Time of PossessionContemporary, Romance
Supposedly undersized for the NFL, Brett Gunnels went off to do a stint in the US Army right out of high school. Returning damaged yet stronger and more determined than ever to prove himself, he was picked last in the draft. Mr. Irrelevant, they called him. The last few years as a backup quarterback have given him no opportunity to compete for the starting job. That’s why he has a chip on his shoulder the size of Puget Sound.
Estelle Harris is engaged to a man she doesn't love, working a job she hates, and fooling everyone including herself in the process. Her love of animals is the only thing that gives her purpose—a love she shares the Lumberjacks’ reclusive quarterback. And then their mutual friendship turns a hot, dark, forbidden corner and there's no going back.
True love is like football. It’s not always how long you have the ball. It’s what you do when you get it.
So when I saw this book circulating the blog tour sign-ups, I knew I had to read. For one, the name of this series is what caught my eye. If you know me on Facebook, you know that one of my book BFFs/Twinsie and I reference how we want to star in a realty TV show with hot lumberjacks (Lumberjacks Gone Wild)… and did I mention she’s from the Seattle area. So for that reason alone I knew I had to read this book. Another reason, hot football players. ‘Nuff said.
I liked this book. It took me a bit to really get into it and connect with the characters, but once I did, it was a pleasant and fun read. I love a good hero in a story, and Brett is certainly book boyfriend material. Estie was the quintessential sweet, nice, and charming heroine that a reader cannot not like. The chemistry between these two is definitely there from the get go, and I found myself reading faster to see when (and IF) these two will finally get together.
The build up in this story allows the reader to get to know these characters, flaws and all. I liked the both the main characters gave each other a run for their money. Both needed the other for some kind of help, and it helped me relate to them better. Brett is the back-up quarterback for a popular Seattle football team. The starring QB gets hurt and can’t play the rest of the season…enter Brett’s chance to prove himself. Estie is an animal lover by hobby and accountant/financial adviser as a profession. She’s also engaged. To a guy no one really likes. Who doesn’t enjoy football or animals. And is way too close to his mother. She’s also the starring QB’s sister. Brett and Estelle meet and instantly connect. Both have a love of animals. Both love football. Both characters give the other the strength, courage, and confidence to follow their dreams.
Two things I wished about this story: One, I wish I read the previous books because I think it would of helped me connect with the sassy and intriguing secondary characters more. Two, I wish the final chapter was a bit more detailed. I felt it was a tad rushed. I wanted a bit more. Overall, I am really glad I read this story. If you are a fan of football, adorable heroine and handsome hero, this is a good choice!
The woman of Brett’s dreams stood in the open doorway wearing a black sweater covered in dog hair.
Forget that she was as tall—or taller—than him. Forget that her brother happened to be a premier asshole and the Seattle Lumberjacks’ starting quarterback, well, at least until he’d torn his ACL yesterday.
Forget that she wore a diamond on her ring finger that would have choked Hoss Price, the team’s mammoth starting center.
Forget all that. Standing there on the porch, Brett Gunnels fell in love at first sight—or definitely in lust. He didn’t know if it was her brilliant sky-blue eyes, her beautiful face, the dog hair, or a combination of all three. He only knew that he was hooked with just one glance.
“Come on in.” Estelle Harris smiled at him, a kind, warm smile, a smile that cast light into all those dark corners he swore would never see the light of day again. His heart kicked into overdrive and slammed against his rib cage, while his lungs forgot breathing was their purpose.
She turned and ushered him into her house. Brett stared after her, his body motionless and temporarily rendered out of service like a city bus at the end of its nightly run.
She glanced over her shoulder, and her curious expression rebooted his brain.
He lurched forward and stumbled on the threshold but recovered nicely and stepped into the modest entryway, his pride in tatters. Her amused grin spread heat through his body faster than a California wildfire in high winds.
God, she was stunning, and way out of his league in so many ways.
“I hope you’re Brett, and I didn’t just let a Ted Bundy copycat into my house.” Her sweet laughter wrapped around him like a warm blanket on a cold winter night.
Brett shook his head, appalled she might be serious. “Yes, I’m Brett. And you are Tyler’s sister Estelle?” He cringed at the stiff formality in his voice. Again that smile, like Mona Lisa. Only Mona Lisa had nothing over this woman.
“Everyone calls me Estie.”
“Estie then.” His own smile rushed to his lips and refused to cease and desist. He probably looked like a half-witted, grinning fool. He held out his hand. She took his in her soft one with a firm grip of long, sexy fingers. He stared at their joined hands, hers with the cotton candy pink fingernails and his with its bumps and scars. Her hand was so soft, so feminine, so perfect.
Estie cleared her throat. Finally, she slid her hand from his grasp, giving him an odd look. He’d been hanging on too tight and too long. The heat rose to his cheeks and ears to rival the heat in the rest of his body. Way to go, Gun. Make an idiot of yourself with the first woman who’s interested you in eons.
Estie walked across the room like an angel gliding through clouds and stopped in front of a bird cage. She pointed at the large parrot inside who had cocked his head and was watching them both. “And the name of your foul-mouthed friend here? Lavender was in such a hurry to fly to San Fran to be with Tyler, she never told me this guy’s name.”
Estie laughed again, and her voice took on this breathless quality as if he affected her as much as she affected him. Her deep blue eyes—so much like her brother’s, but he wouldn’t hold that against her—mesmerized him. All that romantic shit he’d heard over the years from his sisters hit him like a speeding car on the freeway. His brain did a free-fall into a self-induced coma, his feet became one with the floor, and his heart pounded louder than a series of bombs dropping on an enemy target.
“The parrot? What is his name?” Estie frowned as she repeated her question and her neatly plucked brow furrowed. Brett blinked several times in an attempt to signal his brain to snap out of it.
Obviously tired of waiting for his dumbshit owner to get a grip, the African Gray took matters into his own wings, “Bongo, pretty lady. Bongo. Bongo wants to see you naked.”
Her eyes grew big, and she stared at the parrot with her gorgeously sinful mouth hanging open. To her credit, she recovered quickly and peered inside the cage, a smile once again tugging the corners of those pink lips. “You’re a little devil, Bongo. I’ve been asking you your name all evening.”
“Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you.” Bongo rang a little bell attached to his perch for emphasis.
This time Estie laughed, an amused tinkling laugh. “Did you say you left him with my brother?”
Brett nodded. “You can tell, huh?” Tyler Harris was known for his fondness of the F-word, a bad habit he’d passed on to the bird, or more likely trained into the bird.
“Absolutely.” Again the Mona Lisa smile. Damn, he was going to have to get a print of that painting and hang it in his bedroom, but then he’d never get any sleep.
“I can’t leave him alone, especially not for a few days; he gets lonely and destructive. I used to put him in animal daycare, but they kicked him out for bad behavior and worse language. Then I left him with a neighbor kid to babysit. His mother had a fit when Bongo told her husband that she was messing around with the college student next door.”
“I have no idea,” he chuckled.
“So you put it back on my brother to provide babysitting since he taught the little guy some naughty words.”
“Something like that. Lavender loves animals, and she didn’t mind. I really appreciate you stepping in to help me out.”
“It’s all for the animals.” She walked into the living room, tastefully furnished with overstuffed furniture covered with neatly folded blankets, most likely for her furry children. Oh, lord, a woman after his own heart, with the comfort of her animals coming first. Despite the animal comforts, nothing was out of place, nothing like his messy house, nor did it smell like animals lived there. In fact, it smelled wonderful, like a combination of spring blossoms and a mountain meadow. The hardwood floors gleamed, not one fluffy cloud of dust and cat hair anywhere, and he was pretty sure she had a cat based on the pictures on her mantle.
Brett followed her, his eyes dropping to her blue-jeans-clad ass, a really, really nice ass, and those long take-me-to-heaven legs. Any guy in his right mind would fantasize about those legs.
Brett tugged on his collar and wiped his brow. He cleared his throat and swallowed. He was hooked, but judging by that impressive diamond ring, so was she. Leave it to him to fall for an unattainable woman—wouldn’t be the first time. As the Jacks’ backup quarterback, women looked right past him to the starters. It was the story of his life, and he was used to it. Not that he’d grown complacent, but being pissed about the hand life dealt you wasn’t his way. He was first and foremost a fighter.
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