I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
contemporary romance in eBook edition that was published by Berkley on February 2, 2016 and has 348 pages.
Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.
Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Mountain Moonlight, Unlaced, Riding on Instinct, The Perfect Play, Riding the Night, Fall Fury, Changing the Game, Heart of a Killer, Forbidden Fantasies, Taking a Shot, Playing to Win, Nautier and Wilder, Wild, Wicked, & Wanton, Thrown by a Curve, One Sweet Ride, Straddling the Line, Melting the Ice, All Wound Up, "Hot Holiday Nights"
Eleventh in the Play-by-Play sports romance series. The couple focus is on Harmony Evans and Barrett Cassidy.
I do like Harmony’s assertiveness, but the story, while a fun twist on the usual romantic tangle, was annoying. Part of it was all the tropes involved: I-can-handle-this; we’ll-just-be-friends; lots of fantasies of riding the other (on both sides); the jealousy angle; foot-in-mouth disease running rampant; Drake blowing up; Drake claiming that neither of them has any honor(?); Mama’s reactions; and more…
Harmony also made me nuts. She blew up over the stupidest things. She claims she’s had a crush on Barrett for years, and yet she also claims that she wants him just for fun…until she suddenly realizes she’s in love. *eye roll* Then there’s her anger that Barrett won’t “claim her”. Hullo? Who went after who? And where did she get the idea that that first night was a one-time thing? As for being tired of “being [Barrett’s] dirty little secret”…hullo, again. Who agreed to keep it a secret, for a good reason?
Of course, neither of the boys will listen when Harmony tells them that she wasn’t all that into Levon. Nop-p-p-e, gotta get that rebound trope in there somehow.
Then there’s the simplistic dialogue. I don’t mind simplistic writing when it’s used to make a point. And maybe Burton is trying to make a point with such inane dialogue as: “You make me hungry, Harmony. You make me hard.” It’s one thing for simple sentences in the throes of passion, but when it’s time after time…oy…
I love the idea of Mama’s Thursday night suppers for family and friends. Even better, I love that Mama insists that everybody help clean up. Mama Cassidy is of a similar bent, insisting that her kids learn how to cook, clean, and drive the tractor. I also loved that Barrett and Drake promote studying, getting a degree, and not focusing on football as the be-all, end-all to the kids at the center.
That speech from Barrett at the end…sigh…it was so romantic: “Having you sleep next to me is like having the other half of me feel like a whole.”
However. There’s just too much stupid and too many contradictions in Unexpected Rush. It irritated me no end.
An expected break-up sets Harmony free to go after the man she’s dreamed of for so long. The only problem? He’s a friend of her too-protective brother, and he insists on adhering to the guy rule.
Harmony is nothing if not assertive, and she intends to get Barrett into her bed, through sexy come-ons and enforced intimacy.
Harmony Evans is the overprotective Drake’s little sister now working as an interior designer. Drake is a player as well as on the defense for the Tampa Hawks. Diane Evans is Mama and interested in Elijah. Aunts Amelia, Michelle, and Paula come for the dinners. Alyssa is Harmony’s best friend.
Harmony’s company is…
…successful, and she’s hired Rosalie Juarez as an assistant. Her clients include the Greens and Delia Spring. Jeff Golan is her favorite, very reliable, contractor.
Barrett Cassidy has been Drake’s best friend since college. Now he’s a teammate on the defense for the Tampa Hawks. Mia is his sister who is so not into sports and attending postgraduate school with an interest in sports management a contradiction that confuses the heck out of me. Flynn, his older brother, is a quarterback with the Sabers. More brothers — Tucker (Barrett’s twin) and Aubry Ross (All Wound Up, 10) and Grant and Katrina Korsova, an international model — are planning their weddings. (Anya and Leo are Katrina’s siblings.) Their mother, Lydia Cassidy, is a former career attorney. Dad is Easton Cassidy, a legendary Hall of Famer quarterback. Uncle Elijah is a hunky ranch hand on the Cassidy ranch. Eddie and Eldon are Easton’s brothers.
The Tampa Hawks are…
…a Tampa football team, and some of the players come to Mama’s Thursday night suppers including Bubba Sinclair and Lionel “Mean Man” Taylor. More of the defense includes Steve Mittman. Trevor Shay is the wide receiver (Straddling the Line, 8); JW Zeman is the quarterback. Allen Quarles is the defensive coordinator. George McGill is the coach. Tina is the wife of one of the players.
The community center for…
…middle-school-age kids was funded by Barrett and Drake. Greg Green is the administrator. Bianca teaches the kids computer skills. Some of the boys and girls playing flag football include Ray, Layton, and Rachelle. A close friend from Harmony’s college days, Lachelle, is the mother of 18-month-old twins, Marcus and Mateo, with Davis.
…the name of Flynn Cassidy’s new restaurant in San Francisco. Ken is the new manager; Adam is his significant other. Amelia Lawrence is the possible new chef.
Levon Powell, a lawyer, is Harmony’s newly ex-boyfriend. Kellan Smith was Harmony’s first love, at fifteen. Club Skye is a hot club in Ybor City. Raquel is one of the overzealous fans. Ted Lester manages the bar at the hotel; Donna is the waitress there; and, Willow is the girlfriend with whom Ted has another chance. Tess is Flynn’s ex-girlfriend. DeMartin Lewis is a Cassidy family partner who invested in Just the Blues, a blues club that had closed. Luther Kent is a musician who won’t ever play Just the Blues again. Gregson is Pittsburgh’s quarterback.
The Cover and Title
The cover finds the well-muscled Barrett covered in sweat and dirt, his football pants well-used, as he strides back to the locker room, a football clutched in one hand, and pads carried over his shoulder. He stands out nicely against a dark background.
The title finds Harmony doing an Unexpected Rush on the defenseless Barrett Cassidy.