Review: Hit Me with Your Best Shot: A Sports Romance Anthology

Note: An advance reader copy (ARC) was provided by the authors.

Hit Me with Your Best Shot is a multi-author romance anthology featuring male characters who are involved in sports. We have Love Made Me Do It by Saffron A. Kent, Tempted by Becca Steele, Sidelined by Ki Stephens, In the Company of Darkness by Jay McLean, Onside Recovery by Maggie Rawdon, and Call Me Teach by SJ Sylvis. I was able to read each short story, with McLean's serving as a prequel, or at least that's what it felt like to me, to her upcoming novel by the same title. For the sake of expediency, I won't go into too much detail; instead, I'll give my overall thoughts on the story and what my rating is for each.

Love Made Me Do It by Saffron A. Kent is a short story and part of her Bad Boys of Bardstown series. This is a single dad/nanny and grumpy/sunshine romance featuring Meadow Brooks (19) and Riot Rivera (24). She's the nanny and he's a professional soccer player. She's been in love with him from the day she came in to be interviewed, but she's nothing like the women he usually dates. Then a snowstorm hits... This was a good read, with a highly insecure Meadow and a very broody Riot. It seemed that everything was one-sided until some self-reflection makes it clear it may not have been so. I'm giving this read 4.5 stars.

Tempted by Becca Steele is a short story and part of Steele's LSU series. This is also the only M/M romance in the anthology, which I certainly wasn't going to say "no" to since I do love me some M/M romance. Bennett Archer is part of London Southwark University's football team, and he's always considered thought of himself as straight...or maybe more bi-curious as of late. Niccolò Rossi is an art student in LSU who piques Ben's bi-curiosity even more. Ben was a bit more shy compared to Nic, who was outspoken, but I liked their banter and how they balanced each other out. This one snags four stars.

Sidelined by Ki Stephens is my first read from this author. I'm not sure if it's part of any past or current series, but it did work well as a standalone. Callum Galloway and Lila Tate were best friends as children and teenagers, but college created distance between them even though they went to the same university. He's one of the star players for the school's soccer team and she's an art student, and they find themselves reconnecting. But unresolved feelings linger, and that's what makes up their story--should they or shouldn't they cross that line. This was sweet with a good amount of steam and it gets 4.5 stars.

In the Company of Darkness by Jay McLean had a heavier feel to it compared to the other stories in the anthology. Harlow Greene and Jace Rivera are incoming high school seniors. She's just moved to the small town of Rowville, with her family having left behind a tragedy and a scandal. He's got his own issues amidst being a basketball player with high prospects, but these two can't help but be drawn to each other. Suffice it to say that I'm going to need to know the rest of their story, so the countdown begins for the release of the full-length novel later this year. I can't wait for more. This receives five stars.

Onside Recovery by Maggie Rawdon is part of her Seattle Phantom Football series. This is also my introduction to this author's writing. Gabe and Aurora are the closest of friends--so close that he's the one she asks to be her man of honor at her wedding...s. He's a professional football player who's a single dad to a teenager, and she's a runaway bride who considers father and daughter her safe place. These two sizzled once they got out of their own way, but I confess that my heart broke for David, aka Aurora's latest ex-fiancé. So much so that I kinda-sorta-maybe hope he gets his own HEA. Four stars for this short.

Call Me Teach by SJ Sylvis is my first read from Sylvis, and I think it's an introduction to her upcoming Wilder U series. That being said, this story ends happily. Nolan Hughes is a hockey player for Wilder University, but he offers up his other skills to his best friend and teammate's younger sister, Hannah Evans. He certainly taught her a thing or ten, and soon enough, it was clear that not having strings attached was easier said than done. Hannah and Nolan were fun together, and I liked the ending. Dare I hope that Reign Davidson gets a book in the WU series? This wraps up the anthology at four stars.

Release Date: 15 March 2024

Date Read: 10 March 2024

Pre-order Hit Me with Your Best Shot on Amazon.


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