Series: Face-Off Series
Author: Jillian Quinn
Publication Date: February 15th, 2017
Shelves: New Adult; Contemporary; Romance; Sports
Rating: ★★★★☆ 3.5/4 stars
Former collegiate athlete and successful sports agent, Charlotte “Coach” Coachman, is a straight shooter who has a very strict policy—no dating clients. The loves of her life are coaching little league basketball and managing the careers of her players, leaving no room for men.
Coach hasn’t met an athlete she couldn’t handle and a deal she couldn’t close—until she meets Alex Parker—the NHL’s most notorious bad boy both on and off the ice.
Alex is the best defenseman in the league, breaking records along with hearts. He’s made a name for himself as a womanizer, and after a scandal involving the owner’s granddaughter, Alex is traded to Philadelphia. Still reeling from the loss of his father, Alex is on a downward spiral, drowning himself in booze and women, until Coach takes him under her wing.
She might be attracted to the sexy hockey star, and certainly not immune to his charms, but Coach can see that Alex needs her help, and coaching players is what she does best. Now that the lines are blurred and the passion between them is too strong to deny, Coach has to decide if Alex is worth making an exception to her rules.
An ARC of Parker was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Alex Parker is in bad shape following the death of his father. After six months of excessive drinking and sleeping around, his antics result in him being traded to the Philly Flyers, losing any chance he previously had of winning the Stanley Cup. Alex’s agent, Mickey, is tired of his behaviour, and signs his best sports agent Charlotte “Coach” Coachman to the task of watching over Alex, to stop him further damaging his image…
Charlotte hasn’t has the easiest life. Losing her parents to addiction at a young age and spending her teen years in dangerous, abusive homes has left Charlotte incredibly grateful for everything she has: her best friend Jamie, her boss and father figure Mickey, and her amazing job as a sports agent. Getting assigned the job of keeping a close eye on Alex Parker doesn’t sound appealing to Charlotte one bit. But when she discovers that Alex has a problem with alcohol, she makes him move into her apartment to try to help him overcome his problem before it worsens. As they help each other battle their demons, their relationship ventures past professional, and Charlotte must make a decision between being with Alex, or risk losing her job.
After reading Jillian @RantandRaveAboutBooks‘ novel Corrupt Me earlier this year, I saw that she was publishing a sports romance novel and I was game! (pun intended). Thank you for the ARC, Jillian! I have been in a bit of a reading slump, but whilst taking a day off from the internet, I picked up this eBook and read it all in one sitting.
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked Alex. When we are first introduced to him he comes across as a typical bad-boy character who behaves badly and sleeps around. But behind this continuous poor behaviour he’s completely lost and heartbroken after the death of his father. I actually found it really nice that Alex had such a good, loving relationship with his father. It may seem to be a weird thing to comment on but I liked it a lot. Alex quickly becomes a character you root for, even though he makes some dumb decisions throughout the novel. He’s surprisingly sweet and kind, but of course he’s cocky and a total flirt! Oh, and he’s hot, but that goes without saying!
Charlotte was my favourite character. I loved her from the beginning. She’s a successful, hard-working sports agent who has to be strong within the male-dominated sports career she’s a part of. I think I mentioned this in my Corrupt Me review, but I love to read about women like this because I wish I was that bad-ass! And Jillian writes women characters like this so well! But Charlotte also coaches kid’s basketball and seeing that side of her was very cute. I liked that she is massively into sports (she’s a former basketball player who almost made it pro). Sporty women isn’t something I see often in m/f sports romance novels so that was an aspect of her character I particularly enjoyed.
Their relationship was really entertaining because they’re both such big personalities who initially clash due to their poor first impressions of each other. But seeing them slowly open up to each other through their middle-of-the-night conversations was one of my favourite things about the novel. These moments were meaningful and romantic. And I was hooked!
In term of plot, I’d say it was heavily focused on Alex and Charlotte in terms of their growing relationship, but also as two individuals overcoming difficult times and changing for the better. I thought the novel had a good amount of romance. Obviously their relationship was a prominent part of the novel but as mentioned, there was plenty of focus on both of them as individuals (their pasts, their achievements, fears, hopes, etc.) and how they help and support each other through their issues. I feel like the novel didn’t feature much ice hockey, but since I’m not very interested in sports, this wasn’t something I had a problem with.
Parker was a surprisingly sweet read. I think it had a lot of nice little touches that made it different from many other sports romance novels I’ve read to date.
And apologies that this review is not as detailed as usual. I’ve been sick for almost a fortnight and I was trying to wait it out but it didn’t happen…
Would you read this novel again? Undecided, but I’m anticipating the next instalment!
Who would I recommend this novel to? Fans of sports romance novels like Pucked and The Deal, readers looking for a sporty female main character.