Title: First Step Forward (Grand Valley, #1)
Author: Liora Blake
Publisher: Pocket Books
Expected Publication Date: November 29, 2016
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Format: eBook, Paperback
Page Count: 384
Rating: 4 Stars
Pro-football player Cooper Lowry is off the field and into some trouble—in the form of a very alluring, very free-spirited apple orchard owner named Whitney Reed—in the first installment in Liora Blake’s all new Grand Valley series.
After eight seasons playing pro-football, Cooper Lowry knows all the right answers.
Is he stubborn, short-tempered, and impatient? Yes. Are jersey chasers more trouble than they’re worth? Absolutely. Has he ever imagined a life beyond the game? Nope.
Cooper has built an enviable career—the result of staying focused, working hard, and keeping his head on straight—even as his body takes the brunt. So when a hard hit during a Sunday home game leaves him in a dazed heap on the field, it’s nothing more than another day at the office. The only thing that’s different about this Sunday is a chance encounter with a certain fascinating, beautiful free-spirited woman. And some sternly-worded instructions from his coach to take a little time off and give his body the TLC it craves—before he does lasting damage.
Whitney Reed is a few months away from losing the organic fruit orchard she bought three years ago in the tiny town of Hotchkiss, Colorado. At the time, she was just looking for a place to get lost. Instead, she found a home, somewhere she could finally put down roots. Now foreclosure is knocking on her door—along with a grumpy, gorgeous football player who might be just what she never knew she needed.
A charming love story for romance and sports fans alike, First Step Forward is a sexy, heartwarming romp perfect for readers of Jennifer Probst, Kristan Higgins, and Julie James.
♦ Personal Thought ♦
“But I don’t love you anyway. I love you because. Because you’re a grouch, because you’re determined, because you’re a good man. Because, Cooper.”
The story introduced us to an unlikely pair as the main characters: a grumpy, jaded, seasoned pro-footballer and a free-spirit and self-reliant lady organic farmer. Both told the tale from their POV (as first in present tense, I might add!) alternately, in a way that brought forward each unique traits on the pages.
You know that proverb “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” …well, this is not exactly like that. Though it certainly help a huge dollop of; one of the many aspects of Whitney that gradually brought Cooper to his knees.
The characters were what brought the story to live. Granted, some of them were too goody goody in an already marvelous surroundings (albeit not too fine conditions) but the easy pace more than makes up for it.
I enjoyed the banter between Cooper and Whitney, that I really didn’t mind reading their sexual tango as they made the scenes as much entertaining and laugh-induced as their out of bed scenes. Just to be clear, I’m not a fan of too many smut in a story, but somehow in here – not only I could bear it – I enjoyed it! Moreover, their relationship progress was steady and believable, even when I felt some change-of-POVs made the time span a bit bumpy.
Without doubt, I’d be following this series and look forward to the next installment that will feature Garrett (you’ll meet him here) and hoping the book will be as engrossing and funny as I find this one.
Advanced copy of this book is kindly provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.