* Beauty and the Baller by Isla Madden-Mills

* Beauty and the Baller by Isla Madden-Mills
Publisher: Montlake
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Larkspur

Gorgeous, talented, and brilliant, NFL quarterback Ronan Smith has the world in his hands. But after losing his career and his fiancée in a car accident, he falls into a pit of grief and bad choices. When a mysterious girl shows up to his party, he feels drawn to her and makes her his…for one night.

Former beauty queen Nova Morgan is on a mission. Scantily clad as a princess from a galaxy far, far away, she sneaks into a high-profile party to capture the attention of her favorite quarterback. But her hopes crash after an awful one-night stand.

Fast-forward two years. Broke and desperate, Nova returns home to Blue Belle, Texas, where, by a cosmic twist of fate, her broody neighbor is none other than Ronan, the shiny new football coach everyone adores. But he has no idea who she is.

The booster club keeps shoving women at Ronan to keep him in town. His solution? He proposes fake dating to Nova. But things heat up for real under these Friday-night lights when he realizes she’s the one who slipped away.

Has this jaded beauty found her forever baller, or will his past keep them apart?

Beauty and the Baller is a poignant and funny, small town romance filled with layered characters and sparkling dialogue. It answers the question of whether it is possible to have more than one soulmate in your life.

Ronan is a retired quarterback whose career was cut short when he was injured. He now works as a highschool head coach in the small town of Blue Belle, Texas. All his life, Ronan has been the golden boy with a perfect life and when tragedy strikes, he doesn’t know how to handle it. He becomes closed off and fearful of relationships, until he meets Nova. He doesn’t want to get involved with Nova but somehow, he just can’t seem to help himself.

Nova is the perfect heroine. She is brave, optimistic, enthusiastic and fun loving. Life has knocked her down a few times, but she always gets back up and doesn’t let anything or anyone get her down. Nova is loyal and protective to those she cares about. She is willing to give her heart to Ronan, even though there is a huge chance he will break it. I loved how sarcastic and funny Nova is and how she isn’t afraid to give Ronan her opinion when everyone else in town holds him on a pedestal.

I loved Ronan and Nova together and I love the way they play off of each other. Their encounters are filled with a lot of entertaining banter. The dialogue is what made this story. Their verbal sparring kept me laughing and kept them both on their toes. Whenever they are together, their chemistry jumps off the page. They try to fight their feelings for each other and that is what makes this story so delightful. Nova enters Ronan’s life just when he needs her. Although it takes him a while to figure out what is important in life.

I thoroughly enjoyed this spicey, emotional and optimistic story. It is beautifully written with characters that are flawed and vulnerable. As the story unfolds, Nova teaches Ronan how to live and love again. Nova never gives up on Ronan and that is exactly what he needs.

The townspeople of Blue Belle are an odd mix of colorful characters which add more laugh out loud moments to this intoxicating story. In Blue Bell people take football very seriously and will do just about anything to have a winning team.

Isla Madden-Mills knows how to paint a picture and she does a wonderful job in this witty, smartly written story. I never wanted to leave Blue Belle and Ronan and Nova’s world.

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