“~* 3.5 Stars *~
Didn’t Like It
“Cheesy/simple/fluff”see full review » see other reviews »
“~* 3.5 Stars *~
When NFL quarterback and hometown hero Cade Reynolds returns to Harper Falls for the first time in sixteen years to do a favor for his old high school football coach, the town's welcome is...well...slightly underwhelming. No one even recognizes him. At least, no one but the stunningly sexy woman who is on her way out of the coffee shop when she sees him sitting at a table.
The heated recognition that flares in her eyes puts Cade's blood flow on a southward bound sex train. He should probably meet her first, however, before asking her to be his lusty conductor.
Angie Peterson couldn't imagine what her former high school crush was doing back in Harper Falls after all these years. She knows he's still rehabbing the shoulder injury that knocked him out of the game for almost two seasons, but all reports indicate he should be heading back to the sport soon. She should know, she's followed Cade's career as devotedly as she follows football. One is her life and her passion, the other, well, a different sort of passion. So the frank interest she sees in his eyes when she meets his gaze thrills her to her core.
Thankfully, he doesn't seem to remember her. That opens the door for all sorts of delightful recreation. After all, it's not like the illustrious Cade Reynolds is likely to be in town for long.
After a decadent night of unbridled passion, Angie returns to the real world and her job as math teacher and assistant football coach for the high school. Coming face-to-face with Cade at work so soon after relegating their fabulous night together to the past is a shock, but it's finding out exactly why Cade is back in town that really tilts Angie's world on its axis and threatens everything she's worked so hard to achieve.
He may be there to take a job that should rightfully be hers, but when it comes to football, Angie is a master at strategy, and this is a game she has every intention of winning. Even if it is against the only man she's ever truly wanted.
As a mostly cute and wickedly sexy little contemporary romance with heavy sports influences, Barbosa's series debut works nicely and even has a few nifty little unorthodox touches. I enjoyed both characters, even though Cade's character stayed fairly consistent with the wounded sports hero stereotype. He had enough charming traits that went against-type to keep him interesting. It was Angie's character, though, that really brought a breath of fresh air to the read for me.
I loved that she's not only an assistant coach, but she's brilliant with game strategy and play calling. That was a particularly nice touch in a sub-genre where the female protagonists are usually stuck working for a sports team's front office or as some sort of sports reporter.
Angie and Cade had excellent chemistry, too, and the level of competition between them set the evolution of their relationship on a very nice simmer as the story progressed. And it has to be said...Barbosa completely delivered on the page-burning, sizzling sex. It was fan-worthy and positively delicious.
The overall plot wasn't terribly complex, and the few threads of external conflict were fairly anemic in both depth and definition, with a resolution that I found lacking. Still, this isn't the sort of story that necessitates a tremendous amount of complexity to be entertaining. Some elements were pretty far from realistic, others could have been a little more believable with a little more foundation, but those are really pretty minor issues, all things considered.
I didn't like the end of the book, though. That was a problem. And I hate when a book ends an unsatisfying or disappointing note when so much else in the story works for me. Whenever that happens, my overall impression of the read takes a hit. Too much about this ending, though, felt more like a setup for the next book than a satisfying conclusion to this one and I just wasn't happy with it.
I was happy with much of the rest of it, though. It was sexy as hell, with solid characters in a contentious but fiery romance and a story that had just enough individuality to make it memorable. A steamy-hot way to spent a few fun reading hours. Speaking as a football lover, I'd say this one made it to the end zone, even if it missed the extra point.
Disclosure: An ARC of this book was provided to me by Brazen publisher Entangled Publishing via NetGalley. This rating, review, and all included thoughts and comments are my own.
Reviewed for One Good Book Deserves Another.
SKIN IN THE GAME is the first storyline in Jackie Barbosa’s new Play Action contemporary romance series. This is Angela and Cade’s storyline. This is not necessarily a friends to lovers or even a second chance storyline-but a story about two people who met briefly in high school and their lives would be forever changed. Angela is the ‘muse’ to Cade’s football career and the woman who would tackle his heart.
The storyline focuses on Cade’s second chance for a career (after a possible career ending injury)-both on and off the field. Returning home to Harper Falls he is immediately attracted to Angela-the one time geeky girl who is now the beautiful assistant coach and math teacher at Harper Falls High.
The attraction between the couple is immediate-in fact their sexual relationship begins within a few hours of meeting-only Cade does not remember the beautiful Angela and it will take a few days before his memory of Angela resurfaces. The sexual heat is spicy and the HEA is predictable but it is the in between that pushes the storyline into another direction.
The storyline also focuses on sexual discrimination and harassment at the hands of a fellow teacher and coach. Many women suffer the same fate as our heroine-working in a world controlled by men and fearing retribution should their complaints be heard. At times, the situation and her reluctance to take legal action was disheartening but the circumstances and her reasoning are probably experienced by more women than not.
The mains characters are likeable and relatable and because of the football backdrop to the story, fans of the sport will recognize the lingo and maneuvers.
