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At a boxing gym in Chicago, Mary Monahan accidentally knocks out the most handsome man she’s ever met. After she wakes him up with a few slaps and some smelling salts, the very first thing he does is ask her out for ribs and beer. His name is Jimmy. He looks like a Gillette model. And he’s just too hunky to resist.

Jimmy “The Falcon” Falconi is mystified that Mary has absolutely no idea who he is. Mystified and refreshed. He is, after all, not your everyday NFL quarterback. He shops at Costco, has a soft spot for Pinterest, and is in the midst of an epic losing streak.

Jimmy falls for Mary fast and hard, the way he does everything—balls out and like it’s fourth and long. And he realizes he’s finally met his match. That stamina he’s so proud of? Doesn’t stand a chance against her Kegels.

But what they don’t know is she’s also his new physical therapist, recently hired by the Bears to work on his rotator cuff…and groin injury. If she can’t help him, he’ll be traded faster than they can say “offensive penetration.”

In spite of the thousands of internet memes featuring Jimmy’s face with captions like: “HEY GIRL, WANT TO TOUCH MY BALLS?” Mary finds herself falling for him and his unrelenting desire to make her his.

Until a toddler shows up at Jimmy’s door.

And throws their lives into total chaos.


BOOK REVIEW: Hail Mary

Nicola Rendell

RATING:

“Don’t be scared. I have been waiting so f*cking long to meet someone who makes me feel exactly like I do with you. Like I’m safe, and loved, and needed. And like I’m not so alone after all.”

Wow, I think every piece of clothing on my body caught fire more than once while reading this crazy wonderful book. I admit, there’s always an added level of excitement that I feel from discovering a new author to me and falling in love with their every word for the very first time, but when I find myself quite literally entranced by their storytelling, falling hard and fast for their characters, the chemistry between them, their sense of humour, I want to shout it from the rooftops and make everyone feel as euphoric as I’ve felt while reading that book. Disguised as ‘just another’ steamy romantic comedy by a cover dripping with sexual innuendo, it took me just a few paragraphs to realise that this book was going to be so much more than its sultry packaging, and right from the start, the author surprised me with her confident, engaging prose that is romantic without being maudlin, witty without being silly, erotic and downright ‘dirrrty’ at times without being simply titillating or pandering to a set audience. A true gem in every possible way, this was an addictive, well-written, impassioned love story that I simply could not get enough of, making it one of my top reads of the year, and most decidedly, one of the best sports-themed romantic comedies I’ve ever read.

“I’ve never been kissed like that.”
He inhales deeply and his grip on my body tightens. Then he leans in closer, and runs his tongue along the edge of my ear. “I’m going to make you feel a lot of things you’ve never felt before.”

Jimmy “The Falcon” Falconi, starting quarterback for the Chicago Bears, never expected to meet his match while working out at a boxing gym, or to be outmatched by a bouncy little firecracker half his size, wearing bubblegum pink boxing gloves. But that is how Jimmy meets Mary Monahan—amateur boxer, physical therapist, and complete nonfan of football.

“What are you, 6’5″, 280?”
She knows her shit. “6’6”, 283.”
“No way, really?” She smiles so hard that it makes her nose wrinkle.
I cock my head as we head for the steps. “Yeah. Why?”
In my mind, she comes back with something like, You’re a beast, or, You’re huge, or, Is it true what they say about the correlation between shoe size and…
But instead she says, “Means you’re the biggest guy I’ve ever taken out!” Then she raises one mitten up into the air for a high-five. “Whoop, whoop! Hollaaaaaaa!”

From the moment they set eyes on one another, the attraction between them is immediate, visceral, palpable in its intensity, making them both eager to pursue that spark in the bedroom too. The more time they spend in each other’s company, however, getting to know one another and genuinely loving everything they discover, the more they realise that the pull between them is far more than skin-deep.

“Do you like dogs?” I ask, as casually as I can muster.
In my head, I swear to God, I hear the theme song from Jeopardy. This is a moment of truth. I’m not sure I’ll ever see this guy again, but I’d like to. I’m not sure I’ll ever know his lips on mine, but I want to. But this question, the dog question, this could be a deal-breaker. I find non-dog lovers to be very, very suspicious. I once heard Ted Bundy disliked dogs, and I thought, Of course he did. But this guy, Jimmy, he’s so perfect that we’ve got to be headed for a catastrophe. This might be it. Just my luck he’s going to say, I’m allergic, or I have twenty-nine cats, or I’m really into snakes.
Please, no.
“I f*cking love dogs.”
And the crowd goes wild!

