Synopsis from Goodreads
Sexy Athlete: I bet you…
Penelope Graham: Burn in hell, quarterback.
The text is random but Penelope figures out exactly who “Sexy Athlete” is. And why she shouldn’t take his wager.
Walks on water and God’s gift to women.
Just ask him.
His bet? He promises Penelope he’ll win her the heart of the guy she’s been crushing on. His plan—good old-fashioned jealousy. Once her crush sees her kissing Ryker, he’ll realize what he’s missing. Sounds legit, right? The only question is…why is Ryker being so nice to her?
Lover of sparkly vampires and calculus.
His mortal enemy.
Penelope knows she shouldn’t trust a jock, but what’s a girl to do when she needs a date to Homecoming? And Ryker’s keeping a secret, another bet, one that could destroy Penelope’s heart forever.
Will the quarterback score the good girl or will his secrets mean everyone loses this game of love?
*Author’s Note: This is a standalone sports romance with an HEA.
**You do not have to have read I Dare You, although you should if you love jocks and nerdy heroines. 🙂
Ilsa has a wonderful ability to create quirky, independent and confident female characters – they completely embrace who they are and are an inspiration to all womankind.
Penelope embraces who she is but doesn’t see how attractive she really is. Added to her family history of single mother and absent professional sportsman father ensures Penelope wants to avoid making the same mistake and instead avoids all ‘players’ focusing instead on security and safety over attraction and passion. Except Penelope doesn’t factor in the tenacity and depth of attraction Ryker has’ as well as her own subconscious fighting against her, lol.
Ryker has embraced the ‘player’ lifestyle during his early college career but following the huge upheaval involving Maverick (I Dare You) has lead Ryker to re-evaluate his life choices, including the tradition of ‘bets’ among players. However, it is through a bet that Ryker finally approaches Penelope – resulting in a complete catastrophe of epicness. Watching Ryker fumble his way through a conversation with Penelope was surprisingly endearing; despite his immature moments you can’t help but want Ryker to get his girl.
The proverbial thorn in the tale comes in the form of Archer, a douche-tastic replacement for Maverick while he is on suspension. It is obvious that Archer is consumed by jealousy of the talent and leadership qualities possed by both Ryker and Maverick, and takes great pains in trying to undermine them at every opportunity. Archer is definitely one of those characters we all love to hate and rejoice when he gets what he deserves!!!!
I loved the connection between Penelope and Ryker, and the way in which they were unable to avoid the ultimate fall. Although I have to say I really liked the way Ilsa portrayed the stupidity of ‘bets’ which can also be viewed as hazing of sorts, within sports teams and the damage they can inflict on all concerned.
Ryker and Penelope both grown and mature as the story progresses, accepting parts of their lives and the events that have shaped their identity while gaining a new perspective enabling deeper connections to family and friends.