Handful (Gladiators of the Gridiron) – ARC review

by C.R. Grissom
Release Date:  August 31, 2021
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Book #3 of the Gladiators of the Gridiron series
Number of pages:  226
Source:  ARC from publisher
Contemporary Romance/New Adult
Ages 16 and up

Family lore about falling in forever love made for fun fireside fairy tales, but Kirsty Durnin isn’t interested. After spending her high school years washing baby vomit out of her hair and rerouting her college plans after her mother’s surprise pregnancy, she’s finally ready to finish her undergrad degree before pursuing her master’s. No more distractions…until she indulges in an impulsive, mind-melting New Year’s kiss with Gladiators offensive lineman, Everest.

Everest McBride oozes chiseled, mountain-sized masculine perfection and dominates on and off the field. Everest thought he had his life plan lined up like hash marks on a football field before he met Kirsty. Suddenly, he can’t get the pint-sized pixie out of his head. Everest’s go-to game plan to win Kirsty’s heart involves charm, but getting ghosted isn’t in his playbook.

Kirsty refuses to let a single smooch, no matter how hot, detour her path. By ignoring Everest, she’ll forever fracture her family’s “love at first kiss” fairy tale, but Everest plays to win, and, besides, he gives really good text.

I have really been enjoying this series. All of the characters are just so likable and they form such a wonderful made-family. I love the support and care they have for one another. Through it all Everest has been the rock that holds them all together. I guess that’s why his nickname is the name of a mountain.

Everest cares for everyone and is especially protective and supportive of the women in his life. When he meets Kirsty in person for the first time, there are fireworks for them both. But they both know that if they let things go to far it could really screw with the dynamic of their friend group. All of the steps leading up to that first kiss kept the butterflies flying in my belly. They really have great chemistry. I especially like, when Kirsty finally moves to California, how honest and frank the couple is with each other. Instead of letting emotions carry them away, they both talk it out and take a break from the hormones in order to make sure they are both on the same page. This in no way lessens that fire that is burning between them. In fact, it makes it hotter for me to see the care Everest gives to Kirsty’s feelings on the situation.

There are so many things I love about this story, but there were some definite issues in this book that I didn’t notice in the first two books in the series. One is a continuity issue that most won’t notice. But there is also a wordiness that jumped out at me. There was often a step-by-step rundown on what a character was doing that I found to be overkill and it would take me out of the story a bit.

That being said, I’m still all-in on this series and hope the author will give us more. There are still plenty of single football players at Fortis University.

3.5 stars

**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**

About Cheri

I'm the mom of two boys and wife to my high school sweetheart. Our oldest, Josh, is living at home while working and paying off student loans. Our youngest, Griffin recently left his active duty Army job and is now National Guard here at home. He moved back to Michigan with his wife Kirsten and our beautiful granddaughter Hazel. I work part time and try to fit as much reading into my life as possible.
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