I have something of a soft spot for the nerd/underdog getting the popular kid trope and when you add the whole friends to lovers/second chance trope into the mix then I really can’t resist jumping in and that’s what happened here with Stadium of Lights and I really enjoyed it, even when there were moments of me wanting to reach through my Kindle and smack some sense into Abby and Max. It was a fun, sexy and sweet read that hooked me from the start and kept me turning the pages to find out what would happen next.
Growing up Abby was the nerdy girl that no one paid any attention to, though her best friend was one of the most popular kids in school. But now she’s shed most of that girl no one wanted and has become a confident and accomplished physical therapist with a sassy, take no crap attitude tempered with a gentle and compassionate bedside manner that put everyone at ease. I loved Abby from the very beginning because of how she handled seeing Max for the first time in a decade. That had me cracking up. What I found interesting was how she was confident one second then then could let her insecurities take over the next. She never let them rule her for long, but I liked seeing that vulnerable side of her and how she’d work through it.
Max is that guy. The BMOC, Big Man on Campus and beyond. He’s got the looks, the talent and that bad ass I know I’m good attitude that draws you to him even as it repels. He has no qualms about accepting the perks that come with his celebrity and though his arrogance is almost so tangible you believe you can touch it, the heart that beats beneath it has a way of keeping him in check and from crossing too many lines. Funny thing about Max is that despite his ego, I really liked him. There was an honesty in how he saw the world around him that made it difficult to hate him. And as the book progressed and we got to see underneath the BMOC outer layer to his heart, I could see that he really was a good guy. Did I want to smack him for being an a$*hat at times? Sure, but I couldn’t hate him for the things, some of them stupid, that he did.
Abby and Max’s relationship was one of those ones where they both pushed the other away with one hand while pulling closer with the other. I’m not always a fan of that kind of drama, but it didn’t bother me here because: 1) I liked them both and 2) I could understand where they were both coming from. Max wants to keep things “simple”, meaning no commitment, and he can’t get past thinking of Abby as the geeky girl. Abby sees Max for who he is and always has, her battle is that while her head understands all too well Max’s need to not commit, her heart wants more. So the battle between them has them reverting to immature teenager status, but when they weren’’t at odds they were really fun to be around. The ease in how they banter and treat each other when their walls are down is what had me rooting for them and wanting them to have their HEA. But as with any type of romance we all wait for that boot to drop, and the drop here was intense. I’m still not all too sure how I feel about it because I have a hard time believing that two normally sensible and responsible people could let things get that crazy, but when emotions are high people do extremely stupid things, so I’m rolling with it.
The writing was engaging and I was hooked from the first page and finished in no time flat. The pacing was good and the dual 1st person POV was well done. I liked the supporting cast and found their takes on their relationships, and what they’d put up with, interesting. It was probably the most realistic views I’ve read in a long time. My one issue is that I felt the ending, after the boot dropping situation,was a bit rushed. I liked it and have no issue with the epilogue, but I would have liked to see Abby and Max actually address that “boot” a little more. But, all in all, this was an enjoyable read by a new author, not only to me, but to the publishing world since this will be the second book she has published, and am looking forward to seeing what else she has for us in the future.
~ ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review ~
He can’t help claiming her. But can he love her?
Max Anderson enjoys all the perks of being a star NFL quarterback―including the women. He has no intention of changing his carefree, hard-loving lifestyle … until a twist of fate reunites him with the girl he knew growing up.
Abby Morrison has worked hard to become a physical therapist. She knows she needs to keep things professional with Max―but the truth is, she’s always loved him. Back then, she hid it. Now, it’s not so easy.
As they rekindle their friendship, the heat between them is impossible to ignore. Soon it flares out of control, and the fallout threatens to ruin everything. Can they salvage a future together ... or will the consequences wreck their lives?
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Sports
Published By: Salted Pen Productions
Release Date: September 19th, 2016
Tia Lewis is a romance author from the Midwest who writes about smart, sexy, sassy women and hot, possessive alpha males. Her favorite bad boys to write about include sports players, mafia, bikers, billionaires and the bad-ass next door. You can find her cooking, reading, or traveling when she’s not busy working on her next release.