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BOOK REVIEW: Kickin’ It (Red Card #2) by Rachel Van Dyken

BOOK REVIEW: Kickin’ It (Red Card #2) by Rachel Van DykenKickin' It (Red Card #2)
by Rachel Van Dyken
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Love breaks the offside rule in New York Times bestselling author Rachel Van Dyken’s irresistibly sexy Red Card romance.

Successful, high-profile sports agent Matt Kingston thinks he can handle anything. Then soccer player Parker Speedman shows up at his door. She is young and gorgeous, has natural talent, and is looking for a team. She’s also a hothead with a punchy past who floored her last coach on live TV. Despite his misgivings, Matt agrees to be both her agent and her coach. Professional common sense says she’s off-limits. But what can he say about the raw attraction between them?

Parker plays soccer with her heart and soul. But after the events of the last year, she’s shaken. She’s already seen what a powerful man can do to a female athlete’s career. And her beloved dream is in the hands of a sexy, gorgeous man with the uncanny ability to slip past her defenses…and into her heart.

Now Matt and Parker are about to learn that when it comes to love, the only way to win is by breaking every rule they know. And by playing nice. Real nice.

Review:

Kickin It was fun, flirty and I couldn’t stop smiling or laughing.  With deep and meaningful friendships, characters who came alive off of the pages and a romance that had me constantly begging for more, this book was a solid win!  While Kickin It can easily be read as a standalone, I highly recommend you also read, Risky Play. They’re both a ton of fun and if you’re looking for books to take to the beach, look no further!

“Behave.” His breath was hot on my ear. “I don’t know you. In fact, I’m instantly regretting letting you into my house, but this night is important. These people may be friends, but they’re still clients. Respect them or I’m finding you a nice cardboard box to call home in downtown Seattle. Got it?” 
I sucked in a breath. “You would steal a box from people who are truly homeless?”
“What did I do to deserve this?” He looked toward the sky and then shook his head.

I adored Matt Kingston from Risky Play.  He was such a thoughtful, caring and considerate man.  But he was also ruthless in the work world and he owned a highly successful business of managing sports players.  There was an edge to him and while he could be a dickhead, he loved his sister fiercely.  So when his sister, Willow, asked him if she could work for his company over the summer, he gave in.  But Matt had no clue what he was getting himself into lol. Willow brought her bestie Parker Speedman to live at Matt’s house with her.  And Parker and Matt didn’t get off on a good foot at all.

She was pretty when she smiled, but she didn’t do it often enough. 
And it made me wonder too much. 
It made me want to dig when I had no business digging. 
Coach. 
Agent.

Parker Speedman was sassy and bold, but she was also hurt and broken from the past.  She wanted to play professional soccer more than anything, but her past reputation of punching her coach didn’t have teams lining up for her.  Even though she was an amazing player. So when Matt agreed to be her agent, Parker was finally within reach of her dreams.  

“Good thing we aren’t friends,” Parker piped up, her venom directed at me. And all I could conjure up was an image of us being anything but friendly in the shower. 
And me pulling her hair. 
Running my hands over— 
I locked eyes with her and whispered gruffly, “Good thing.”

Not only was there a ton of banter between Matt and Parker, but there was attraction too.  But Parker is focused on her goal, to be signed by a soccer team. And Matt needed to just be her agent, nothing more.  Well until he also agreed to be her trainer too. Between living and training together, it was hard for them to keep the lines from not being blurred.  Even if they were still fighting and throwing jabs at each other. But that didn’t matter because any time they were together, that attraction was there.  It helped that they both had ridiculously high walls, but spending that much time together meant walls would eventually crumble a little.  And any time they got emotionally closer to the other, it felt like the hugest victory ever.

“Also, stay far, far away from Willow.”
“I love the name Willow.” Jagger stared me down. 
“I have no problem shoving you off my yacht and dumping a bucket of blood in afterward for good measure.”
“Graphic.” Jagger grinned. “I like it.” 
Slade stood. “What’s for lunch?”
“You aren’t staying for lunch.”
“I’ll get the plates!” Jagger followed.

One of the gems I always find in Rachel Van Dyken’s books are the friendships.  Not only the one that the hero and heroine form, but the ones they have with their friends.  Parker and Willow’s friendship felt so real and was filled with tons of love. And then there was Matt with Jagger and Slade.  The three of them were brutally honest with each other and had the others back. But Matt, Slade and Jagger also messed with one other, and there were so many moments that had me laughing hysterically.  I love that Rachel Van Dyken is the queen of writing friendships that are deep and real. 

Our eyes locked. 
Off-limits. She’s off-limits. 
I just never realized how much.

On top of the friendships, banter, and chemistry there was also a side love story between two characters.  I can’t say who, but know that it was hilarious, smile inducing and absolutely everything!  It added so much to this story and the epilogue at the end of this book was absolutely perfect!  Kickin It was such a huge score!  I loved every single minute of it and I can’t recommend this book or series enough!

PS We don’t learn much about Chief Johnny Alfero but I need MORE!  He seems like a man who has miles of secrets and I was obsessed! I’m hoping he gets a story!!

