Review: Running Back by Allison Parr

Publisher: Carina Press
How did you get the book: e-ARC from publisher
Release date: Out now

Natalie Sullivan is on the verge of a breakthrough most archaeology grad students only dream of: discovering a lost city. Her research points to a farm in Ireland, but to excavate she needs permission from the new owner: the Michael O’Connor, popular NFL running back.

runningbackOn TV Mike seems so charming and good-natured that Natalie figures getting his cooperation will be a breeze. So she’s not prepared to deal with the arrogant—and adamantly opposed—man she meets in person. Or the way one look from him sends shivers down her spine…

Determined to kick-start her career, Natalie travels across the Atlantic and finds herself sharing an inn with Mike, who has come to Ireland in search of his roots. She tells herself her interest is strictly professional, but the more she gets to know him, the harder it is to deny her personal attraction to the sexy sports star. And when Mike confides why he refuses to allow the dig, Natalie must decide if she can follow her heart without losing sight of her dreams.

*blurb taken from Goodreads*

I’m a huge fan of the New York Leopard series. Somehow Running Back got pushed back in my review pile until I realised the third book in the series had been released, which I lurved by the way. Abe’s book is probably my favourite out of the series so far, which MinnChica reviewed here.

Running Back was another good installment. I loved the characters, Natalie and Mike, who had fun personalities and gelled together so well. One of the talents of Allison Parr’s is creating engaging characters who are relatable and down-to-earth. Natalie is an archeologist but she’s always struggled with acceptance because of her famous model mother, and her father who has never been really involved in her life. Her parents have an unhappy marriage and this has made Natalie wary of true love and long-term relationships. When she meets Mike and gets to know him as a friend and then romantically, she has to make a choice in considering his feelings about this dig or going after her dream of finding a lost city.

I liked Natalie’s personality; easygoing and very affable towards others. Her romance with Mike was full of laughter and happy sexy times in Ireland. I loved the dynamics Natalie had with Mike’s mother and sisters. They acted like a family united, though there were some tensions with Mike and his sisters over his absence. Mike could be bossy at times and he could be stubborn, but when he relaxed he was a great guy who was protective over his family, especially the reasonings in why he was so adamant there would be no excavation in the village where his deceased father grew up.

Sadly there’s gonna be a BUT in this review. While I enjoyed the characters, I had issues with conflict. There’s not a lot of conflict in the middle part of her book. The pace is a little slow, and it’s more about learning about why there’s tension between Kate, Mike’s mother, and his aunt Maggie. There’s also a trip to Paris where Natalie learns about her mum’s past and realises she may have been too harsh. The main conflict and separation between Mike was Natalie basically not telling Mike she loved him. All because of her parents. Which I thought was kinda crazy. She admits to herself that she loves him but tells him not all relationship lasts. I thought that reasoning was very weak and a little forced. It didn’t feel natural. Then the ending is wrapped up very quickly and it’s all so amicable. Not that amicable is bad but I wanted something a little more exciting.

Mike and Natalie’s romance was sexy but it just seemed a little too easy, and there wasn’t enough tension. But I still love the series like chocolate fudge cake with whipped double cream.

I give Running Back a B-

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