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THERE ARE NO DOUCHEBAGS IN THIS STORY.
Well, there are, but they’re not who this story is about.
This story is about me—the coach’s daughter.
When I moved to Iowa to live with my dad, the university's take-no-prisoners wrestling coach, I thought transferring would be easy as pie—living with my father would be temporary, and he'd make sure his douchebag wrestlers left me alone.
Wrong on both counts.
ASSHOLES ALWAYS COME OUT OF THE WOODWORK WHEN THE STAKES ARE HIGH.
A bet is placed, and I'm on the table. After one humiliating night and too much alcohol, I find the last nice guy on campus. And when he offers to rent me his spare bedroom, I go all in. It’s time for the nice guy to finish first.
Midnight chats and spilling my problems turn to lingering touches. Lingering touches turn to more.
And the ultimate good guy has the potential do more damage than any douchebags ever could.
This book may be unsuitable for people under 18 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
I'm so sad. How to Date a Douchebag is over. It was so fun to read this series, get to know protagonists I had no idea I'd adore, and a sport I never knew I'd enjoy reading about. This whole series was a pleasant surprise, and it's a bittersweet feeling to let it go.
While there are no douchebags in the final installment—well, there are, but they're not the focal point—The Coaching Hours gave as much as the other books and was a great end to the series. This sweet friends-to-lovers romance had everything I want in a New Adult romance—realistic characters still trying to figure out how to adult, learning from mistakes, and becoming better people because of it, great pace and banter, and chemistry that will leave me swooning and giggling.
As the wrestling coach's only daughter, transfer student Anabelle Donnelly is officially off-limits to the team. But Coach Donnelly's threat to stay away from his daughter or risk consequences only serves to challenge two incredibly stupid and careless members. This ends up with Anabelle in tears, taking refuge in the library spot she's claimed since moving.
Some girl, pretty as she is, took Elliot St. Charles's spot at the library, and now he's stuck settling for an inferior spot. When he discovers the same girl crying, he can't help but go to her and ask what's wrong. And that's how Elliot and Anabelle become more than passing acquaintances. And when Anabelle finds out Elliot has a spare room, they might just become roommates, too.
According to Elliot's friends, girls and boys can't stay just friends, especially if they're both relatively attractive and are going to live under one roof. Elliot wants to prove them wrong, but resisting his gorgeous roommate who's becoming one of his best friends is harder than he thinks.
We finally have Elliot's book! If he seems familiar, it's because he's the roommate of Oz and Zeke, the first two heroes of the franchise. Since reading those book, I got to know Elliot as the non-douchebag, non-jock friend; reliable, studious, and good. So it wasn't a surprise that I'd like him, and that Anabelle would like him instantly. He has laser-sharp focus on his goal to get into a good grad school, but still knows how to have fun and meet up with friends.
Anabelle is great, if not a little too nice and trusting at one point. She works hard, is genuinely sweet and caring, and can give as good as they get. I think she has a great character growth in this book once the story comes to the plot twist. She handled it well, but it was still an accurate depiction of how one would feel and act if they go through what she does. It highlighted her strength as a person.
Sara Ney's witty writing style is here, along with the tension and fantastic steamy scenes that never fail to make me blush. The Coaching Hours had two endearing and likable characters with great rapport and heartwarming friendship between them, all with the sexual tension brewing slowly but steadily to a boiling point. The progression of Elliot and Anabelle's relationship was wonderful. Just the right amount of slow burn for their story.
And I just have to say this since I know you know how much I hated one of the secondary characters in the series, but he kind of grew on me when he became less of a douchebag, and there was a moment he was redeemed. I can't believe I'm saying this now, but I'm kind of interested to read about him.
If you're looking for a fun college sports romance with characters you'll love to hate, then give How to Date a Douchebag a try. And if you're looking for a swoony friends-to-lovers/roomies romance, you'll definitely love The Coaching Hours.
Tropes: Friends to Lovers, College, Roommates, Sports Romance—Soccer, Wrestling
POV: First Person, Dual POV
She perks up. “Wait, you’ve never had a back massage?”
“Well, what the hell? How can I, in good conscience, lie here letting you rub my back when you’ve never had anyone rub yours?” She scoots over, pointing to the mattress. “Lie on your stomach, I’ll do you first.”
I wave my hands in front of me in protest. The last thing I need is her warm hands roaming my body. “No, no, you don’t have to. It’s not a big deal.”
“Are you crazy? Back massages are the best—like, better than an orgasm. You’re first, so lie down.”
“And you call me the bossy one?”
“Quit stalling and get on the bed.”
Obediently, I climb to the middle of my bed in nothing but a pair of gym shorts, legs hanging off the side. Next to me, the mattress dips, Anabelle on her knees, approaching my side.
A finger glides down my spine. “It will be easier for me to do this if I’m sitting on you. Hope that’s okay.”
“Is that the approved method?”
“No, but my arms will get tired if I have to lean over you the whole time.”
“Do whatever then, I don’t care.”
I stiffen when Anabelle swings one leg over my body, straddling my ass. Warm palms at my lower back.
“You’re so tense. Try to relax,” she coos, making it worse. “Tilt your head to the side, that’s it.”
I hear the lotion bottle snap open. Click closed. My roommate’s palms rubbing together, warming it up. “Sorry, I don’t have any actual massage oil. This will have to do.”
When her hands make contact with my back, I almost groan it feels so fucking good. Warm. Smooth. Pressure in all the right places, pushing gently into my muscles.
Slower still, caressing along my shoulders, thumbs and fingers working together to soothe the burning on my right side.
“Doesn’t this feel great?” Her soft voice cuts into the silence. “You’re loosening up. That’s good.”
I feel her leaning as her hands move up and down my spine until they stop, hovering at the base of my neck. Thumbs stroking the skin below my hairline, back and forth.
Her torso dips, hands maneuvering my arms, placing them at my sides. Palms slide up and down my biceps.
For several minutes, she rubs my arms and shoulders. Then she skims down my ribcage unhurriedly, in no rush, making little humming sounds inside her throat.
I know I’m not imagining the feather-light way her hands drift down my spine. I remain still, letting her touch me, basking in it.
Remain still when her lips kiss the tender spot of my shoulder where it meets my neck, nose nuzzling behind my ear, her breasts rubbing against my back and what the fuck was that all about? What does she think she’s doing, trying to drive me insane?