Series: Atlanta Skyline #2
Author: Rebecca Crowley
Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Published: September 19, 2017
Source: Publisher for Review
Buy Links: Amazon - B&N - Books-A-Million
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When The Pitch Gets Personal
Atlanta Skyline’s star Swedish wingback Oz Terim-or as the fans call him, the Wizard-has an airtight plan for his life, his career, even his meticulously renovated house, but he barely gives a thought to the Islamic faith he inherited from his Turkish parents. So no one’s more surprised than he is when he’s the victim of anti-Muslim hate crime. Refusing to take the threat seriously, he resists the security detail Skyline insists on . . . until he meets Kate Mitchell. There’s no room for her in his plan and she’s the exact opposite of what he wants. Then why can’t he keep his hands off her?
After ten years in the military-and getting fired from her first post-Army job in Saudi Arabia-Kate Mitchell has slunk home to her Georgia roots. Private security isn’t the career she dreamed of, nor is she thrilled to work with an uptight professional athlete who plays a sport she has no interest in. She never expected to be attracted to him-or for him to fall for her, too. As their opposite lives tangle up-and the threat against Oz grows more serious-Kate has to decide who she wants to be in life and in love.
As much as I love (and often devour) sports romances, that wasn't what initially drew me towards Defending Hearts. What snagged my attention was the religious elements. Our hero, Oz, is a Muslim soccer player that is the victim of anti-Muslim hate crimes. Our heroine, Kate Mitchell, is in charge of his security. I loved Kate from the first chapter. She's an incredibly strong character that can stand toe-to-toe with just about anyone. While her past and her family definitely play a roll in a lot of her actions, she's still determined to stand on her own. Oz, on the other hand, left me with a lot of mixed feelings. There were times when I wasn't his biggest fan. Overall, he is a fun character with many different sides of his personality. However, the moments where he unintentionally led Kate on bothered me. He's a little naive, so I don't think he knowingly hurt her. I did wish that someone would slap some sense into him a bit sooner.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Defending Hearts. I loved the soccer elements, which is a sport I don't read often in romances. I loved the playful moments in Oz and Kate's relationship, especially that pool game. Watching them try to get under each other's skin was fabulous. I also loved how their relationship took them by surprise. It wasn't an immediate attraction. Instead, it was a slow build from an innocent touch. They felt the sparks, but wasn't sure if the other person did as well. I also loved that the author brought in the hate crime element. I know that can make some readers a bit uneasy, but I felt it added a lot of depth to the romance. I loved that the characters stood strong through the hate and came out as better individuals. Overall, Defending Hearts was a fun book. Even in the scenes where I wanted to strangle Oz, I had fun reading this book and I'm looking forward to reading more of the author's work in the future.
Rebecca Crowley inherited her love of romance from her mom, who taught her to at least partially judge a book by the steaminess of its cover. She writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense with smart heroines and swoon-worthy heroes, and never tires of the happily-ever-after. Having pulled up her Kansas roots to live in New York City and London, Rebecca currently resides in Johannesburg, South Africa.