Skin in the Game is a fast pace, interesting storyline about two people searching for something more in their lives. If you are a fan of football, romance and a HEA, Skin in the Game is the perfect read.
see all of my reviews at : thereadingcafe(dot)com”
“I am not a fan of American football and I haven't read a lot of sports related romance so this is an unfamiliar genre for me. This turned out to be really quick read for me. I liked the plot and I am a sucker for ugly duckling type of romance so I loved reading about Angie and Cade.
Angie is the typical ugly duckling who blossomed into a swan and who had a crush on Cade back in high school. Cade, the star quarterback naturally does not pay any attention to her. Fast forward sixteen years and Cade is a quarterback in the NFL who was injured and is unable to play when he returns to his hometown and met Angela. Sparks begin to fly with Angie, not expecting anything but a one night stand. Further sparks fly when it is then revealed that Cade is there to take over as head coach, with Angie being the assistant coach for the local team.
I liked the story, however this ended up as an okay story for me. I thought there lacked something else to drive the story and it felt rushed with everything falling neatly into place, lacking any real conflict. It wasn't as hot as I expected a Brazen title to be and a Jackie Barbosa novel.”
“My 4.5 star review from Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews dot com
Somehow this past year I've read a lot of books revolving around football player heroes and I'm not a big fan of football. However, I've enjoyed them all including Skin InThe Game. I love the strong female lead and the hero and I have something in common, we both have problems remembering faces and names. I'm ashamed to admit that, but it takes me several times of seeing someone before I can get their name and face put together in my head. So, I completely sympathize with him especially since it's been over 15 years he's seen the heroine.
Cade Reynolds has returned to his hometown to help out his former high school football coach. Recovering from an accident that almost took his NFL career from him, the last place he wants to be is Harper Falls. Surprised at not being recognized immediately, he's stunned when the woman that immediately garnered his attention apparently does recognize him.
Angela (Angie) Peterson can't believe her eyes when she spots her former high school crush in the local coffee shop. When she confronts him she realizes he doesn't remember her from high school but then why would he, she's changed a lot from the clumsy, football loving, geek she use to be...well sort of, she's still loves football, still somewhat of a geek, but she's not the wallflower she use to be either.
These two fall into bed immediately and Angie pulls a disappearing act which ticks Cade off and thoroughly confuses him. When they both realize that they'll be essentially working together things get a little messy and they both know they have to take a step back. I enjoyed watching them try to stay away from a physical relationship all the while getting to know each other better. Angie impressed me with her ballsy attitude and refusal to back down just because she's a woman. I love that while she was falling for Cade she refused to change her life to suit his. I felt for Cade on several occasions because he had some tough choices to make and none were easy. The fact that he realized he wanted more out of life than football and that he was willing to give up his dream to get it makes him a very appealing hero.
This was such an easy book to love because both the main characters were completely likeable. On top of that there was a great storyline with just enough drama to make it interesting but not so much that you get bogged down in it. Skin In The Game is an excellent steamy romance and anyone who enjoys a strong heroine and a guy smart enough to realize he's got a good thing and is willing to sacrifice to keep it will no doubt enjoy this story.
“ love Entangled Publishing's Brazen books, so I was excited to be able to read Skin in the Game. This is the first novel I have read by Jackie Barbosa, and I really did enjoy it and look forward to reading more from her. When Cade Reynolds, former high school football player and NFL superstar finds himself back in Harper Falls to help his old coach out for a few weeks while recovering from an injury, the last thing he expects to see while at the local coffee shop is a beautiful blonde who definitely could be a supermodel, and is most possibly the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. The last thing Angie Peterson expects when she walks in the coffee shop is to see Cade Reynolds, NFL superstar, and her secret crush when she was in high school, and she certainly doesn't expect him to ask her out. Cade obviously doesn't remember her, and Angie wants to keep it that way, thinking if he remembered the geeky, ugly girl she was in high school he wouldn't want anything to do with her. Cade has always remembered a geeky girl from high school who knew football and was quite the strategist when it came to plays. In fact, he credits her as playing a big part in his getting into the NFL to begin with. After a night of passion, Angie sneaks out while Cade is asleep, having convinced herself that is the best thing to do because their worlds are too different for it to be anything else. When Cade shows up at "her" high school as interim coach of "her" team team, things really begin to get interesting, and they both find themselves part of a game that has a whole lot more to do with it than just football. Who will be the victor, however, is something that remains to be seen.
Skin in the Game is a hot, sexy, romance, and also a really great story. The plot was great and Jackie Barbosa certainly knows how to deliver the sizzle. Cade Reynolds was one of those dream guys you would just die for. He's is super hot, oozes with sex appeal, and knows how to talk dirty in the best of ways. Angie Peterson is beautiful, smart, talented, and knows football better than most men. She doesn't realize just how beautiful she is, which makes her that much more attractive to Cade, who has dated more than his share of supermodels. Their relationship on and off the field is intense, to say the least. The sports them combined with the romance makes Skin in the Game a interesting, fun, and really sexy read, and one that I would definitely recommend to all romance fans. ”