Sunday, 16 October 2016

Hail Mary - Julianna Marley - Blog Tour

This sexy sports romance is NOW LIVE!
FREE with Kindle Unlimited!

#FREE with Kindle Unlimited

He’s football’s poster boy with one thing on his mind. Well, perhaps two things, but Shay Cunningham’s outstanding football career and contract negotiations take precedent over everything else. Even women. Living life to the extreme, Shay’s past indiscretions continue to fuel his lifestyle. And that’s just how he likes it. 

Whitney Scott is broke, anxious and afraid. After an unexpected break up with her newborn baby’s father, her life is a mess. Down on her luck, she’s working hard to solidify her-and her baby’s-future. One uncertain step at a time.

When an emergency thrusts Shay and Whitney together will one heavy dose of uncertainty push them apart? Or will they be willing to make a Hail Mary pass with their hearts-trusting that the other one will catch it?

4.5 Stars 

I was immediately drawn to Hail Mary by it's gorgeous cover. I love a sports romance, especially a series, that I can sink my teeth into. I love books that are inter-connected, but can still be read as a standalone so was really excited to find this series. I haven't read the previous title in this series, but I really enjoyed Hail Mary and didn't feel at all lost when characters from the previous book were identified within the story line.This book is an enjoyable, well paced, well written read, overall it's a lovely story with a strong focus on family and friendship. Although this is a sports romance, it's also a friends to lovers story and the romance itself is a slow burn.

Both the hero and heroine were like-able and believable. Whitney Scott and Shay Cunningham share an incredible bond and connection after he whisks Whitney to the hospital and stays with her whilst she gives birth to her baby girl. Although they share this incredible connection, they are both stubborn and refuse to recognize or acknowledge the feelings that they stir in each other. 

Whitney is a Southern lady. She's incredibly sweet, kind, and ambitious. She's down on her luck and her ex-fiancee and family have really done a number on her self esteem, and as a result is a bit insecure at times. Whitney is also incredibly stubborn, and strong willed and desperate to stand on her own two feet. She's a loving mother and a completely endearing character. I did find her at times a little frustrating the way in which she let her family treat her like a walking door mat. 

Shay is your stereotypical football player, at times he comes across a bit rough around the edges, sometimes a bit of a douche, he really is the gentleman his mother raised him to be. Shay is definitely sexy, and is as much a player off the field as he is on it. Although at times he tries a bit disconnected from his family and those around him, it's really in an effort to protect himself. Although he's not perfect and has his faults, he's really quite loyal, sweet and caring.and Whitney and her small daughter pull out all his protective instincts. 

I absoloutly adored the side characters in this book, Shay's siblings, his team mates, and Whitney's work colleagues and family really added another dimension to this story line. I see so many possible tales to read in the future. The banter between the characters had me smiling, and laughing out loud on more than one occasion as I read this book. 

I loved seeing the romance between these characters bloom and grow, as the story progressed. The love scenes were a wonderful blend of being incredibly sweet as well as quite hot and steamy. The epilogue was incredibly sweet and left me wanting more. I read this book in one sitting and cannot wait for more books in this series. This was my first Julianna Marley book and I can say it definitely will not be my last.

Peeling off the ridiculous black stickers from underneath her eyes, Whitney smirked. Had she really just done that? Good Lord her mama would have been horrified. But for as embarrassed as she was, the permanent smile on Charlotte’s face and the glow she had worn all night long while talking to people about her designs had been totally worth it. She had taken so many orders for clothing pieces that she feared she wouldn’t see her cousin until springtime.
And Shay.
That kiss still had her hands shaking as she threw the strips in the trashcan, running the washcloth under the warm water. She could still taste him on her mouth and she licked her lips again. Removing some makeup from her cheek, her chest grew heavy. It had been a long time since she had kissed a man. A real man. One who kissed with strength and purpose. Nothing like the mandatory quick pecks she had received from Adam over the course of their relationship. But nobody had ever felt like Shay had. She almost married a man whose kisses didn’t pack a punch with them the way Shay’s had, her stomach twisting at the thought. Dabbing off the heavy eyeliner she cleared her throat. The look on his face when he realized what they were doing could only be described as painful. As if he had just made the biggest mistake of his life. Men like Shay Cunningham didn’t come after women like her. It was just a fact. Which was fine, more than fine, actually, as it was better this way. She didn’t know the first thing about a professional athlete’s life and she should have stopped him the moment he grabbed her, but he had taken her by surprise. And he felt good. So good. Scrubbing the bright red lipstick from her mouth, shimmer smearing across her face, she heard loud pounding at the door. Dropping the washcloth into the sink she darted towards the front door. Magda had mentioned that Quinn had finally fallen asleep just a little before she arrived home. Swinging the door open quickly to end the banging, she saw Shay on her doormat, his hair damp looking like he just stepped out of an editorial magazine. Swiping his hand across his mouth slowly, she knew he was anxious. And Shay being anxious made her nervous. He was the most assertive, self-assured man she had ever met and he just stood there watching her, forcing the air to turn thick.
Hi,” she breathed.
Are you alright?” she asked swallowing against her dry throat.
Nodding, he moved through the door slowly, stopping as his forehead met hers. Closing her eyes, her heart rammed against her chest so hard she was almost afraid that he could hear it.  “Is Quinn awake?”
No,” she whispered, shaking her head as he walked her backwards, feeling his hands finding their way to her hips.
Is Charlotte home?”
No.” She closed her eyes again and he continued pushing her further inside the house. Curling her lips under, she peeked up at him. His face unmoving, his eyes searched hers and it felt like he was fighting a war. One that his life depended upon. “Why are you here, Shay?”
I’m not sure.”

Julianna Marley is fairly certain that she was born on the wrong side of the Mason-Dixon line. She’s in constant search of warmth, sunshine and water. When not writing about all the places she yearns to be, she can be found enjoying obnoxious amounts of coffee and getting bossed around by a four year-old. Julianna loves romance, humor and football.