Scoring a Spouse
by Liz Lincoln
Release Date: August 16, 2022
Book #1 in the Milwaukee Wolfpack series
Number of pages: 326
Source: ARC from NetGalley
Ages 16 and up
CW: death of parent, chronic illness
A professional soccer player. An overworked executive. A marriage of convenience. And too many secrets. The first in a brand new series from Liz Lincoln.
Erika Parker-Ward is living the dream–her professional soccer career is on the rise, and she’s got her sights set on making the World Cup team for the US. But all of that could be over in a blink now that Erika’s been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.
Her plan? Keep the diagnosis hush hush by paying for private medical care, but the cost is threatening to bury her alive.
Nate Simmons owes all his success as a wealthy tech exec to the grandmother who took him in when he was orphaned at two. So when she wants to see him married before she dies of heart failure, he is ready to move mountains to give his beloved Oma her dying wish.
A chance meeting on the road brings these two desperate strangers together, and an evening of commiserating makes a potentially terrible plan seem pretty perfect: A marriage-of-convenience will give them both what they need.
It’s strictly business, and everybody knows you should never mix business with pleasure..
Erika and Nate have plenty of secrets to keep–from the press, and from each other–but the biggest secret of all might be their true feelings.
I have always enjoyed this author and was shocked to realize I haven’t read one of her books in 3 years! I was so excited to get an ARC of this story. Fake marriage/relationship is a favorite trope of mine. And although I’m not an avid sports fan, sports romance is another favorite of mine. Until this past month I had never read a soccer romance that I can recall, and now I’ve read two! In fact, most of the sports romance I have read has the MMC as the athlete, and both the soccer romance books I read the athlete is the FMC and I’m loving that.
Like I said, I’m not an avid sports fan. (Other than the Olympics, I’m a huge sports fan when it’s Olympics time!) I can hold my own in discussions about the “big three” of football, baseball, and basketball. We used to watch the Detroit Red Wings all the time and my husband played hockey growing up and even as an adult in some rec leagues so hockey romance stories are my jam. But I am quite clueless when it comes to soccer. My kids didn’t play, I didn’t play, my husband didn’t play, I remember having to drive my younger siblings to practice but never paid attention while there. So, I cannot attest to any accuracy of the way the sport is portrayed. From what I know of sports and pro athletes and the pressure they are under, I can only imagine the author did her homework and a lot of it is true to form.
Erika and Nate are instantly attracted to one another. This story started off with me thinking it would go one way, but went another. The direction the author decided to take in order to get this couple into a fake marriage really amped up the sexual tension in the story. They are really sweet to one another, truly kind and generous people who had such a wonderful connection that they just wanted to help each other out. Neither thought out the fact that their physical attraction would continue to grow as their emotional attraction grew.
When it comes to the core story here, I’m all in. Nate and Erika really care for each other and want what’s best for the other, not just themselves. Erika’s rheumatoid arthritis diagnoses is an interesting part of the storyline, something that isn’t seen much in romance. I appreciate the fear, frustration, and confusion are given their due and not just mentioned in passing. I especially love the author’s descriptions of people. Too often we are only given a nationality, race, or gender if the character being talked about is not a cisgender white person. The author chose to give a description of all characters that were introduced, meaning there were descriptions of middle-aged brunette white women and young black women. I love the normalization the author is helping to put forward so we don’t always assume if a character is mentioned they are white, that’s not how the world works.
There were some issues I did have that have more to do with timelines and continuity than the heart of the story. It seemed very odd how long it took Erika’s very loving and supportive moms to meet her husband, and what happened with they found out their daughter was married wasn’t even described. There is a dog that absolutely serves no person. I even noted, when the dog is mentioned at the halfway mark, that I had forgotten about the dog. I’m not quite sure why he’s included.
For the most part, this book moved well and kept me engaged. It just needed some tightening up.
**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**