☆✮ My Review ✮☆
☆ I received an ARC via Give Me Books in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ☆
*Woot! Madden Fever is REAL ladies!!*
“If you can’t handle the game, then get the hell off the field.”
My first ever Kate McCarthy read, and man, was it an absolute winner! I rarely ever give out 5-star to books I take up for review, but, this one was so well deserving of it!
In many NA-CR sports reads I come across, it always seems to follow the same old formula of over the top and unrealistic characters, situations, hasty paced romances, and drama-lama land. But, this one was different.
While there was an element of angst and drama in the book, it doesn’t infuriate, annoy, or make you roll your eyes. It’s pretty much the trials that every hopeful athlete goes through while trying to make it in the big leagues; and the joys and dysfunctions that occur in their love and family lives, as well as, careers.
The End Game is a wonderful blend of international pandemonium of bringing an Aussie soccer star to America on scholarship and her journey to superstardom while falling in love with local campus heartthrob and football sensation who is following a similar path.
I found both Jordan and Brody to be beacons of hope, morality, sacrifice, and integrity. Both have moderately come fom broken households and are trying to break the mold by making a new life for themselves while trying to do the right thing.
They are hungry, ambitious, and oh so jaded in many ways. .. And yet, complete each other irrevocably and entirely.
For Brody, being a high profiled politician’s son is not an easy feat. Not when everyone’s looking at you, speculating about you, and your parents disapprove of everything that you do. Not even, when you harbor a discerning secret that could prove detrimental to you and your family’s pristine image.
Brody lives and breathes football, but is it enough to ensure a life in the NFL? Will he be able to step up to the plate of the game he loves so much?
Or will he choke under the pressure?
And with a certain Aussie spitfire now at the center of his mind’s eye, who makes him question everything he’s ever known and or wanted, is football really his one true calling? And will he able to find acceptance in himself and his own skin?
As for Jordan Elliott, *and man do I love her frankness and realist personality*, she has one goal and one goal only--- to focus on her game to secure a spot in the professionals.
But when she meets the irresistible and persistent Brody Madden, who woes her at every corner, can she fit love in the equation while being in a foreign country?
After all, becoming successful is one thing. Getting there is half the struggle…But staying there and the paths you take along the way are just as crucial.
Can these two talented, budding stars rise above obscurities and expectations, and take a shot at fame while holding onto their romance? How far will they go to make their dreams come true?
Or will past obscurities, fallings from grace, and scandals rock them into the sidelines?
Read and you will be find out!!
Great, great cherry popper *for me* into the world of Kate McCarthy!! I can’t wait for more from this talented author!!
☆✮ Excerpt ✮☆
Shutting the door, I walk up the slight incline behind Brody. He sits down at the top of the crest and pats the grassy spot beside him.
“You didn’t mention this part when you explained our date.”
“I can’t give away all my secrets now, can I?”
The grass is a thick blanket on the ground and when I stretch out flat, the rich, earthy scent of soil sweeps over me. My eyes lift to the sky and that’s when I get it. It’s perfectly clear and millions of stars are scattered diamonds twinkling above us—bright and magical.
“Besides,” Brody adds as he lies down beside me and sweeps out his arm, encompassing all of it. “How do you explain that?”
He’s right. You can’t. “It’s beautiful.”
“Is this what the stars are like for you back home?”
“No. Back home it’s different.”
Homesickness swamps me. As beautiful as Texas is, it’s not Australia. Somehow the stars are always brighter where you belong. “Because there’s no place like home.”
I turn my head and stare at Brody. He’s not looking at me. His head is tilted toward the sky, eyes riveted on the beauty above him. My gaze follows the line of his profile. From the curl of his hair to the perfect line of his nose, down to the mouth I want kissing me right this very instant.
“Home’s not a place where you live. It’s a feeling.” His hand nudges my own. An invitation. I twine my fingers with his and he squeezes them lightly. “Whether it’s where you are, like the football field, or who you’re with.” Brody turns his head, looking at me when he says that. It’s comforting because it unites us somehow, like it’s slowly becoming us against the world. “You can be anywhere, Jordan. Home will follow you if you follow your heart.”
My breath hitches from the beautiful simplicity of his words. Before I can talk myself out of it, I roll over and straddle him. My knees hug his hips, and he stares up at me from my seated position. My pulse pounds a heavy beat in the silence. Thump, thump, thump. It’s so loud in my ears I’m sure he can hear it.