But it is not until they reach the bedroom that they truly discover just how well they fit together, in every way imaginable, and as many times as their bodies will let them. We are not only treated to a deliciously erotic smorgasbord of some of the hottest and ‘dirrrties’ sex acts I have ever had the pleasure of reading, but we also get to watch their emotional connection deepen through those acts, giving them reason to open up to one another and reveal the many colourful facets to their characters. In Jimmy, we discover a man past his professional prime who is desperate to break a losing streak and keep playing a sport that has defined him his entire adult life. Beneath his cocky, larger-than-life persona, we find a man who is gentle, sweet, unaffected by his wealth, and wholly devoted to those he loves. There is an inherent ‘softness’ to him that stands in stark contrast to his rugged physical appearance, and the more we explore than sentimental, hidden side to him, the harder we fall for him. And in Mary, we discover a kind, compassionate young woman who is not afraid of battling her deepest fears, and loving with her whole heart. They complement each other perfectly, and when together, sparks fly.

“Christ. I can’t get you out of my head.”
“It’s been two hours!”
“That’s a long-ass time to be stuck on a loop.”

As their still budding relationship faces the many challenges thrown their way—from questionable dating pasts, to uncertain professional futures—we watch them tackle them together, one by one, while falling deeper and deeper in love with one another. Their extraordinary emotional bond becomes the missing link in every single aspect of their lives, the very thing they’ve both been waiting for, and every scene between them takes our breath away.

A sensuous, utterly riveting tale that I adored from the first page to the very last, this was a book I cannot recommend highly enough to anyone seeking a heartfelt, impeccably written, passionate love story that you won’t be able to put down. And, oh Lordy, were the sex scenes ever delicious!

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“I want to love you so hard that it takes your breath away.”
“Do you? Love me?”
“F*ck yes, you have to know that. You have to know I love you f*cking senseless. To the moon and back. I love you. I do.”

Excerpt

Into my ear, he whispers, “Get ready, because I’m going to kiss you.”

“I’m ready.” I take the buttons of his Henley in my fist and pull him closer.

“You fucking better be.”

Inhaling hard against my cheek, he places his thumb to my jaw, keeping my face steady in his huge, warm hand. Harder and harder he pushes me against the wall. I let my purse fall onto the snowy sidewalk so that I can pull him close with both arms. Through half-closed eyes, I notice the traffic light turn to yellow, then red, as he kisses me deeper and deeper. The kiss says, This is who I am. This is how I am. I grip his head with my palms as his fingers find their way down past my panties at the small of my back. The rush of cold sends a prickle up my spine.

He isn’t careful about his split lip, like he doesn’t feel anything but me, but this, but us, in the middle of a snowstorm on a street corner. As the traffic light turns to green, I feel dreamy and far away. I’ve forgotten to breathe. It’s that kind of kiss. A take-your-breath-away, forget-where-you-are, kiss. Finally, I gasp for air, but don’t part from him. I bring one hand around the back of his head. Under my cold fingers, I feel the short hair at the nape of his neck, the warmth of his skin at the edge of his collar.

At last, he pulls himself from me, and I’m left speechless, breathless, lost in his arms. For a second, we just stare at each other. Then he draws me up against his chest, sheltering me from the cold.

I rest my cheek against him, the ridges of his thermal shirt pressing into my skin. With an effortless movement of his thumb, he draws my face up so I’m looking right at him. Those blue eyes sparkle in the neon lights from the building behind me.

“I’ve never been kissed like that.”

He inhales deeply and his grip on my body tightens. Then he leans in closer, and runs his tongue along the edge of my ear. “I’m going to make you feel a lot of things you’ve never felt before.”

Oh my God.

Once I’m able to speak again, I whisper back, “Maybe. Never know. Maybe we could teach each other a thing or two.” I lift myself up on my tiptoes and run my tongue along the edge of his ear to that place where it meets his jaw. I smell the very smallest hint of cologne, a clean, sharp, woodsy smell like nothing else in the world.

“Fuck, Mary,” he groans. “I like you, you know that?”

It’s so simple, so beautiful, that I don’t even know how to answer. I think this is what they call chemistry. Explosive, nuclear chemistry. I pull his mouth to mine again, and get lost for another round of green-yellow-red. His forearm lines the curve of my back, and he growls a little as he presses my hips back against the wall with his. He is intoxicating. Double India Pale Ale, move aside. Jimmy is here.

When he lets me go again, he takes my face in his hands, the way I did when I was trying to bring him back to consciousness. His eyes shift back and forth between mine, finally settling on the left. “I’m going to take you home now. And we’re going to fuck. You’re going to make it up to me for knocking me out. You’re going to let me do what I need to do.” He nudges my cheek with his nose. “You with me?”

It’s a full-body shudder that starts in my thighs and ends in my fingertips. “Please. Do it. All of it.”

“I will.” He nips my lower lip. Then he adds, “I’m going to be a gentleman and say I’ll come shovel you out tonight. But I won’t.”

“Won’t you?” I whisper.

“Hell, no. The only thing I’m going to be doing tonight is you.”

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113 Comments Hide Comments

Love this excerpt and your review! It really does sound like a very good story. