Jillian Miller likes her job working in the front office for the Seattle Sharks, but lately being surrounded by a constant parade of perfection only seems to make her own imperfections all the more obvious. She needs a change, which takes her into foreign territory: the Sharks’ workout facility after hours. The last thing she expects is a hot, grumbly god among men to be there as witness.
Star linebacker Seth Taylor had a bad day-well, a series of them recently. When he hits the Sharks’ gym to work out his frustration, he’s startled to find someone there-and even more surprised that it’s Jillian, the team owner’s administrative assistant. When he learns of Jillian’s mission to revamp her lifestyle, he finds himself volunteering to help. Something about Jillian’s beautiful smile and quick wit makes him want to stick around. She may not be like the swimsuit models he usually has on his arm, but the more time Seth spends with Jillian the harder he falls.
And as Jillian discovers that the new her is about so much more than she sees in the mirror, can she discover that happiness and love are oh-so-much better than perfect?
Source: eARC from the publisher for review purposes. This in now way affects my opinion.
Jillian works for a professional football team, the Seattle Sharks, in the administration offices. She loves her job and she’s good at it. But lately she’s been feeling that she needs to get into better shape and decides to use the state of the art exercise facilities where she works to do so. When she does, she’s surprised by Seth Taylor, the Sharks’ new linebacker, who immediately takes an interest in helping Jillian. Then he begins to seek her out because she’s so different from the women that usually surround him that it’s refreshing. It’s not long before both of them want more than friendship.
Jillian grew up in foster care and as a result longs for stability and a family of her own. Seth is used to women who are all surface, no depth. They do not seem to go together but they come to rely on each other and the connection they feel is real, even if they seemingly want different things.
I love a good sports themed romance. This is the fifth book in the series, but the first one that I’ve read. I didn’t feel out of the loop at all. Jillian and Seth made a great couple and I enjoyed their relationships, both the friendship and the romance. Jillian was understandably wary of falling for Seth, given his past relationships with physically perfect women and his career, which causes people to flock to him and expect things from him like his time and his money and his attention. Jillian and Seth just don’t occupy the same space, but there is definitely something that draws them to each other.
I really liked both characters a lot. Jillian is hard not to like because we can all see ourselves in her, insecure and a “regular” person who made her own way in the world without any help. Because she was in foster care, she volunteers for an organization that helps other foster kids, but she does so in a quiet way, without fanfare. When she decides to get in shape, she does so reluctantly, but she’s dedicated. Well, it helps that Seth is there to force her to continue that pursuit. Jillian is definitely and immediately attracted to Seth, which is understandable because he has an amazing body, but she never imagines that he could be attracted to her. Which, I think, made it safe for her to be friends with him. At least initially.
Seth immediately took a liking to Jillian because of her personality. He insinuates himself in her life in a way that makes it clear that he is not going anywhere. He is also immediately attracted to her, but doesn’t force his attraction onto her, he doesn’t cage her in against the wall, whispering sweet nothings in her ear, but he takes it slow and proves that he is a good guy. Even if he is unwilling to become vulnerable. He’s not perfect, he makes some mistakes, but you’re pulling for him to get it right, to be the guy that Jillian deserves. He comes through in the end, even though I did have a bit of an issue with how quickly he proposes. I guess it’s what you should expect from a romance, though.
I really liked this book. It was sweet and hopeful, and very satisfying. It was realistic about their relationship and about Jillian’s weight loss. This is the first time I’ve read this author, but I immediately bought the first book in the series upon completing Chasing Jillian. I loved the cast of characters in the background, all of the other football players and their wives, which I know are the focus of the earlier books. This is perfect light-weight fare for summer days by the pool, anticipating football season. You’ll definitely cheer for these two!
USA Today Bestselling Author, Julie Brannagh has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil. She lives in a small town near Seattle, where she once served as a city council member and owned a yarn shop. She shares her home with a wonderful husband, two uncivilized Maine Coons and a rambunctious chocolate Lab.
When she’s not writing, she’s reading, or armchair-quarterbacking her favorite NFL team from the comfort of the family room couch. Julie is a Golden Heart finalist and the author of contemporary sports romances.
She hurried over to the laptop on the little desk in the kitchen, pulled up Google, and searched on Seth’s name. She sank into a chair while she read. He was six foot four, and she practically weighed as much as he did. Well, not quite, but still. She let out a long sigh. He was two years younger than she was. It also seemed Seth had been busy: He was single. “Very single,” according to one of the most recent fan websites she looked at. In Google Images, she found a series of photos of him with multiple tall, dark-haired women, each more gorgeous than the last.
Jillian shut the laptop lid with an irritated “click”, got up from her chair, and hurried into the bathroom. She’d stood in front of a full-length mirror so many times, but it always showed her the same thing. She wasn’t unattractive, but she could use a little more self-confidence and a lot more toning. She wasn’t asking for physical perfection, but she’d like to make some changes. If she made a plan, started slowly and kept at it, she’d see a difference. The biggest changes needed to start on the inside, though. Maybe if she got out a little more, she might meet a guy that was interested in her. Seth was gorgeous, but he wasn’t really in her universe. Jillian went into the kitchen, grabbed a frozen low-calorie dinner out of the freezer, ripped the cardboard lid off, and shoved it into the microwave. Dinner would taste a whole lot better if it was accompanied by half a bag of chips and some Ranch dip. But that wasn’t an option right now. She opened the refrigerator door to look for a fresh vegetable of some type.
She pushed the fridge door shut after a fruitless search and rummaged around in her apartment’s tiny pantry. She located a can of peas. Peas were good. Plus, there weren’t many calories in peas. Maybe she could fill up on them if the diet dinner didn’t cut it.
Jillian’s love-hate relationship with her body and food had started when she was little. Most of the time, there wasn’t enough to eat. She ended up in a foster home at three years old after her mother died in a car wreck, and she was moved a few times before she entered elementary school. Things got a little better for Jillian when she was placed in a more permanent foster home, but she was still so hungry. No matter how much she ate, she wanted more. When she was old enough to make her own money, she made sure there was more than enough, and that’s when the problems began. Even more than a diet or a new workout regime, she needed to focus on the great things in her life. She’d build a healthier lifestyle as a result. Even more than a diet or a new workout regime, change from the inside would last a lot longer. She wanted to build on the goals she’d already achieved and reach out for more of the things she wanted in life: A husband. A family. To belong.