a day, and losing a ton of water could cause a lot of weight loss, but medically that could even be risky. I liked that he was concerned about his body image, not so much that he was damaged over it but that guys have similar issues to women that way. 

Since the weight thing came up again and again through out the story it was an issue for me.  As a former popular weight-loss program teacher, I know we had a problem if people lost over a certain amount each week, but attempts to find any actually decent medical information about it online was not possible. You can decide for yourself whether that is a problem for you.

Although there was room for improvement, I enjoyed the story. I especially enjoyed the inclusion of other story lines. 

One nice aspect of the series is that the women involved with the players are friendly with each other and welcoming. That’s a big help to a newbie.

I have explained my verisimilitude issues and that I had was that I have seen too much fake to real relationship trope in stories lately and that poor communication masked real issues.  I liked that house cleaning was seen as a profession and not something low that only desperate people do. 

Despite my issues, the story was a go for me.  It dealt with some very real issues and emotions, and in those it was touching.


Links Blue Horizontal


PUBLISHER: https://tantor.com/takes-two-to-tackle-eanette-murray.html

AT AUDIBLE: http://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Takes-Two-to-Tackle-Audiobook/B01D3JEHHQ?source_code=TANP0005WS071408

AUTHOR: http://www.jeanettemurray.com/takes-two-to-tackle/