Friday, April 17, 2015

Running Interference by Elley Arden - Book Tour, Review, and #Giveaway

Running Interference
by Elley Arden
Series: Cleveland Clash, #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 19, 2015

As an offensive linewoman for the Cleveland Clash, Tanya Martin is tough inside and out. The 5’9” beauty can take a hit and keep on going. But when the man she was best friends with—and secretly in love with—in high school comes home the same day she learns her father’s gym is in financial trouble, she’s unexpectedly blindsided.

Super Bowl MVP Cam Simmons is only back in town to convince his mom to move out of her failing neighborhood and live in luxury with him in Boston. But running into Tanya stirs up plenty of old feelings he never resolved. He was happy to leave his old life behind him when he hit the NFL, but walking away from their friendship was a mistake he wants to rectify.

As they work together to help save her dad’s gym, Cam and Tanya’s easy camaraderie and undeniable chemistry resurface. But can she open up enough to trust him with her heart a second time around?

“I was thinking, what about a celebrity boxing match?” Tanya asked.

“Uh, no.” Hell, he couldn't even keep up with her in the ring.

“Back her into the corner!” some guy yelled.

What? Cam took his eyes off her for only a split second.

She popped him again and smiled. “Yeah, that’s probably a terrible idea. I mean who wants to pay to see you get your ass kicked?”

She danced around him, eyes blazing. Focus, man.

He managed a jab to her gut before she moved away.

“Thatta way!” the guy cheered.

She approached again. Cam swung. At the last minute, she spun, and his fist hung in midair. More dancing. Little hops. And a rush of laughter. He loved when she had fun. There was nothing more beautiful in the whole world.

She popped him again. Right in the flank.

The guy booed. Cam may have, too, because this didn't seem fair.

“You know, it’s okay to hit a girl in here,” she said. “I don’t want you getting hung up on political correctness and looking like a fool in front of your … ” she glanced at the guy who was watching them, “fan. Singular.”

Smart ass. He lunged, and she dodged.

“Come on,” she said. “Show me what you've got, superstar.”

Oh, he’d show her all right. Just not in here. Later, they were going to finish what they started. He would find someplace where they wouldn't be interrupted by roommates or family members, someplace where they could …

She bounced to the left and clobbered him. His brain rattled.

The guy gave a disgusted sound, and then walked away.

His one fan had bailed.

Time to stop the insanity. “Okay!” His louder than normal voice halted Tanya in her tracks, but a second later, she was bouncing again.

“What was that?” she asked.

“Just me announcing that the match can finally begin. I think you’re good and warmed up.” He grinned. “In fact,” he bobbed his brows, “you’re looking super-hot to me.”

Her feet slowed, and her eyes narrowed. “How ‘bout from now on you keep your thoughts to yourself? This is a boxing ring, not group therapy.”

Yep, he’d unnerved her, and he was just getting started.

“I’m being courteous,” he said, shuffling closer and lowering his voice. “I like to let my opponents get a feel for my size before we really get down and dirty.” He bit into his cheek to keep from laughing.

“You wish,” she said, but she was smiling too.

He advanced. She backpedaled, and then she hit the rope.

“Trapped,” he mouthed.

“Never,” she whispered.

I love sports romances and this book not only has a female athlete as the heroine, she’s also playing a non-traditional female sport – football – which I just love! And throw in the fact that the hero is also a professional football player – an MVP at that – and that the book centers around saving the heroine’s father’s boxing gym, and there was all sorts of fun, sporty, sweaty goodness happening here. Add to it that this is a second chance romance that also has a best friends to lovers theme, and this was one happy girl.

When Cam left the old neighborhood, he slowly cut ties to everything back home – including the ties to his best friend Tanya. Tanya has never forgiven Cam for breaking her heart, and now that he’s come back to town in the off-season even all that hurt can’t cover up the intense attraction these two have for each other. And when Tanya’s dad needs help saving his gym, Cam insists on helping any way he can – even if it means being the main attraction at a bachelor auction to raise funds.

One of my favorite things about this book has to do with the deep family connections that both Tanya and Cam have. Even though both haven’t had perfect childhoods – Cam’s is still dealing with his father abandoning the family and Tanya is still trying to bring her parents together even though they've been divorced for years – you can really feel all the love in these families. And once more of the story behind each of these families was revealed, it just made me love them more. Traditional or not, these families embodied all the important aspects of being a family.

This was a good quick read that had some heat and some sweet, and even some laughs. A definite must read for any sports romance fans!

Elley Arden is a born and bred Pennsylvanian who has lived as far west as Utah and as far north as Wisconsin. She drinks wine like it’s water (a slight exaggeration), prefers a night at the ballpark to a night on the town, and believes almond English toffee is the key to happiness.

Charming characters. Emotional stories. Sexy romance.

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