Monday, October 20, 2014

Blog Tour-Christie's review: Tackled by Love by Rachel Duncan


Title: Tackled by Love
Series: Standalone
Author: Rachel Duncan
Release Date: October 20, 2014
Rating:4 stars
Cliffhanger: No

Landon Stone has it all. He’s the star quarterback for one of the powerhouse teams in a professional football league, has a beautiful supportive wife cheering him on, and plenty of money to support him for the rest of his life. In the blink of an eye, it all comes crashing down as every player’s worst fear unfolds right in front of his eyes. With nothing left, he finds himself going back to where it all started.

Autumn McCray has lived in the same small town her whole life. Being tormented and bullied throughout high school she has those constant reminders surrounding her every day. Having put most of those demons behind her, she’s forced to confront them once again and find her inner strength in order to move forward.

With Landon and Autumn’s paths crossing, they both are faced with obstacles they never imagined they would have to overcome. Will they help each other with their struggles or be left to tackle them on their own?

This book managed to surprise me in more ways than one. As a debut author, I really feel like this was a very worthwhile read and I'm so happy I gave it a shot. As with any new author, you're never really sure what to expect, but I slipped right into this story effortlessly. This isn't easily accomplished. Trust me, I struggled many times just trying to bring myself into the characters' heads and into their world. I had no difficulty this time around, it was such a pleasure to read.

Autumn was the girl in school who was relentlessly, ruthlessly bullied for being overweight. After her mother died, and her father checked out mentally, she turned to food as comfort and that's when her life became pure hell at school. Catty girls played cruel pranks on her, and she was treated like she was the joke that everyone wanted to get a laugh from at her expense. The trauma haunts her to this day, and though their taunts pushed her to lose weight and become healthy again, she hasn't quite managed to repair her confidence in herself.

I can see where some readers would get frustrated with her damaged self-confidence and maybe even see her as weak. But I thought she was a flawed character that was identifiable and I really empathized with her. Her flashbacks of what she went through and her struggle to see herself in her true light was an empowering journey to see.

After school, she fell into cake decorating and finally found something she has a passion and talent for that make her feel good about herself. This is where Landon comes in. Because his mom just happens to be the owner of the bakery where she works. And when he comes home, she'll find out that the crush she had on him back in high school is still lingering.

Landon is the town hero. The guy that every girl wanted to date, and every guy wanted to be. He had a bright future all mapped out in the NFL, a loving girlfriend that stuck by him since they were 16 who eventually would become his wife. Everything just seemed to fall into place after all his years of hard work. Until he lost his career with one disastrous injury. He discovered his wife was a blood sucking gold digger who only stayed with him to drain him of all his money, and now wanted to keep their home after the divorce too. Now he's the fallen hero returning home to lick his wounds. When he discovers Autumn McCray, the last thing on his mind is meeting someone new and dating. But he almost feels compelled to get to know the woman she is now and uncover her heart.

"I've never felt more bare in my life. I know that's ridiculous, since she's halfway across the room, but there's something about her unwavering gaze that has me rooted to my spot.

One of the things that surprised me the most was that it was considerably steamier than I thought it would be. Autumn and Landon just had this sexual tension that was a tangible presence. He was very assertive and confident with her and she soaked up his desire like a sponge. It was hot as hell seeing him awaken her sexual confidence and doing it respectfully. While he had somewhat of a dominant edge, it wasn't over the top. He was still sensitive to her needs and her fragile state.

"And how am I talking to you?" His tone is commanding, like he wants to hear exactly what he does to me.
"Like you're going to eat me alive and do things I couldn't possibly recover from."

In a nutshell, the chemistry between the two main characters, Autumn's growth in self-confidence and overcoming her emotional abuse, made for an interesting, sweet, and sexy story. It kept me hooked along for the entire ride. Landon had some self discovery of his own to accomplish as well. His whole life was uprooted unexpectedly and he has to find a new direction that will make him happy. He finds love when he least expects it. When he feels like his life is crumbling, he finds out it's only just begun.

**On a side note, I hated his ex with a passion and I wanted to stab that fictional character scream at her to go get a freaking job so badly. She was the most selfish and most pathetic excuse for a woman I've ever seen and by the end, if I didn't see some retribution come her way, I was going to go a little crazy.

Give this one a shot, it may surprise you like it did me. I'll be keeping my eye out for future books from Rachel Duncan.

**ARC provided in exchange for an honest review**


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