Pining for days and UST off the charts make this sports romance

Playing by the Rules EbookPlaying by the Rules by Beth Bolden

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If there’s one thing Beth Bolden knows, it’s how to write a great sports romance and with Playing By The Rules she’s excelled her own incredibly high quality output.

Pining, there’s pining for days, weeks, months as the instant connect Paxton Kelly has with his new quarterback coach Davis Abernathy sparks from the pages and they fight with a forbidden attraction that slowly develops into a deep and abiding love.

Davis has been treated appallingly by his old team, so much so he’s had panic attacks and has retreated to his beach front home in South Carolina when he gets a call from the Piranhas unconventional Head Coach Asa Dawson (he’s up next and OMG I cannot wait for that romance!).

Pax has been bigged up as one of the game’s potential quarterback giants, but his first season with the Miami side was an absolute disaster, his confidence is shot and he’s struggling when Coach tells him to go pick up Davis from the airport.

Their first meeting is chemistry-laden and the attraction is instantaneous. But, as Pax discovers, there’s so much more to Davis than just his looks.

He’s a quiet man, he’s been badly hurt by being dumped by his team for a serial sexual assaulter and blamed for locker room disquiet but he has a footballer’s brain, he’s insightful and, most importantly of all, he’s kind and he knows how to get the best from Pax.

There’s UST off the charts, they get as close as two people can be without ever crossing the line that separates them because of Davis’ position as a coach until things come to a head in a surprising way, which I won’t spoil.

With her usual humour and gentle touch, Beth takes the two men on an emotional journey with turbulent highs and lows which eventually results in one of the sweetest first dates and then, inevitably, into glorious passion.

These two have a soul deep connection which is evident in everything they do, including potentially giving each other up when a chance comes for Davis to prove his former club were wrong in dumping him.

Guest appearances from the other wonderful quarterback/coach pairing Heath Harris and Sam Crawford from Beth’s adjacent Riptide book (The Rivalry) gives another layer to the story which the reader has seen from the outside in the first three books in this series.

The difficulties of the position Davis and Pax are in is handled with skill and the outcome is everything I was hoping for.

Until Asa gets his happy ending, this one’s my favourite so far in what’s been another outstanding collection of American Football romances from Beth.

NOTE: As ever, I beta read this book for Beth.

#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review

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