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Title: Rush Series: Gods #2 Author: Samantha Towle Publisher: Headline Eternal Publication Date: 7 Aug 2018 Rating: 4/5 Synopsis from Goodreads From Samantha Towle, New York Times bestselling author of Breaking Hollywood and Ruin, comes a new powerful, passionate and dramatic contemporary romance. “With the first pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the New York Giants select…” It’s been three years since quarterback Ares Kincaid’s NFL dream came true, and he’s living the high life. The days of cleaning up after his drunk of a father are long gone, and he has no intention of going back. A car crash and DUI charge meant a lengthy stint in rehab for Arianna Petrelli, and her dream of being a professional artist slips further away when she’s sacked from her position at a gallery. Her need for a job stronger even than her dislike of football, Ari goes to work for her father, the head coach of the New York Giants. Ares hates alcoholics, which is fine with Ari because she thinks he’s a brainless jock. Yet when Ares rescues Ari from a situation with her ex-boyfriend, an unlikely friendship begins – one that quickly becomes more. But messing around with the coach’s daughter can only lead to one thing…trouble.

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Soooo you are probably aware I have issues with characters who have an addiction to alcohol, due to my own experience with an alcoholic ex. To say Samantha Towle took me by surprise with her portrayal of Arianna would be an understatement. For the first time, I actually felt empathy toward an alcoholic character, something I thought would never happen as I have a tendency to project my own issues. Arianna’s introduction to alcohol at an early age as a way to cope with the loss of her mother (in a way no child should have to encounter) followed by the emotional abandonment of the only other person in her life, her father. The thing that always astounds me is the lack of understanding where the addictive nature of alcohol is concerned. It is equally as addictive as other drugs but is socially acceptable. Why is that? It is this addictive quality accompanied by the emotional numbness Arianna was able to achieve which created the addiction. Although it takes a dramatic incident to open Ari’s eyes to her condition she is to be commended for recognising the problem and finding a way to live with the disease. Remember it isn’t curable, like all mental health conditions it can only be managed and most importantly you have to want to manage it. Ares reminded me a lot of myself where his attitude to alcohol was concerned and especially his view of alcoholics. It would seem Ari taught us both a lesson in empathy and not to put everyone into the same box. The chemistry between the pair is undeniable and unavoidable, even though Ares tries his best to deny it in the beginning. Although there are still hurdles to overcome before Ares and Arianna are able to move onto the path of happily ever after. Trust is a fundamental part of any relationship, although it is a precarious commodity especially when you have to battle your previous experiences in order to allow yourself to be vulnerable to another person. Rush is more than the relationship developing between Arianna and Ares; it shows there is a chance to reclaim your life from the demons on your back in the form of alcohol if you truly want to and are willing to undertake the demanding work in which to achieve it 💞