“Show me,” I breathe. A gleam lights his dark eyes, and he sucks his lower lip inside his mouth. He knows what I’m asking, but I spell it out anyway. “Show me one of those wicked things.”
In a move that steals the air from my lungs, he takes both my hands and pulls me down against the broad width of his chest. I’m rolled over and underneath him before I can blink. The squirm in my hips is instinctive, the ache between my thighs relentless.
“Careful what you ask for,” Brody says roughly, every exquisite inch of his body pressing down on mine.
His lips curve. “Because when I give it to you, it won’t be enough.”
My fingers trail down the side of his face, grazing the firm jaw, cupping his cheek in my palm. Foreboding swamps me. I’m falling hard into uncharted territory, and all I see is a broken mess at the end. How is this going to end well for either of us?
“You’re an arrogant man, Brody Madden,” I whisper.
He brings his face to mine, so close I see the brilliant gold in his eyes, like flecks of light in the dark. “And you, Jordan Elliott, will be the woman who brings me to my knees,” he whispers against my lips.
“Show me,” I beg on a shaky breath.
Brody’s lashes lower and he presses a kiss to the corner of my mouth. I tilt my chin upwards, inviting more. Rather than take my lips like I ache for him to do, he shifts sideways and begins nipping at my jaw. His breath is a rasp when he reaches my earlobe, taking it between his teeth. A sharp pinch from his bite forces a whimper from my throat.
“More?” he asks, drawing back to look at me.
“Is that even a real question?”
Brody chuckles as I slide my hand up and around his nape, dragging his mouth down to mine. He groans and kisses me gently, once, and then twice.
“Brody,” I whisper, and he kisses me again, forcing my mouth open hard like he can’t hold himself in check anymore. My hair is loose and he fists chunks of it in both hands while his tongue rubs against mine, hot and aggressive. It’s almost too much, and when I jerk away I’m left gasping.
Brody doesn’t pause. He ducks his head to my neck, his tongue tasting its way down. He finds my pulse point and sucks. It’s fierce and my back arches involuntarily. His mouth shifts further down, moving on before he leaves a mark.
Sitting up, he takes the neckline of my dress in both hands. Five dainty buttons hold it together. A single wrench will rip the flimsy fabric in two. He pauses and looks at me, inhaling raggedly. “Jordan … I don’t want to ruin it.”
My brow furrows. I glance to the hands poised on my dress. They’re tense, veins straining under his skin. My head is lost in a fog when my gaze returns to his face. “Ruin my dress?”
Brody groans, a deep sound of regret and frustration. “Us.”
“You don’t want to ruin us?”
He draws his hands away from the neckline of my dress. “No.”
“How would you do that?”
“I don’t know. I just get this feeling I’m going to.” He shifts away, moving off me and rolling to his back. I turn my head. Brody’s gaze is back on the stars. I watch his throat work as he swallows, the pulse in his neck pounding visibly. “All I’ve ever wanted is to be the best. Whatever it takes. I’ll do anything. That’s how I’ll ruin us, Jordan. How can something so sweet survive a sentiment so dark?”
I roll to my side, holding my head in my hand. Cupping his face with the other, I nudge gently until he’s looking at me. “I won’t let you.”
Brody’s voice is urgent, his eyes fierce. “Promise me.”
I can’t shake the apprehension. It’s set in my bones and when I speak it feels like a lie. “I promise.”
☆✮ About the Author ✮☆
Kate McCarthy grew up in a small town outside of Port Macquarie, Australia. Raised in a house just a short walk to the beach, Kate enjoyed the peaceful, relaxed atmosphere and friendships that come from being raised in a friendly, small town area.
She now resides in Brisbane, Australia, a city in the state of Queensland where she works as an accountant, along with a sideline wedding cake business and her writing.
She is married with two children, has two dogs and house in the suburbs, and a pile of friends and family dotted all over the country that help keep her sane.
When she’s not busy running after naughty kids, filthy dogs, crunching numbers, piping buttercream and writing books, you can find her curled up in bed in the early hours of the morning reading new books and re-reading old favourites. Her favourite books are the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward in which she longs to eventually join the brotherhood and change her name to Phierce Mutha.
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