It’s no secret that sports analyst Jackson Gray doesn’t do relationships. What is a secret, however, is the reason why. Jackson’s life is . . . complicated. And it doesn’t help that his current hands-off “friendship” is with the cute-as-hell new sideline reporter he’s assigned to train. Turns out, not only is the woman damn sweet, she also knows as much about football as he does. Like it or not though, Jackson has to remind himself that sex is the only thing he has to offer . . . until now.
Leila Hart’s fast-growing friendship with Jackson is something she’d never risk, no matter how unbelievably seductive the reward. Becoming an NFL sportscaster has always been the goal, and thanks to Jackson’s fierce support and mentoring, it all finally seems within reach. Problem is, a girl can only take so much of that sexy-as-sin voice whispering dirty, filthy football stats in her ear before she loses all self-control. A workplace romance with Jackson is a disaster waiting to happen, especially for someone with big dreams . . . and secrets of her own.
Violet Duke has been on my watch list for awhile and mostly because of the title of the first book in her Cactus Creek Series, I mean how could my interest not be peaked by the title Love, Chocolate and Beer?? But I just never got around to reading it, the sad reality when one has a never ending and always growing TBR pile, so when I saw that she was starting up a new series I didn’t hesitate to request it, especially since football was going to be involved in some way, and I’m happy I did. While there were a few “Huh?” moments, I found Jackson’s Trust to be a fun, sweet, flirty and sexy read with great characters I want to know more about.
Jackson pretty much owned me as soon as he used ‘asshat’ to describe himself. There were extenuating circumstances as to why he used that term, but that’s when I knew I’d come to adore him. He’s that guy that you want to hate, but can’t because he is that smart, waaaayyy too good looking guy who is just inherently nice. When he does something nice for someone he doesn’t expect anything in return. The one issue/quirk he has is that he doesn’t do relationships. Sex is fine, but nothing further. The reason behind it, when it finally comes out, is a bit over the top but it also makes sense and again it comes back around to the whole ‘wanting to hate him, but can’t’ because he is that good of a guy.
Leila I also liked from the start. She’s smart, savvy and observant. She is the black sheep of her family (and thank God for that) but is happy with that because she is being true to herself. She also understands that while she knows way more about football, the game and everything else surrounding it, she also knows that being a woman wanting to break into sports casting she has to walk a fine line where she doesn’t come off as a ditz, but also not push so hard to convince everyone she is just as knowledgeable as they are, if not more. She doesn’t necessarily like playing the game, but does it and when the time is right shows everyone just what she is made of.
I enjoyed how their relationship evolved. It starts out with them both being physically attracted to each other, but grows as they learn that they speak the language of football (Note: There is a lot of football talk and not just about the game so be prepared). That connection draws them together and respect and admiration grows out of. I loved how they picked up on the little things about each other that not many others would notice and how honest they were about the attraction they felt towards each other and yet knew they couldn’t act upon it and had to set boundaries at least in the beginning. I loved their bantering and how at ease they were with each other. Unfortunately, bumps in the road happened and towards the end of the book I did find myself wanting to shake some sense into both of them, but thankfully things worked out and my frustration with them went away.
Now for the ‘Huh?” issue. I love plot twists, I really do, but the big one that happens in this book (there are a few twists, but this is the big, BIG one) just came out of nowhere for me. There is a small hint that maybe something more is going with this particular situation, but it’s something said in passing and not brought up again. Did it hurt the story? For me, not really because I was already invested in Jackson and Leila as a couple and in them getting their HEA. And the situation does get explained, it’s a bit OTT but still plausible so that in the end it makes sense as to why it happened, but I would have liked more build up to it to make things flow a little better.
Outside of that issue, I found the writing engaging and well paced and I loved the secondary characters. Bennett and Donovan cracked me up at some of the shenanigans they pulled, but also had me wanting to hug them for being such good friends not only to Jackson, but Leila, so I’m really looking forward to their books. And, I’m hoping that Mike gets his own book too because he was really cool.
The Bottom Line: This was a fun, sweet and quick read and great start to a new series!
~ ARC provided by Random House Publishing Group - Loveswept via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ~
New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Violet Duke is a former professor of English Education who is ecstatic to now be on the other side of the page writing wickedly fun contemporary romance novels. When she's not arguing with her story characters or feeding her book-a-day reading addiction, she enjoys tackling reno projects with her power tools while trying pretty much anything without reading the directions first and cooking 'special edition' dishes that laugh in the face of recipes. Violet lives in Hawai'i with her two cute kids and similarly adorable husband.