Review: “The Revenge Pact” by Ilsa Madden-Mills

Author: Ilsa Madden-Mills

Series: Kings of Football, #1

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐  | Steam: 🔥🔥

Tropes: Sports Romance, Enemies to Friends to Lovers, Second Chance Romance

Trigger/Content Warnings: Mention of cheating

Release Date: December 3rd

Goodreads | (Available on KU)

Synopsis: River Tate is a god on campus.
The king of football.
A tattooed bad boy with gunmetal eyes that see right through you.
The only chink in his armor is HER, the girl he pretends doesn’t exist, the forbidden one with the shy smile and lavender hair.

Anastasia Bailey is a nobody.
The queen of nothing.
An outsider with the face of an angel and a body made for sin.
The only chink in her armor is HIM, her boyfriend’s frat brother, the football player who hates her.

But when Anastasia’s life comes crashing down, River’s the one who sweeps in and picks up the pieces.

Torn between loyalty, lies, and secrets, he battles the temptation to take everything from her when they make their revenge pact.

He can’t tell her no.
Because revenge (or love) is, sweet, and once you get a taste, the craving never ends.

Review: The first in a new series featuring three authors I absolutely adore, The Revenge Pact is another truly spectacularly hot book by Ilsa Madden-Mills. With every book of hers that I pick up, I’m introduced to a world and a host of characters that totally blow my mind. As the name suggests, the series follow three football gods and their ups, downs, lives and relationships in three separate books.

Ilsa Madden-Mills starts us off with River Tate and Anastasia Bailey, two unlikely people falling in love, but at the same time, the likeliest to find comfort in each other. The Revenge Pact has angst, banter, sexy characters and two incredible leads who will leave you wanting more as soon as you’re done. That’s one of my favourite things about Ilsa’s books – she creates characters that are so real and so honest that you feel everything they feel.

“Sometimes it only takes one sunrise to know someone.”

Let me start off by introducing you to River Tate. Football god on campus, president of his fraternity, hot, sexy and charming. What nobody knows about him is that he’s got learning difficulties and his family life is a little complicated. But looking at River, you’d never know any of that, because he keeps it locked away. Compartmentalising is something that River’s good at and he doesn’t care that nobody else sees it. The only person he wants to even let close enough into his life to see all of that is Anastasia Bailey. And his frat brother got to her first.

While River is campus royalty, Ana is the opposite. The only reason people even know who she is is because of her boyfriend, Donovan. Ana’s lavender hair and spunky personality don’t make her memorable to a lot of people. She’s smart, gorgeous, funny and she’s a genuinely good person. Which probably goes against some kind of code or something when it comes to dating frat boys. She’s the kind of person you’d want to be friends with and the kind of person you’d want in your life through the good and the bad.

“You say my name weird.”

“How’s that?”

“You linger over it, like you’re about to take its clothes off and fuck it.”

Ana and River are incredible together. There’s no doubt that they are spectacular characters on their own, but their relationship really steals the show. River’s been (sort of) in love with Ana since forever, but he lost his chance when his friend took the shot and asked her out. He’s held onto this annoyance with himself for a year and sadly, he keeps taking it out on her by not letting her into his life. Ana’s too good a person to just brush River away, so she keeps trying and keeps getting closer and closer. And every encounter they have is filled with so much sexual tension. It’s beautiful. I kept waiting for one of them to crack and take what they wanted, but it was slow and it was incredible. That’s what made all of it real, because they weren’t just rushing into bed together and hoping for the best out of that.

River is a great friend. Sure, his frustrations with Donovan are well placed, but he doesn’t step in the middle of that relationship, he’s got a great rapport with all his brothers and his bromance with Crew and Hollis is truly awesome. I cannot wait to see these two boys and their girls together, because it’s going to be so amazing! And it’s not just with the boys, even though he’s been holding Ana at a distance, when he finally lets her in, their friendship is really what makes you all warm and fuzzy. They bond over books – despite River’s learning difficulties – and Ana accepts him for all that he is, because she understands him.

“She’s the center of a hurricane, a calm that lulls you, then makes your world fucking amazing.”

It is a delicious slow burn, waiting for River and Ana to find their footing together. It’s explosive once they take that big step together. But even then, their sexual chemistry is not just about what happens in bed, it’s their friendship that does the job. River and Ana have spent so much time going back and forth on where they stand with each other, so to see them take that leap, while staying who they are makes it even better.

Brace yourself for some tears, lots of heartstrings being tugged, amazing banter, bonding over books, an epic bromance, swooning continuously and lots of great romance. Ilsa Madden-Mills scores another touchdown with The Revenge Pact. Now, I’m ready for Crew and Hollis.

Thanks to Ilsa Madden-Mills & Social Butterfly PR for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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