Reviews Published Professional Reader Challenge Participant 80% 2016 NetGalley Challenge 50 Book Reviews

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Kickin' It (Red Card #2) by Rachel Van Dyken

My Rating: 5 Stars
Sex Scenes: Yes.
Series: Yes, Red Card #2.
Love breaks the offside rule in New York Times bestselling author Rachel Van Dyken’s irresistibly sexy Red Card romance.

Successful, high-profile sports agent Matt Kingston thinks he can handle anything. Then soccer player Parker Speedman shows up at his door. She is young and gorgeous, has natural talent, and is looking for a team. She’s also a hothead with a punchy past who floored her last coach on live TV. Despite his misgivings, Matt agrees to be both her agent and her coach. Professional common sense says she’s off-limits. But what can he say about the raw attraction between them?

Parker plays soccer with her heart and soul. But after the events of the last year, she’s shaken. She’s already seen what a powerful man can do to a female athlete’s career. And her beloved dream is in the hands of a sexy, gorgeous man with the uncanny ability to slip past her defenses…and into her heart.

Now Matt and Parker are about to learn that when it comes to love, the only way to win is by breaking every rule they know. And by playing nice. Real nice.

As I always say, Rachel, I love you! You are one of my favorite writers! Every book of yours is perfection, there's no denying it! Simply amazing.
I ate this book up! Strong female characters, amazing alpha male guys, what else can we ask for?!

Matt and Parker's relationship was a bit taboo, but we can't even think about that because their chemistry is incredible!

Parker had something terrible happen to her, she was hurt while in a weak position and now she is scared of letting anyone get too close. She won't be taken advantage of again, even if that means putting up an impenetrable wall around her heart.

She is ready to fight for her future; she is strong and talented, nothing can stop her.

But what happens when the unexpected shows up?

Matt is nothing like she thought he would be, she instantly feels closer to him than any other person in her life. He slowly inches closer to her wall, until he is almost all the way inside her heart, Can she trust him?

Matt's life is a great one, he has all the money he could want, an amazing job he loves and awesome yet annoying friends. But lately he realizes something is missing, he is lonely, and this new addition to his household might be just what he needs.

Can they fight her demons and prove to the rest of the world her truth and their love?

Will being together destroy them both, or is there a way to find their HEA?

PS.: Willow and Jagger (L) OMG! I love them! he has no clue what he is in for :)

I found a box of tampons in the hall bathroom.

Next to a can of aerosol spray that had a giant kangaroo on it and something about a twenty-four-hour hold.

For what? Your ponytail?

I broke out in a cold sweat when I spotted another toothbrush near the sink. It was red with sparkles. This bothered me. I had no idea why. It wasn’t like it was the master bathroom. But it was still my f*cking bathroom.

I narrowed my eyes as a hairbrush with exactly three dark hairs stuck in it sat alarmingly close to the toothbrush. She was a monster! A savage! Who put hair that close to something that goes inside your mouth? Just the thought had me shuddering as I turned off the light and closed the door behind me.

“Oomph!” Parker stumbled against me. I caught her by the biceps. And then was completely caught off guard that she actually had them.

Slightly firm in all the right places, yet completely soft.

Her brown eyes had speckles of gold near the center, and I imagined that on any given day they could change color depending on her mood. Her strong jawline made her look like a tomboy, but part of me wondered if it was because of the way she wore her hair. Tight ponytails and not a stitch of makeup. Like attracting someone of the opposite sex was the furthest thing from her mind.

She jerked away from me as though I was the offending party.

When she’d done nothing but insult me since she arrived at my house.

“Your hairbrush is scary close to your toothbrush, just thought you should . . . know.” F*ck me, did I really just warn her about hair? What the hell was wrong with me?

I mentally slapped myself while she narrowed her eyes at me then back at the closed door. “You think you’re going to be able to sleep tonight knowing how close together they are or should you watch me move them farther apart? I don’t want to cause any more gray hair.” Her eyes moved to the side of my head like she was fixated on at least a million gray hairs shining in all their glory telling her that I was thirty going on thirty-one with no girlfriend and an empty future filled with lonely nights and a room full of rescue kittens.

“I don’t have gray hair,” I snapped.

Her eyes fell to the side of my head, and her eyebrows rose.“If you say so.”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

Parker let out a sigh that was cuter than it should have been. It also made her look less harsh, like she had a side that was all soft curves and laughter. “It means everyone gets old, you should embrace the gray.”


“I need to use the bathroom.” She sidestepped me and put her hand on the doorknob. “But thanks for the warning. I’ll be sure to manage my bathroom tools more effectively, especially since I know they’ll be inspected every night before bed.” With a sarcastic wink, she was inside and the door was shut in my face.

I gasped.

Raised my hand to knock again then turned on my heel. “What the hell?”

