Friday, December 20, 2019

Blitzed (Playbook #3) by Alexa Martin

* * * * 1/2

Maxwell has finally met an opponent that he can't best in this new football romance from the author of Fumbled.

According to Brynn Larson, Maxwell Lewis is more trouble than he's worth. She doesn't care if he's a football god with a rock-hard body that brings most women to their knees. After an encounter that ends poorly, she's not interested in giving him a second chance. The last thing Brynn expects is for him to turn up at her bar months later, hat in hand. It doesn't matter if he brings more customers to her business--she's still not going on a date with him.

Maxwell knows he made a mistake. He'd been waiting to make his move on Brynn since the day he laid eyes on her and he was finally ready to go for it until he screwed up. He wishes he could tell her the truth about what happened that night, but he just can't. He can't tell anyone, so he'll make amends and hope she'll forgive him.

Brynn's not like other women, though. Playing for the Mustangs doesn't impress her and gifts make her scoff. Max will have to bring his A game if he hopes to win her over.

Source: advance e-galley provided in exchange for an honest review

There's nothing like landing on a series and enjoying each book more and more. That's how I feel about Alexa Martin's Playbook Series. They've been everything you want in sports romances - fun, sexy, thoughtful stories featuring strong women and impressive men. Blitzed took it to another level for me with Brynn being an entrepreneur managing a unique bar - HERS - aimed at catering to women, and Max who's the antithesis of the ego-driven sports hero.

Brynn and Max have been crushing on each other awhile now but neither has made a move. They simply engage in comfortable chit chat until one night when Max receives a phone call that turns the otherwise laid back, quiet guy into Godzilla. His change in demeanour wreaks havoc on her bar and she hopes never to see him again. When he finally comes back months later, he doesn't bother with an explanation but does attempt to make things right. Brynn, though is not ready to forgive and forget no matter how good looking or sweet he's being. Her guard's up and Max knows how much he screwed up and has to get back into her good graces. The best way to do that is to get to know what she loves the most: her bar. All her blood, sweat and tears have gone into HERS and it's always going to be her top priority.

Getting to know Brynn and learning about how she manages HERS was fascinating for me as I'm not a beer drinker or much of a bar person, really. Her explaining how she feels women have been overlooked when it comes to specialty beers and how she determines what to serve shows that she's a pragmatic person who reads the market well and knows her client base. I enjoyed tagging along on those beer tastings. Brynn's also such a steadfast supporter of her hometown, still in love with all that it has to offer. I just think that's a wonderful feeling to have - to be proud of where you live and excited to discover new things about it. Where she's a force to be reckoned with business-wise, her personal life has been neglected a bit. There's no time for a full on relationship so she's looking for a no strings attached situation. Max is a confounding presence in her life because he's not pushy but rather gentle about insinuating himself into her sphere. Despite that one encounter, even Brynn can see for herself that it was completely out of character for him and their friendship deepens. 

I think what Blitzed does best is showcase female camaraderie in such a positive light. Brynn's bar attracts some famous clientele - the wives and girlfriends of the Mustangs - and she's either developed friendships or fondness for the ladies. She even surprised me in how she coped with a potential rival for Max's attention. Initially she was not a fan of this person but eventually came to like her adversary and I was so impressed that she left any kind of cattiness behind to treat this person fairly. I just think that's so impressive and it's nice to see that subtly affirmed in this story. However, our confident, trailblazing entrepreneur is not as brave when it comes to her own feelings and relationships thanks to abandonment issues and general distrust of commitment, which is why I'm so grateful that Max is patient and so low key.

I love how Martin allowed Brynn and Max to take their time, letting them develop their relationship in a natural way that felt right for both their personalities. Plus, they have Parks and Recreation to thank for helping to move things along. People, I love Parks and Rec and that they were bingeing it, too made me so incredibly happy! My only hesitation is the ending which has me conflicted. That phone call at the beginning that set off Max? When the details finally come to light it's a seismic event that throws Brynn into a further spiral after the stress of other recent events. She handles it poorly and I understand why. What felt off to me was how quickly it was resolved, kind of like a hurry-to-the-finish-line move. I think I just needed for Brynn and Max to hash it out a little longer since it dug so deep into her own insecurities. 

Blitzed is a terrific novel and I enjoyed every moment of reading it. Martin's writing is so inviting and I can't help but feel like one of the girls whenever I read any of the books in this series. You might have heard that the first book, Intercepted, has been optioned for TV and will air on Starz. I am so over the moon thrilled about it because I think it'll make a fantastic show, especially as I said earlier, there are some strong women in these books. Until then, we have Blitzed to keep us in good company.

~ Bel