Series: Red Zone Rivals #4
Release Date: February 15th, 2023
Add to Goodreads | Amazon.in (Available on KU)
CW: fat shaming, bullying, sexual harassment in the workplace
North Boston University’s star running back, notorious bachelor, and number one on my people I would murder if I could get away with it list.
He’s my new roommate.
I used to think I loved him.
But that was before I hated him.
He doesn’t remember who I am, or how he made my life miserable for years. And before I unknowingly moved across the street from him, I couldn’t have cared less. I was living my life despite him and what happened that summer, chasing my dream of becoming a tattoo artist.
“The Pit,” as the university so gracefully nicknamed the house he lives in with three other football players, has served as nothing more than a pain in my ass and a constant reminder of the boy who broke my heart. Watching him parade his one-night-stands in and out of it never helped, either.
But with rent this cheap and so close to the tattoo shop, I’ve learned to ignore him — no matter how he’s tried to get under my skin.
At least, until this summer. Because when a water and mold disaster leaves me with no choice but to vacate my house, I have nowhere to go. And Leo Hernandez offers me a deal I can’t refuse.
Live at The Pit with him and the guys, free of charge, until my landlord fixes this mess.
Ignoring him was easy when I lived across the street, but in the same house, with him shirtless half the time and watching me with his cocky grin and searing gaze? It’s impossible.
Still, I have to try. I have to push him away, even when he makes it infuriatingly difficult to do so.
He’s broken my heart once.
I won’t let him do it again.
What kind of magic does Kandi Steiner possess to write such addictive and obsessive stories? This entire series has been so good and I’ve loved all four books equally. I’m so sad that it’s over, because I want more! Mary and Leo’s relationship was also so well crafted and I was hooked right from the minute we see how they met and all of the tension that built through the previous book and into this one. In my opinion, Leo is the softest of all four Red Zone Rivals heroes, but he’s still such an incredible hero and his softness is what makes him so interesting.
In Hail Mary, you’ll find:
✨ enemies to lovers
✨ second chance
✨ college football romance
✨ forced proximity
✨ neighbours to roommates to lovers
✨ slow burn
✨ found families and great friends
I love books that have an element of the characters connecting online without knowing who the other person is and Kandi handled that so beautifully between Mary and Leo. I also liked that it wasn’t just a standard chat program, but they bonded and connected over video games. We don’t see enough of that in romance and definitely not in such a positive light. And because it’s a Kandi Steiner book, you hit the ground running with the angst, so brace for all of the emotions and feelings being thrown at you all at once. I wanted to wrap my arms around Mary and protect her, because I’ve been where she was and she deserved better than what she got from high school boys!
I have all kinds of issues with enemies to lovers because I can never truly justify the enemies part of the trope, but with this one, you really get to feel that dislike and almost borderline hate from Mary’s end anyway. Sure, there’s all this conflicting lust and feelings that happen at the same time, but Mary’s negative feelings towards Leo were justified and it all made sense to me for her to want to hit him over the head with a chair. I liked how she fought him at every turn and how Leo kept fighting back. I like a hero who fights for what he wants, but also knows when to take a step back when asked. In short, Mary and Leo’s relationship is an uphill climb and they fight for what they both every step of the way. Which only makes the whole thing that much more powerful and beautiful when they get to the end!
This book, like the rest of the series is filled with football and parties and attractive people doing all of the things. It’s also got great friendships and the building of new relationships. Riley, Gianna, Julep and Mary have the most amazing connection and I loved how deeply they love each other. I loved seeing all of the characters from the previous three books, especially seeing how some of them are moving forward with their lives. That epilogue will live rent free in my mind forever because it was so beautiful and perfect and just all kinds of fantastic.
Thanks to Valentine PR for generously providing me with an advance copy. I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.