Landing the PR contract for North Carolina’s new soccer team could take Holly Taylor’s career to the next level. Her task? Make Kepler “Killer” de Klerk, an athlete with a party-hard reputation, a star. But revamping the sexy footballer’s image while battling her unwanted attraction to him is easier said than done.
The car accident that derailed Kepler’s European career also gave him some much-needed perspective. He’s ready to give up on fame and focus on the game he loves. The last thing he needs is a headstrong brunette pushing him back into the spotlight, even if butting heads with her is the most fun he’s had in ages.
The more time Holly spends with Kepler, the more she sees how different he is from his tabloid persona. But when she’s offered her dream job for a price, she finds herself torn between the career she’s spent years building and the man she doesn’t want to give up.
*Blurb from Goodreads*
Holly loves her job as a PR rep, and when she lands the contract to work with a big-time European soccer star, she has to help him to rebrand his image. Kepler is known in the tabloids as being a partier, a ladies man, and a killer on the field. But a car accident ended his European career and lands him in a struggling US team. Holly knows she can help Kepler, but was shocked at the sexual tension between them.
Kepler is looking for a home. A place to settle down, have some kids, and live out the rest of his soccer career for a team that can get behind him. North Carolina isn’t what he is used to, but he is enjoying it nonetheless. And Holly is definitely not what he expected. The chemistry between them is off the charts, but Holly is keeping her distance, and Kepler can’t do anything about it. Until Holly changes the rules of the game. Then, Kepler is ready to play the game of his life.
I don’t recall ever reading a soccer book, and although I know next to nothing about the game, I was intrigued anyway. While I liked the soccer aspects and Kepler, I had a hard time connecting with Holly, and thus believing in their romance.
I thought Kepler was a really well thought out and executed character. He came from a hard life, and made something of himself from nothing. The dedication and hard work that he put into his career was awesome, despite the fact that the press painted him as nothing more than a playboy. The fallout of losing his career was devastating, and I could feel his pain. I thought Crowley did an incredible job portraying him as a wonderful and tortured and fantastic hero.
For me, I really struggled with Holly. I could understand her desire to keep her work and her pull to Kepler separate. However, I just didn’t really get why she waffled so much with it. She would flirt and kiss and even lead Kepler on, and then pull back and claim they couldn’t move forward because of work. I got where she was coming from, but I really struggled with an emotional connection to her character because of the way she kept taking one step forward and two steps back.
Because of my disconnect with Holly’s character, I had a hard time connecting with the romance as well. Again, it seemed as if their relationship would move forward – flirting, kissing, and more. Then Holly’s brain would interfere and their relationship would slip back into a negative place. I struggled with why Kepler kept letting Holly come back and lead him around, and was glad that he was the one to finally put a stop to it. I just wish that Holly would have been forced to make some kind of grand gesture (like we always expect our heroes to do) when she was trying to win him back.
All in all I thought this was a decent debut from Crowley. I loved Kepler’s character, and thought she did a fabulous job creating a hero I could love and support. For me, Holly and their romance fell short though, and made the story a little difficult for me to really sink my teeth into.
I give The Striker’s Chance a C+