Code of Conduct by Cheyenne Blue

I am a total sports junkie, love it! So, when I get a chance to read sports based novel I almost always jump at the opportunity. I will not lie, the cover of this book grabbed my eye and totally sold me on this one. I have never formally played tennis but I am fascinated by the game. Code of Conduct by Cheyenne Blue is a book that puts tennis front and center. It’s not used just as a backdrop that has no bearing on a romance-first story; professional tennis makes the two main characters who they are and drives the plot.

Viva Jones is a professional tennis player who has had an amazing career, a career she does not want to end. Unfortunately, years of being an elite athlete have taken its toll and her body is failing her. Viva’s body is screaming for a break, her head tells her it’s time to retire but her heart doesn’t know how to walk away from the sport that she loves and is truly her life’s passion.

Gabriela Mendaro is a silver badge tennis umpire. She is just one rung away for the very coveted top position as a gold badge. Very few women reach this pinnacle and Gabriela has her sight on becoming one. A chance meeting with Viva cannot derail her career. There is a slew of ethical issues with an umpire and a player being friends, not to mention anything more. Unfortunately for Gabriela, her draw to Viva is hard to deny no matter the repercussions.
This slow burn romance is one that keeps you on your toes. The two protagonists have a nice chemistry and the whole we shouldn’t be together, just adds more spark to the fire. Overall the story is well balanced. I tend to think some sports-focused romance books tend to be too heavy-handed in the athletic aspect of the book often overshadowing character development and/or the romantic connection between the leading ladies. This is absolutely not the case with this book. Blue writes a great story, one where you are rooting for a happy ever after.

4 out of 5 stars

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Sparks Like Ours by Melissa Brayden

I want to start this review by saying how glad I am that this is not a trilogy. There is one more and oh how I cannot wait for Hadley. Don’t get me wrong Hadley’s story is going to be outstanding but aren’t all of Brayden’s stories. Let me tell you Gia Malone and Elle Britton bring the heat. Hell yes they do, the heat they bring is hot, smoking hot.

Gia and Elle are fierce competitors. Elle is the currently the number one female professional surfer. She has adoring fans and is the face of women’s surfing. Gia is number two and is doing everything in her power to get her points total to top Elle’s. They don’t hate each other but there is some definite tension. Ooooh, don’t you just love the tension and the whole got off on the wrong foot/rivals scenario, Lord knows I do! Two elite athletes that are both fierce competitors, you know right off the bat that Brayden is going to give you some fabulous angst mixed in with amazing dialogue, light-hearted fun, and characters that steal your heart.

Gia is driven, ambitious and solely focused on being the very best female surfer. She loves surfing for the pureness of it and to fuel her competitive spirit. Catering to sponsors and being friendly with reporters is part of her job but something she is less than comfortable with. Elle gets under Gia’s skin because she not only knows how to play the game, she has reporters, fans, and sponsors eating out of her hand. This peppy people person drives her mad.

What draws you so much to these Gia and Elle is that they act like real people. They are flawed, they make mistakes, they get tipsy on margaritas in a bar and blurt out something that they shouldn’t. Perfection is boring. Brayden makes them come alive right off the page. You love them for their missteps and their triumphs. You love them because she makes them feel real.

We aren’t reinventing the wheel here folks. Brayden has her formula and by golly, I am so glad she does. It works and it’s not good, it’s great. I for one, think my lucky stars that Melissa Brayden writes lady loving books because she is one of the very best and takes it to the next level every single book. She writes the stories that you come back to. Not once, or twice, but time and time again because they give you all of the feels. Isn’t that why we love romance? Those little flutters that pull of your heartstrings, that paragraph that makes you smile, the joy of a first kiss. Her books are the ones you cherish.

An easy 5 stars!

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