REVIEW: “Scored” by Marquita Valentine

The more Marquita Valentine novels I read I see they are firmly in the Fun, Adorable, Romantic, and Sexy Camp.  That’s one camp I enjoy going to.  “Scored” is a football romance featuring a hero who’s quietly cleaning up his image.  The heroine’s quirky, intelligent, yet insecure in her ability to navigate romance sensibly.  Paige and Dallas are opposites.  She doesn’t care for sports while Dallas has dreamed of being a professional NFL football player his entire life.  Paige isn’t comfortable being in the spotlight while Dallas is familiar with it.  Dallas family’s everything and his is close as can be; as for Paige, she loves her family but it’s difficult.  Her mother’s been married several times focusing primarily on baseball players.  Paige has an older sister and younger brother each having different fathers.  Paige and Dallas “click” at first sight.  They’re attracted to each other’s sexuality, personality and wit.

Paige’s a librarian filling in for her best friend, and the library’s special events coordinator, as a magician’s assistant.  Unfortunately the elderly magical clown’s having technical difficulties and trapping Paige in the handcuffs.  Finally the magic words work and the cuffs fall away.  Once the parents and children disperse Paige is left to clean the area of sparkles and stickers.  An attractive man approaches Paige; unfortunately he cannot keep his eyes off of her breasts.  To her embarrassment he points out she has stickers attached to two fairly prominent parts of her chest.  She’s relieved he isn’t a perv but he confesses the stickers gave him an excuse to stare more longer.  Paige enjoys his honesty.  When she asks his name it seems to make him very happy to tell her his name is Dallas Drake.

Dallas is amazed to find that the beautiful and flirty sexy little librarian doesn’t know who he is.  It’s rare when a woman who doesn’t recognize him.  Paige doesn’t know who he is at all and flirts with him because she genuinely likes him.  Dallas can’t help himself from smiling when she turns him down for a date.  Paige’s adorable and quirkily awkward; he’s already smitten.  But he gets justification to ask a “nice girl” out on a date during practice.  Dallas makes a deal with Aiden, the star quarterback.  If Dallas can prove he’s settling down, by dating a good girl, Aiden will legitimately mentor Sam, the second-string quarterback.  Dallas promises he’ll be upfront with the girl he has in mind.  When he tells Sam about her Dallas learns Paige’s the team’s PR manager’s little sister.

Unfortunately Finley is notoriously anti-athlete when it come to dating.  She’s has to pull all sorts of strings and weave media magic to erase the disreputable shenanigans athletes constantly pull.  Finley’s has been warning Paige away from dating athletes since she was thirteen years old.  Paige witnessed the devastation a football player left with her sister’s heart.  That and her mother’s history of several failed baseball player-themed marriages have made her commitment shy.  However Paige yearns for love and wants it to be honest and despite all warnings she’s strongly drawn to Dallas.  Dallas knows that Finley will kill him if she finds out he’s dating Paige but he knows she’s worth it.  Paige agrees to date Dallas so Sam will get his mentoring from Aiden; but also because she really likes Dallas.  But during the first date Paige decides Dallas isn’t right for her.

Their first date is going well almost too well.  Dallas is saying all the things perfectly.  But it’s almost too much honesty or forward thinking.  Their quick connecting reminds Paige of her mother’s “Insta-Love” and Fail marriages; leaving a bad taste in her mouth.  Dallas is able to turn things around and tell her about his childhood and his family.  However his flippant delivery and honesty end up making Paige “tap out” of their deal.  Paige tells Dallas that everything he says is contrived and she wants more than pat lines.  Despite the practiced lines he made her laugh, told her about his family and made her feel desired.  She’s torn.  Dallas plays dirty and contacts her best friend Layton and convinces her to get Paige to give him another chance.  It works and she does.

Dallas has a charity and he holds his fundraising events in various cities.  He’s at the library, the day he meets Paige to check out the event space.  His “Nights to Play” charity benefits kids with special needs that require therapy, surgery, and treatments.  Dallas also supports the charities that helped his family when his brother was suffering through chemo treatments.  In his youth his family didn’t have enough money to pay for his brother’s leukemia treatments.  This is Dallas’ way of giving back.  His brother Mikey’s still his idol but life still isn’t easy for him.  Although Mikey has a beautiful and loving wife and Dallas is finding himself wanting someone for himself.  He wants to share the same type of looks and touches that his brother and wife do.  For Dallas family means everything.  Ironically, Finley asks Paige and Layton to help Dallas with his charity event.

Paige agrees to date Dallas.  Even before their relationship becomes sexual they want to be near each other and crave the other’s touch constantly.  Dallas and Paige’s relationship progresses quickly, easily, and passionately; becoming serious when Dallas declares exclusivity.  Paige insists they keep themselves private from Finley and the media.  His teammates can know, so Sam can get his mentoring, but she desperately doesn’t want her sister to find out.  It’s Paige’s extreme efforts to protect her heart, and not become her mother, which could destroy her future with Dallas.  Paige’s fears cause her to push away the very thing she’s afraid of losing.

“Scored” is simultaneously witty and sexy and full of engaging characters.  Marquita Valentine’s created an extremely charming Hero and an intelligently quirky heroine who together to generate a perfect seductive storm.  This storyline has me wrapped up.  I’m beside myself as to whether or not I’m going to see more of this story.  I.  Need.  More.  I’m half in love with the second-string quarterback.  Aiden McHugh, the starting quarterback has me twisted around in confusion and intrigue.  Speaking of confusion; I think there’s more to Paige’s best friend and roommate Layton story.  Dallas and Paige are fabulously flirty, steamy, and romantic.  Their courtship is brimming with dazzling banter, incendiary sex, and dirty, dirty talk.  The main characters in “Scored” undergo a lot of growth.  By outgrowing player ways and learning to trust their heart rather than hide from it.  I’m so in love with “Scored”!

I’m giving “Scored” 5 Lightning Bolts and a Hurricane Warning.

 

This novel was provided, voluntarily read, and honestly reviewed.

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