Review – Foolish Games by Tracy Solheim

foolish gamesPublisher: Berkley
Publish Date: December 3rd
How I got this book: NetGalley

Bridal gown designer, Julianne Marchione knows better than to lose her head at a client’s wedding. But, much to her embarrassment, a mix of migraine medication and a smoking hot football player lead to a steamy one night stand resulting in a surprise pregnancy. Julianne has every intention of leaving her NFL hookup far in the past until her son, Owen, is born with a life-threatening blood disorder that requires a transfusion—and Julianne is not a match.

Will “William the Conqueror” Connelly grew up tough, shouldering the stigma of being a bastard child born on the wrong side of the tracks. He refuses to let any child face the same discrimination. When he finds out about Owen, he’s furious that Julianne kept his son a secret. But when he sees her again at the hospital, he realizes that his feelings for her go far beyond anger.

Will insists that Owen recuperate at his home in North Carolina, and he’s adamant that Julianne become his wife—even if it’s only a temporary marriage in name only. But will their simmering attraction ever lead to a real connection? Or are they just playing foolish games?
*Blurb from Goodreads*

I have a love of all things sports romance. Add in a secret baby and I’m a puddle. When I first read Solheim’s debut novel I was so excited about the opportunity to get pulled into another football family.

Julianne never expected to get knocked up from her one night stand with Will, and when she did, she had zero desire to tell the father. Right up until the only thing that could save her son’s life would be his father’s blood. Seeing Will again is almost more than Julianne can handle, and in order to let father and son bond, Julienne agrees to go with Will to his hometown, then agrees to be his wife – in name only. But the more they get to know each other, and become parents to Owen, Julianne realizes that she actually loves her husband more than she ever thought possible.

Will had a rough upbringing. Finding out he had a son that he knew nothing about was enough to send him into a fit. Spending time with Julianne and his son brings out all his protective instincts, especially where Julianne is concerned, and Will begins falling for her – even more than he already had. But a controversy in the football community might be enough to break not only Will, but also his fragile relationship.

There were a lot of things I liked about this book, and some I didn’t. Some of the secondary characters annoyed me, and I could have done without their interference in the romance. Namely, Julianne’s brother. It seemed as if he never really cared for her as a person, and instead cared more about how her decisions affected his political career. Then his betrayal that caused some huge tension between Julianne and Will was frustrating to read, and I felt just added another layer to the relationship drama that wasn’t necessarily needed. I was annoyed with him and the numerous problems his actions caused, especially since Julianne and Will’s relationship was difficult enough as it was.

I really liked both Will and Julianne, however I felt as if Julianne was a bit of a doormat at times. I get that her guilt about keeping baby Owen a secret caused her to give into Will’s demands, but there were so many times she let herself be steamrolled. I wanted her to stick up for herself a little more, and a little quicker than she actually did. I felt like she never really revealed her true self to Will until the very end, and that was a bit disappointing.

Will had moments when he came across as a total Alphahole. He was nicknamed the Ice-Man for being so cold at times, and his behavior sometimes came across as rude and abrasive instead of just cold. But the moments he had bonding with baby Owen were enough to melt me into a puddle of goo. I adored his devotion to his son, his dedication to providing a life for Owen that he never had as a child. It was sweet and endearing.

All in all I enjoyed the second book in the Out of Bounds series. I thought that the romance between Will and Julianne was wonderful. The sexual tension was off the charts, and the way they rebuilt their trust and friendship was so fun to read. Despite a few annoyances, I adored this secret baby book.
I give Foolish Games a B.

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