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

BOOK REVIEW: Risky Play (Red Card #1) by Rachel Van Dyken

BOOK REVIEW: Risky Play (Red Card #1) by Rachel Van DykenRisky Play (Red Card #1)
by Rachel Van Dyken
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads






Synopsis:

Even one-night stands deserve a second chance in New York Times bestselling author Rachel Van Dyken’s novel of sporting desire.

What else can a virgin do when she’s ditched at the altar? Seattle heiress Mackenzie Dupont is treating herself to a single-girl honeymoon in Mexico and a desire to relinquish her innocence to a gorgeous one-night stand. Fake names. True pleasure. But when she wakes up alone, Mackenzie realizes just how much anger is left in her broken heart.

Suffering a tragic personal loss, pro soccer player Slade Rodriguez has his reasons for vanishing without a goodbye. Right or wrong, he’s blaming the beautiful and infuriating stranger he never wants to see again. They’re both in for a shock when Mackenzie shows up as his new personal assistant. And they both have a lot to learn about each other. Because they share more than they could possibly know, including a common enemy who’s playing his own games. And he’s not afraid to get dirty.

Now there’s only one way Mackenzie and Slade can win: to trust in each other and to stop hiding from the lies they’ve told, the secrets they’ve kept, the mistakes they’ve made, and the attraction that still burns between them.

Review:

Risky Play was an emotionally heartfelt story that started out with a bang.  It had everything I’ve come to love in a Rachel Van Dyken book. Characters that felt real, a story-line that pulled at my heart and scorching hot scenes that made me fan my face.  But there was also a strong hate to love vibe that made this story such a winner. If you’re a fan of sports romances, Rachel Van Dyken or hate to love romances then definitely pick this one up!

“More champagne?” He pointed to my hand still clutching the champagne with a vise-like grip.
“Yeah,” I croaked.
“Are you by yourself?” he asked a few seconds later.
“Yes.” Don’t cry. Don’t cry. Don’t cry.
“Do you want to be?” he asked softly.
I shook my head, no…
Just then he hopped over the partition, swept me into his arms, and lowered his head.

Six months after we watched Mackenzie be ditched at the altar, she treated herself to her honeymoon.  Alone. She met a man named Slade on the airplane and I absolutely loved how their time together progressed, eeks!  With fake names, a whirlwind day of fun and a night that was steamy and romantic, it was absolutely addicting watching them be together.  But that next morning, Slade left without a word.  While they never thought they would see each other again, one month later Mackenzie ended up being Slade’s assistant.  And it definitely wasn’t a warm and fuzzy reunion.

He was barely touching me, and my body hummed to life.
I stepped away.
I had to.
I didn’t trust him.
I couldn’t.

While Mackenzie was the heiress to one of the largest wine brands, she was completely down to earth and I easily connected with her.  She was kind, patient and I loved that she took risks and was brave.  But my heart hurt for her.  Mackenzie had been burned by men and never seemed to be enough for them.  So when Slade started using Mackenzie as an emotional punching bag, she held nothing back and stood her ground.  She didn’t understand why she was now hated. But she’d much rather spend her time with Slade, instead of going back to the winery.  Where she would have be around the man who left her at the alter.

“You’re making this harder than it should be.” I crossed my arms.
“And you make me harder than I should be. And yet, here I am.” He crossed his arms.
Don’t look down. Do not. Look. Down.
I gulped.
His smile broke out into a huge grin. “You were saying?”

Oh Slade.  He was such a complex man.  And one that I absolutely loved.  He was the number one soccer player in the world, but his trust was definitely jaded from his past and his fame.  But thankfully we got to see his softer side in the beginning. When he was in Mexico with Mackenzie, Slade was charming, seductive and fun.  But when we saw him a month later, he was cold and callous.  He could be so mean and hurtful to Mackenzie, it hurt to watch.  Since we alternated between Slade and Mackenzie, you’ll find out why he is the way he is.  He was so bad, but I also knew just how amazing he could be.

I had to convince myself that the man in Puerto Vallarta didn’t exist.
Because if he did?
I wouldn’t let him go.

As Mackenzie invaded Slade’s life, doing her job, I was so proud that she would continually throw Slade’s attitude back in his face.  She never took it lying down.  And probably the most amazing thing about Mackenzie is that she took a bad situation and found a way to be positive about it.  I absolutely loved her! As the story progressed, I loved seeing peeks of the old Slade. The one I fell so hard for. When his charming or seductive side would come out, I couldn’t stop the smiles.  But best of all I loved watching the moments when Slade was fiercely protective of those he cared for. It was crazy hot!

Her hands dug into me, clung to me like I was going to let her go, and it broke my fucking heart that she might actually think I would do that because of our history.
I wasn’t letting this go.
Her go.

While the sexual tension was absolutely delicious, I loved when Rachel Van Dyken took them a step further.  Not only was it seductive, but I loved how she could seamlessly lace humor into those moments. There was a shower scene that had me laughing so hard I was crying.  But outside of Slade and Mackenzie, there was also friendships that I adored reading about. Matt and Jagger were my two favorite side characters, you have to meet them!  Also you have to meet Slade’s dog, Alfie. He was such a cutie! So yes, I definitely recommend this book! Risky Play made me laugh, cry, smile and fall in love.  And it gave me ALL the tears with that ending. It was so perfect!  Now I can’t wait to read the next book, which is about Matt.  That man made me crack up and smile so hard, I can’t wait to hear every single one of his thoughts!

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

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