Series: San Francisco Strikers #1
Release Date: May 24th, 2022
CW: mentions of infidelity
Best worst decision of my life.
Especially when the player is the sinfully handsome, foul-mouthed Holden Sanders… my new library assistant.
The benched bad boy needed an image makeover, I needed to save my job, and his star status was just what the library ordered to raise awareness for our fundraising campaign. The press can’t get enough of Mr. Growly reading to kids.
It’s win-win and completely platonic.
Until I need a shoulder to cry on after drowning my heartbreak in too many margaritas. I only typed that invitation to his brawny biceps and perfect pectorals for fun–I never meant to hit send. Holden isn’t the kind of guy to care about tears and feelings, least of all mine. He’s made it clear good girls aren’t his type.
But he shows up–with his strapping shoulder, a box of tissues, and a supersized bag of Doritos.
That’s when I realize there’s more to him than meets the eye.
One soulful, smoldering mistake of a kiss has me craving more, and the heat between us quickly builds to a blaze neither of us can control.
But I’m not the only one guarding secrets, and Holden’s might push us to the breaking point.
Even if I’m surrounded by books, I know better than to believe in storybook endings.
And yet, I want to believe… Because I know he’s a keeper.
It’s official, I am now a Stacy Travis fan girl. When we got a hint of the San Francisco Strikers No Match for Her, I honestly didn’t think I’d care about football/soccer, but it’s clear that Stacy Travis can make me like anything. Plus, with characters like Molly and Holden, it’s almost impossible to not like this book. So much so that I read it in a few hours, because I needed to soak it all up as much as possible!
I’m a huge fan of grump x sunshine, so that was enough reason for me to be drawn to this book. And aaaah, Molly and Holden are the perfect definitions of the trope. She was so wholesome and so wonderful. Molly works two jobs—both with libraries—because she needs to make enough money every month to be able to do something that will definitely bring tears to your eyes (but I can’t tell you, because spoiler!). She’s good at her job and she takes her role as a library scientist very seriously, which means that when everything is at risk at the public library, she has to find a way to make it all turn out awesome. Enter Holden. Goalkeeper for the Strikers and grump personified, he’s been benched because of a concussion that has his mind in a fog. And till he’s cleared to play again, Holden’s relegated to taking his niece to the library every week. Where he not only rubs Molly the wrong way, but gets suckered into being part of her storytime in order to raise more awareness and attention for the library.
Both of them have sworn off love and romance—Holden was publicly humiliated by his popstar girlfriend a few years ago and he’s had enough, while Molly’s been broken by the way her parents’ marriage collapsed—so when they meet, it’s just pure lust and desire. But even then, they play it off like it means nothing. Molly’s a whole lot of sunshine for Holden and he’s a sexy grump that draws her in, which only adds to their wonderful banter. And one of my favourite things is that just to irritate her, Holden gets her name wrong the first time they officially meet and he ends up using that as a nickname for her through the course of the book. Every time he called her Mare, I swooned a little and I’m not overly fond of random nicknames, but Holden can call me anything and I’d love it.
When one drunken incident leads to them spending a very platonic night together that turns into them bonding, you know that whatever hopes they had of ignoring each other is pointless now. I loved how Holden’s grumpiness faded the moment he realised that Molly was drunk and not entirely herself. The way he stepped up, the way their relationship evolved, it was all so beautiful. I liked that Molly found comfort and ease with Holden and that he could confide in her even when everyone and everything else seems to not make him feel the same way.
“I was wrong. She’s not the exception. She’s the whole goddamn rule book.”
Their relationship is fantastic. It’s a slow burn, but what really stands out is the way Holden comes undone around Molly. They both really come alive around each other and even though nobody else is there to witness it, I think it was so special to see their relationship fall into place. Basically everything about them made me swoon. I think what really made their relationship special for me was that it was never about the physical side of things. Their relationship was about so much more than just sex and it’s evident in the little things that they do together. Basically, prepare for lots of happy sighs.
I enjoyed seeing Holden’s professional life and how all the choices he makes on the football pitch affect the choices off the pitch. I liked seeing how much a part of his life the sport is and how it’s affected his past relationship, but how much he doesn’t want it to impact this one. Also, I got really excited when Charlie appeared. Because I loved him in No Match for Her and we knew that he’d bought the team and had all these grand plans, so to see that happen from the other side was pretty special.
I am very excited to meet the rest of the Strikers, because this looks like it’s going to be a truly epic series. Then again, Stacy Travis has a way with her storytelling that guarantees every book is going to be unique and absolutely beautiful!
Thanks to Social Butterfly PR for generously providing me with an advance copy. I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.