“You look lost.” Willow laughed as she made her way down the hall in short shorts and a crop top that looked like it belonged to a toddler. Why was she back in the main house? I gave her space so I could still hold onto some of my manhood and dignity in my own home! So far it wasn’t working was it?

“Let me guess, these are your pajamas now?” I pointed at her and shook my head. “Thought we talked about this.”

She sighed and hung her head then put her hands on my shoulders. “Matt, I appreciate the concern, but I’m a grown adult. Nobody is going to see me in these but me, m’kay? Plus, you really aren’t my dad even though we both know you’ve been more of a dad than brother.”

My throat closed up as it always did when we talked about Dad. The usual anger boiled to the surface. I slammed it down and pulled her in for a hug. “I’m your older brother. It’s my job to worry.” Our parents had never truly been involved in our lives and had died when I was in high school and Willow was in junior high. They used money and gifts instead of hugs and words of affirmation. We were like little trophy kids you tell your friends about but don’t manage to take care of. Willow and I only had each other. Sink or swim, we did it together. Always.

“Hah.” She pinched my side and pulled back. “And as your younger sister and only sister, it’s my job to worry about you too. You’re thirty.”

“Why does everyone keep reminding me of my age?” I wondered out loud, suddenly irritated with myself because it made me think of other things I didn’t have yet. Success was easy. But I had nobody to share it with. It never bothered me before. I never thought twice about it.

Maybe it was because Slade had settled down, fallen in love with his other half, and a part of me wanted that sort of passion.

Or maybe I was just feeling sorry for myself because I had two college graduates putting their toothbrushes all over the place!

Yeah, I was going to go with that.

“Because,” she said in a sweet voice as she gripped my hands and squeezed, “you should be settling down and getting married. I mean look at Slade .”

I did a double take. Had I said any of that out loud?

“Man, look at you!” She slugged me again in the shoulder. “You look like I just told you to take up synchronized swimming!”

“Do not,” I argued.

“Your eyes bugged out of your head like you needed an oxygen mask. So yeah, good to know that fear of commitment is still strong in you.”

I scowled. “It’s not that. Trust me, you’re not even close.”

She nodded slowly and then took a seat on the couch, pulling a blanket over her lap. “I see, so when was your last serious relationship?”

I opened my mouth but she held out her hand to stop me.

“With a female who wasn’t your client,” she added with a knowing grin.

I swallowed and then shrugged. “I date some.”

“Define ‘some.’”

“I’ve gone on a few dates.” Lame. How many dates that weren’t business dates, though? Or networking dates? Or meetings?

I tugged at my shirt and licked my lips.

“Yeah, okay, I’m setting you up.”

“The hell you will!” I roared.

“Do you want to die alone?” she countered.

“Seriously? You come into my house, eat my food, beg for me to give you a job, and after one day I’m suddenly dying alone?”

“At least you don’t have cats . . . yet.” She winked.

I just rolled my eyes. “Stay out of my love life, Willow.”

“Or lack thereof!” She cackled as I paced in front of her, then I grabbed a throw pillow and flung it in her general direction as hard as I could.

“I’m happy.” I spread my arms wide. “I party with celebrities and athletes on a daily basis. I get to summer in the Hamptons—”

She made a gagging motion.

I glared. “The right girl will come along. I’m just . . . patient, not because I’m lonely but because I’m happy.”

“You’re patient because you’re . . . happy?” She narrowed her eyes just as Parker walked into the living room and took a seat next to her.

Surrounded by ovaries, wasn’t I?

“He’s happy?” Parker just had to ask in that snarky little voice with her hair—I gulped and did a double take.

Out. Of. The. Ponytail.

My eyes burned as I watched her sigh and then pull her hair around her neck and inspect it for what I could only assume was split ends.

Even that seemed sexy.

She had shots of caramel and red in her auburn hair, how had I not noticed that?

Or the thick, natural waves that fell past her breasts.

Sh*t, now I was noticing her breasts.

Does no one wear a bra anymore?

“No,” Parker said dryly. “Burned those during the parade, right, Willow?”

Must have said that out loud.I grimaced. “And to answer your question”—I addressed her with a sternness that reminded me of my father and made me simultaneously want to strangle myself—“Yes, I’m happy.”

“Are you really happy if you have to convince others that you’re happy?” She tilted her head, dropped her hair against her chest, and crossed her arms.

“Sleep.” I shook my head. “I need to sleep. Try not to stay up too late.”

F*ck. It was out before I could stop it.

Try not to stay up too late?

I hesitated, waiting for a rebuttal.

But both girls just shared a smile.

I glanced one last time at her hair, at her smile, at the easy way she talked with Willow like she didn’t need a wall to protect her.

And then I shook my head as I walked back toward the master bedroom and stared at myself in the mirror.

I was happy.

Wasn’t I?

I had everything a man could want.


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