Title: Line of Scrimmage
Author: Marie Force
Copyright: 2008 (Sourcebooks); 356 pgs.
Genre: Contemporary Romance (second chance)
Spoiler-ish: I tried to be vague about a certain plot point, but if you’re good at ‘reading between the line’ and guessing things, read at you’re own risk.
Her: Susannah Sanderson. Susannah’s on the verge of divorcing her super-star quarterback husband, Ryan Sanderson, and marrying a man who has a normal job, and who can give her the quiet life she’s wants.
Him: Ryan Sanderson. After winning the Super Bowl for the third time, Ryan has only ten days to change Susannah’s mind before the divorce is final.
Sanderson vs. Sanderson: Susannah has long felt that she comes in second in his life, after football. The point is re-enforced when Ryan returns to playing shortly after a family tragedy. Years of worrying for his safety on the field and watching other women coming on to him all the time have fed her insecurities and compounded the problem. She’s finally had enough and filed for divorce. The judge insists on a six month cooling off period. Ryan spends that time playing football; Susannah spends part of that time planning her wedding.
In His Defense: Instead of turning to her husband in their time of grief, Susannah made Ryan feel like it was his fault. She chose to turn to her family for comfort. Hurting himself and feeling unwanted, Ryan returned to the only thing that made sense to him: football. Had he asked for it, he probably could have asked for gotten a leave of absence, but what would have been the point if Susannah was closing herself off to him, refusing to talk about things. Not helping the situation is the fact her family has never thought highly of him. She came from money; he was raised by a poor, single mother in Texas. To them, Ryan is just a dumb jock, no matter what his college diploma reads. Her family approves of Henry Merrill, the man she’s on the verge of marrying. Though Ryan is hardly perfect, he’s never cheated on Susannah nor has he ever been tempted to do so. She means the world to him, and he knows that she’s part of the reason he’s not just another over-paid prima donna with a bad boy reputation. She keeps him grounded.
Reconciliation: Talking about the tragedy and its aftermath goes a long way in starting the healing process; however, there’s Henry and his parents, and Susannah’s own family who all think that she’s making a mistake. And then there are Susannah’s own insecurities. No matter how sincere and up front Ryan is, Susannah still jumps to the wrong conclusion about him and his actions. Near the end, after Henry’s last vindictive attempt to break them up, I felt that Ryan was on the brink of falling out of love with her. He doesn’t, of course. He knows if he lets things fester and allows it to drive them apart, Henry would win.
Verdict: One of the reasons I liked this book as much as I did was the fact that, when the book starts, Ryan seems to be just another smug, alpha male jerk who thinks he can win the wounded party over with a few kisses and promises. But Ryan knows he’s screwed up big time; he is sincere and he’s willing to beg for a second chance. Once he got to tell his side of the story, I started rooting for him.
Downside: At times, I found myself wanting to shake either Ryan or Susannah — mostly Susannah in the latter half of the book — when one of them did or said something stupid. And I really would have liked to have seen someone deck Henry.
Recommend to: Those looking for a straight-forward, non-paranormal romance and those who enjoy second chance romances. It’s light on football — the season is over when the book starts — so non-sports buffs can breath a little easier and give the book a chance.
Started: 22 September 2009
Finished: 29 September 2009