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.Intercepted by Alexa Martin
Series: Playbook #1
Published by Berkley Books on September 11, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Sports
Marlee thought she scored the man of her dreams only to be scorched by a bad breakup. But there's a new player on the horizon, and he's in a league of his own...
Marlee Harper is the perfect girlfriend. She's definitely had enough practice by dating her NFL-star boyfriend for the last ten years. But when she discovers he has been tackling other women on the sly, she vows to never date an athlete again. There's just one problem: Gavin Pope, the new hotshot quarterback and a fling from the past, has Marlee in his sights.
Gavin fights to show Marlee he's nothing like her ex. Unfortunately, not everyone is ready to let her escape her past. The team's wives, who never led the welcome wagon, are not happy with Marlee's return. They have only one thing on their minds: taking her down. But when the gossip makes Marlee public enemy number one, she worries about more than just her reputation.
Between their own fumbles and the wicked wives, it will take a Hail Mary for Marlee and Gavin's relationship to survive the season.
I really, really liked this book. I didn’t love it, but I really liked it. It’s a debut, and I think that came through pretty often, but it’s still a really good book. I’m excited to see what Alexa Martin does in the future.
Marlee has been with Chris for ten years, since they were in high school. Now in their late 20s, Chris plays in the NFL, and Marlee has followed him from team to team throughout his career. Currently, they’re settled in Denver, but in the NFL, that doesn’t mean much. And this time, Marlee is really trying. She’s joined the Lady Mustangs, which is the charity group the wives of the players are in charge of. Well, wives plus Marlee. She’s the only girlfriend in the group, and they don’t let her forget it. Even though she gets shit every day because she’s “just” a girlfriend, not a wife, she keeps showing up and keeps giving as good as she gets. I loved this. I was here for Marlee and her take-no-bullshit personality. The woman who’s in charge of the Lady Mustangs, Courtney, is a piece of work, but for the most part, Marlee manages to not let Courtney get her down.
Marlee is the biggest strength of this book. She discovers that Chris has been cheating on her, has, in fact, been involved in a long-term, long-distance affair for years. She knows that he’s cheated in the past, and she’s suspected that he’s doing it again, and when she comes across the proof, she acts immediately. Packs up her stuff and walks out the door. She refuses to let Chris sweet talk her, or get her down or impact her in any way after she leaves, and she keeps her humor and her take-no-shit attitude firmly in place.
It helps that Gavin was there to back her up when she left. Marlee and Gavin had history – one random night four years ago, while she and Chris were on a break. Gavin told Marlee he was an investment banker, and when she woke up in the morning and realized that he was, in fact, a football player, she ran. They haven’t seen each other since, and now he’s the new Mustang’s quarterback. Awkward.
I liked Gavin, but I also didn’t think he was anything extraordinary. He didn’t let people push him around, he didn’t let anyone talk shit about Marlee, no matter who they were, but he also didn’t really listen to Marlee when she told him what she needed. Over and over he tried to take charge and fix things for her when all she wanted was for him to be there for her while she did that herself. He was a bit of a non-starter for me. I’m glad Marlee loves him and in the end, they get their HEA, but I found him to be a bit bland.
The biggest weakness in this book is the other women. As I mentioned, Lady Mustangs leader Courtney is a piece of work. She’s snotty, rude, condescending, and generally just a bitch. The other villain, Madison, is even worse. These two are caricatures more than well-developed characters. Both of them are one-note and never really change or are shown to have more to them than what we see in their shitty behavior. The fact that the Lady Mustangs just blindly follow Courtney around made sense – I mean we all remember the queen bee in high school with her sycophants falling all over themselves to please her. But in adult women, it just comes across as pathetic. Not to say that it’s unrealistic. I have never spent one moment in the world of professional sports, and Alexa Martin is married to a retired NFL player and spent years in that world. I fully believe that she knows what she’s talking about with these WAGs groups. I just wouldn’t want to be in that world, and it’s hard for me to imagine that there are grown women who act that way.
Not all of the other women in the book are garbage, however, which I think balances out nicely. Marlee has several very good friends, both ones who are already established and some that she meets along the course of this book. I love Naomi and Brynn and I hope they at least pop up in future books. I love how supportive they are, though I was surprised that Brynn went along with some of Gavin’s crap toward the end. I would have expected her to tell him how invasive he was being.
Overall, this is a good debut, though not a great one. I’ve requested the next book in the series, however, because I really think Alexa Martin is good, and I’m excited to watch her progress as she writes more. Get this book – you won’t be sorry.