Stacey is Sassy received a complimentary copy of this story. The copy provided was not the final version and may be subject to edits and changes
Published by Pear Tree LLC on December 1, 2016
Genres: Sports Romance
He’s the guy no one likes…
Despite winning two national championships, JR “Ace” Anderson was sent packing from his old school after losing the trust of his coach. At Southern U, he has a second chance to prove that his college legacy isn’t endless debauchery and selfishness. But his reputation precedes him, and his teammates offer a chilly welcome in the locker room. The one person who is willing to accept him is the very woman he should stay away from—his new coach’s daughter.
She’s the girl everyone loves…
Bryant Johnson’s only goal in life is to make others happy, even at her own expense. One look at her father’s new star quarterback, and she knows that Ace is her next project. With a reputation for being a “jerk whisperer”, Bryant has spent her last three years at college reforming sorry behavior and turning bad boys into the best boyfriends ever. In Ace, though, she’s met with surly resistance and a sizzling attraction she doesn’t expect. Fixing this wounded warrior will be her biggest challenge yet. Not falling for him will be even harder.
Between her big heart and his damaged one, a battle is ensuing. In this game of love, every defense will crumble.
Downed (Gridiron #3)
by Jen Frederick
When love is more powerful than fear.
What I learned (but pretty sure I knew already) from Downed is that one man does not make a team. My Gridiron marathon has been lots of fun and a wee bit of a learning experience. In Downed it was all about coming together as a team, supporting your teammates and knowing if the coach doesn’t have the team’s respect, they won’t succeed. The first two books Sacked and Jockblocked, had the same coach ruled the roost. Sacked, he was tolerable, but in Jockblocked he lost my respect and I hated him in the end. I also learned a wee bit about Southern hospitality, sarcasm with a smile and putting on a face, means everything. To be honest, it was a little unreal.
So, I started Downed a little weary. I was not a fan of Ace and the way he acted towards his best friend and teammates in Jockblocked. He was going to have to change his attitude quite a bit for me to turn my feelings around. As the story went on, I learned more about Ace and what made him tick. He doesn’t change completely but by the end, Ace realises that his previous actions and attitude were disrespectful and hurtful.
Ace has left the Warriors to become a Renegade. He managed to stay in his favoured position of Quarterback and looks like the coach is a man he can respect. The settling in with his new team has not been easy. These guys (his teammates) are keeping him on the outer. He acts like he doesn’t care, but deep down Ace feels the rejection. Luckily, when they’re on the field they do follow his lead so he can’t complain too much. One day a curvy little beauty decides he needs a little help…fixing up…adjustment. See, Ace is a wee bit of an a$$hole who curses and says inappropriate things…the perfect new project for Bryant.
Bryant is a true Southern Belle. She’s been brought up to be polite and to face any problem with a smile. Bryant’s father is the coach of the Renegade’s. For awhile now she has helped out with the team as the sweet talker. Bryant uses her skills to make the boosters (not sure what they are, but I get the impression they’re schmoozy like salesmen) and the sponsors comfortable. Most of them show her the respect she deserves but if they don’t she has plenty of friends on the football team to help her out.
Coach Johnson and his family have had heartbreak when Ginny, Bryant’s sister passed. Coach, was able to get back on the horse so to speak, but Bryant’s mother is still grieving. Bryant, in her own way, is trying to move on. She visits Ginny’s gravesite for chats and has taken on “projects” to teach men to respect women. It’s Bryant’s way of dealing with Ginny’s death. The new Quarterback is her pet project but there is one small problem…she’s starting to have feelings for him.
Bryant and Ace are a bit of an odd couple. Neither of them starts off wanting a relationship. Ace wants to concentrate on his football and doesn’t think he’s capable of a relationship. Bryant is willing to “date” these guys but isn’t willing to let her heart get involved. As the story develops they get closer and realise that they are good together and balance each other out.
I’ll be honest, the Southern Charm in this book made me a little uncomfortable. I’m not used to people saying one thing and meaning another. I struggled with people who smile to your face as they lecture you for your heathen ways. The strict rules that needed to be adhered to for appearance sake while anything goes in the background seemed wrong. It all seemed a touch fake.
I think, in some ways, this was what made Ace perfect for Bryant and Bryant perfect for Ace. Her southern charm and his what you see is what you get, managed to keep them both on an even keel. Bryant is the “hostess with the mostess” and Ace makes sure she’s not taken advantage of.
Ace really grew on me. His maturity, while slow to appear, was very evident and completely believable. It wasn’t like he had an epiphany and automatically knew how to act like a gentleman and be the perfect boyfriend. To be honest, he still has a bit of work ahead of him if he wants to become a gentleman. A few rough edges are not something to be worried about and if anything, make him more appealing. Ace also manages to become a leader on and off the field which shows his maturity. I loved that we get to see Ace apologise to Lucy and her forgive him. Though, I’m not sure Matty and Ace will ever be buddies.
Bryant also manages to grow a little as well. I would have liked to see her say NO a few more times in the future and not be taken advantage of by her “sisters”(sorority). I’m hoping her projects have finished too.
I really enjoyed Downed and this Gridiron marathon session. I’ve learnt a little about the game and I’ve learned a lot about being a team. All of the characters have been interesting and the college life explained in a way that was easy to picture.
I’ll have to call it and say that Sacked is still my favourite but only by a little. I can’t wait for more in the Gridiron series and hopefully, I’ll understand the game even more.