I received this book for free from Berkley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Fumbled by Alexa Martin
Series: Playbook #2
Published by Berkley Books on April 23, 2019
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks
A second chance doesn't guarantee a touchdown in this new contemporary romance from the author of Intercepted.
Single-mother Poppy Patterson moved across the country when she was sixteen and pregnant to find a new normal. After years of hard work, she's built a life she loves. It may include a job at a nightclub, weekend soccer games, and more stretch marks than she anticipated, but it's all hers, and nobody can take that away. Well, except for one person.
TK Moore, the starting wide receiver for the Denver Mustangs, dreamt his entire life about being in the NFL. His world is football, parties, and women. Maybe at one point he thought his future would play out with his high school sweetheart by his side, but Poppy is long gone and he's moved on.
When Poppy and TK cross paths in the most unlikely of places, emotions they've suppressed for years come rushing back. But with all the secrets they never told each other lying between them, they'll need more than a dating playbook to help them navigate their relationship.
I really liked Intercepted. I loved Fumbled. Alexa Martin seems to be coming into her own as a writer with this book. Intercepted was good but there were a few debut-novel-issues with it. None of those are on display here.
Poppy Patterson is not happy to randomly run into TK Moore, her high-school sweetheart. TK, for his part, is stunned to see her, too. He thought she left Denver right after college, so he has no idea what she’s still doing in the city.
Poppy’s not happy because TK doesn’t know about her son – his son, Ace. I usually despise secret baby stories, and, frankly, I don’t know if I would have read this one if I’d known about it. This secret baby wasn’t much of a secret, though. Poppy told TK she was pregnant when they were both sixteen, and TK told her he didn’t want it. His mother gave Poppy a check so she could get an abortion and that was the end of it. She intended to get the abortion, but couldn’t go through with it. And she never bothered to tell TK she had kept it.
I struggled with that a little bit. As far as Poppy was concerned, TK had said his piece. He didn’t want her or the baby, so she never bothered to tell him that she hadn’t gone through with the abortion. But….. see this is why I hate secret babies. Saying you don’t want a baby that’s still, in your mind, theoretical, is completely different than looking down at an infant and turning it away. And, yes, to a 16-year-old boy, the baby was theoretical, not real. I really wish Poppy had tried at least once after she had the baby to talk to TK again. At minimum, she would have learned that TK had no idea what she was talking about, because his mother had intercepted Poppy’s messages and had never given them to TK.
When Poppy does finally tell TK about their son, he’s vicious to her. Just cruel. To the point that I wasn’t sure I could get on board with her deciding to get back together with him. But his cruelty ends up playing into a larger piece of the plot, which is how TK has changed over the years. He’s much more quick to anger, he’s forgetful, his mood swings give Poppy whiplash. She knows that this is a lot more than just TK changing with age. She knows that the hits he’s taken and continues to take in his career as a wide receiver are causing early signs of CTE. I thought this aspect of the story was dealt with well, though not deeply. It’s clear that TK has issues, and while Poppy is eventually able to get him to see that and start to deal with it, it’s mostly just a side story, one that I would have liked to have seen more thoroughly explored.
But TK and Poppy have a wonderful reconciliation journey. They both have their legitimate issues with the other, and they deal with them. They communicate so well together, which is a piece I miss in a lot of romances. It’s so easy to introduce conflict by not having characters talk to each other, so Fumbled was a refreshing change. I can’t wait to see what else Alexa Martin has coming for us in this series.