Tuesday 31 October 2017


Back in the Game
Champion Valley #2
By Erin Kern
Releasing October 31st, 2017

In Back in the Game (Champion Valley #2) by Erin Kern, Stella Davenport has dreamt of returning to her life as a ballerina performing in a big city, but with her injury, it's not likely she'll ever get the chance. However, when an opportunity arises and she's offered her dream job, Stella decides that nothing and no-one is going to stop her from accepting it. Yet, the more time she spends with Brendon West, the more Stella finds it hard to stay away. But with both their pasts leaving it hard for them to put their full trust in someone of the opposite sex, will Stella and Brendon walk away from their chance of forever after, or will they fight for their love?

What an absolutely enthralling and riveting read Ms. Kern had penned in this story, which introduced me to this author's fabulous writing style, and has me looking forward to more of this series in the future due to the secondary characters. However, it was the way this story started that had me totally charmed by this story, as Matt (Brandon's son) needs the heroine's help. Will she be able to help him? Will she be able to convince Brendon that his son needs her help? Yet, it was from the moment the hero and heroine came face-to-face for the first time in this story that brought a smile to my face and made this story a total page turner, as this couple have exciting chemistry that I could not get enough of.

As for the dialogue, it was well-written, captivating and I loved the playful banter between Stella and Brandon. They can both be sarcastic at times and both have reasons for not wanting to get involved with the other, as Brandon was hurt by his ex-wife's abandonment and Stella suffered at the hands of someone that didn't know how to keep their hands to themselves, but their chemistry is definitely undeniable. Moreover, the heroine has been through a lot and I felt sorry for her when it came to her love-hate relationship with her mom; her moments of panic and whether she'd be able to overcome them. However, in saying that, she's resilient, courageous and I liked how she challenged the hero with her opinion, especially when it comes to his son. Will Brandon listen to her advice? 

While Brandon, he was such a wonderful hero and has so much to deal with throughout this book including his son and the uncomfortable birds and the bees talk as well as his ex-wife coming back into his life. Will he give in to what his ex-wife is asking of him? I also liked how confident the hero was when it came to winning the heroine over, especially since she needed to finally get what's been keeping her from giving any man a chance off her chest and who better to open up to than Brandon. Yet, what I liked most of all about the hero was how good of a dad he was and that he would do anything to protect his son from being hurt.

Overall, Ms. Kern has penned a must read in this story where the secondary characters entertained me just as much as the main ones; the chemistry between this couple was intense; the romance on the sweet side as they both do everything they can to prove they can trust each other; and the ending left me completely satisfied with the heroine's determination to prove to Brandon that she's all in when it comes to their relationship and their future. I would recommend Back in the Game by Erin Kern, if you enjoy second chance romances or books by authors Sara Hegger, Katie Lane, Samantha Chase and Jennifer Dawson.

Stella Davenport wasn't made for small-town life. Sure, teaching ballet in Blanco Valley, Colorado, is great, but she longs for the chance to perform in a big city. Stella swore she'd never let anything get in the way of her dream-until sexy, broad-shouldered Brandon West walks back into her life. Stella is determined to resist him, even if arguing with Brandon is sexier than any foreplay.

For Brandon, it's always been just him and his son, Matt. Knowing that love only leads to heartbreak, he isn't looking to expand his family any time soon. Stella, with her long, gorgeous legs and infectious laugh, is a breath of fresh air he didn't even know he'd been missing. But when she's offered her dream job in Chicago, will he be willing to put his heart on the line?

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Was it just her, or had their almost-kiss a few months ago not been this hot? This intense? She didn’t remember her panties almost going up in flames or her desire threatening to choke her.

“A kiss doesn’t equal a relationship,” Brandon told her.

Stella nuzzled her nose against his. “But we’re not kissing.”

“Keep telling yourself that, Stella.” Before she could respond, before she could even exhale the breath she’d been holding, his mouth was there. Fitting over hers, exerting a gentle pressure that had her fingers digging into the flesh on the back of his shoulder.

When her eyes dropped closed, her other senses took over and magnified the virile man who was so much bigger and harder than she was. His arm enclosed her waist, tugging her closer, inch by slow inch until she was flush against him. Chest to chest. Feet to feet. Leg inserting between hers so that his muscled thigh was nestled perfectly in between her softer flesh.

Best. Kiss. Ever.

Brandon West could use his mouth as a lethal weapon to bring women to their knees. Because if he hadn’t been holding her to him with such firmness, she would have sank the second his mouth touched hers. And then she didn’t have time to think about all the other things she wanted him to do to her, because his tongue smoothed over her lips in gentle, yet not-so-subtle invitation to open the hell up.

He didn’t have to ask her twice. Without thinking about where they were, or the cars and people hovering around outside, even her looming anxiety, Stella obliged and parted her lips. With a hesitation that was sweet, yet longing, his tongue slowly pursued hers, touching just the tip before retreating again.

Since it wasn’t enough, since the minimal contact had opened an emptiness she’d been living with for a long time, Stella did her own pursuing. Her tongue chased his, testing the warmth of his mouth. When he groaned against her and tightened his hand on the back of her head, the heat was kicked up a notch. The passion she’d once possessed but that had gone dormant from lack of use awakened with an explosive burst of fireworks. She returned his groan with one of her own when he tilted her head to change the angle of the kiss, allowing him to dive deeper.

And she let him, because Brandon West was an overpowering man who held her passion and trust in the palms of his hands. The question was, what would he do with it?

Their tongues continued to dance and weave around each other until someone opened the front door of her studio, and the outside sounds of cars and people intruded on their moment of intimacy.

“Oh!” the startled voice announced, ripping her and Brandon away from each other like two teenagers who’d been caught necking by the principal.

Her mother stood by the door, her eyes wide to match the smile on her face, as though to say, Score one for the team, honey.

Only Gloria Davenport.

She held her hands up and backed toward the door.

“Don’t mind me,” she told them. Then offered Stella two thumbs up. For Pete’s sake. “But good job, honey. Way to take my advice.”

And then she was gone, blowing back out the door as quickly as she had interrupted them, taking Stella’s dignity with her.

One of Brandon’s dark brows lifted, showing nothing of the passion he’d exhibited just a second ago. “Advice?” he repeated.

“Ah . . . ,” she began, not sure how to explain Gloria Davenport to someone who didn’t know her. “Just ignore her. She obviously hasn’t taken her medication today.”

The slight curl of his mouth widened. “You look like her.”

Please God, don’t say that. “Okay.”

His brown eyes narrowed, scrutinizing way too much. “Is this another thing you don’t want to talk about?”

Right on. She lifted a shoulder and pretended her heart wasn’t still pounding from their kiss. “I have no issues with my mom.” At least none that she was willing to share.

Brandon nodded. “You know, one of these days all those walls you’ve thrown up are going to come crashing down.”

As Stella watched Brandon saunter out of her studio as though he hadn’t just knocked her socks off with his mouth, all she could think of was how right he was.

Erin Kern lives in north Texas with her husband, two kids and their dog. She loves BBQ, Texas sunsets, antiquing and high school football games. The Champion Valley series was inspired by Erin's love of Texas football, small towns and happy endings. When she's not at the computer working on her next tale, she can be found spending time with her kids or curled up with a good book.


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