Series: Hard to Love #1
on January 19th, 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Cam DeSantis’ life is a hot, steaming pile. How else would you describe losing your husband, your job, and your money all at once? Desperate times call for desperate measures, so when salvation comes in the form of one intolerable a-hole, who just happens to be the starting quarterback for the vaunted NY Titans, she has no choice but to accept his offer as a live-in nanny slash teacher for his eight year old nephew. Now all she has to do is find a safe place in her mind to hide whenever she feels the need to throat punch him into tomorrow…which is often.
Calvin Shaw has zero interest in women. Wait, wait––let me rephrase that. He loves women, he just doesn’t want anything to do with ‘um. Not since his wife, presently ex-wife, got knocked up by the guy she was cheating on him with. Problem is––there’s one living in his house. And he doesn’t know what’s worse, that he promised to be civil, or that he’s attracted to her.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Hmm. This is a hard one. I love fake relationship tropes. I live for it! Same goes for the brooding hero and sassy heroine combination. Add in slow burn and a little sports element, and it’s pretty much a perfect book for me.
Here we have Camilla “Cam” DeSantis, a recently widowed woman who’s trying to restart her life after her husband leaves her with his mess. Apparently, the love of her life was involved in a million-dollar Ponzi scheme. The scandal leaves her image in tatters and their possessions repossessed, leaving her desperate for a job. After searching long and far, her job agency finds an opening for her–– a stay-in homeschool teacher for someone’s nephew. When she goes to the mysterious employer’s house and is interviewed by the man’s manager, she then finds out the employer is none other than Calvin “Cal” Shaw, the starting quarterback of the NY Titans.
She is introduced to Sam, the nephew she’ll teach if she gets accepted for the position, and just as she thought things are going well, she overhears her potential employer say something demeaning about her. The past three years have left her with almost nothing but her pride––even that’s been almost taken from her––and she’s done letting people stomp all over her. So she looks them in the eye and walks out.
A few days later, the same man who called her a cow visits her part-time stint at One Maple Street, the bar where Amber also works. He apologizes for what he said and tells her to work for him; she says no. This goes on for a few more days where Cal continues to go to the bar to convince her. In the end, Cam finally agrees. Somewhere along the way, a fake relationship scheme is proposed to keep the women away from Cal.
Having read The Wall of Winnipeg and Me more times than I’m proud to admit, I basically know the story and its nuances by heart. So when I read Wrecking Ball, I was a little disconcerted with how similar these two books were for my taste. And before you say it’s not unusual for sports romances and contemporary romance novels in general to have similar storylines, it felt like even the little details were similar. I’ll give you a few examples.
The biggest similarity, aside from the storyline and pacing, are the MCs. Cal is the brooding star football player with a troubled past who was rude and dismissive to Cam in the beginning. Like Aiden, before Cam lived with him and his nephew, Cal has a plant-based diet and gets his meals prepared and delivered to his house. He’s hard to work with, prefers to keep to his own, and values his privacy. And he has a past that affected his lifestyle in the present. He doesn’t sleep around, too.
Cam is independent and doesn’t stand for Cal’s sh*t. She cooks, runs, and knows a lot about sports; football especially. She also has Amber, her best friend who’s a lot like Diana, Van’s best friend. They have a fierce friendship dating back to when they were kids, and Amber is very protective of her.
Their first meeting was similar to when Vanessa quit her job as Aiden’s assistant. In this case, it wasn’t the manager who talks sh*t about her; it’s Cal himself. While Vanessa calls Aiden “Big Guy” as an endearment/tease, Cam calls Cal “Champ”. When Cal apologized to Cam for how he treated her the first time they met, he excuses it with the fact that he’s stressed about his contract expiring soon. If you’ve read Winnie, you know it’s the main reason Aiden asked Vanessa to marry him; and that’s because he’s Canadian and he might lose his visa.
There was also a scene close to my heart that had a very similar one in this book.
I’d add more examples, but I don’t want to spoil anyone reading my review who still wants to read Wrecking Ball more than I already have. The book has an entertaining voice, and I’ll probably read more of the author’s works. I’m definitely interested in reading Amber’s story.
It has a few subplots that are different, and I enjoyed those, so there’s that. It’s the reason why I didn’t give this one star. Still, it kind of bothered me that Sam, who was an integral part of the story, was easily set aside to give way to Cal and Cam’s romance.
I might have enjoyed Wrecking Ball if I’ve never heard of The Wall of Winnipeg and Me, but well, that’s not the case. So, yeah.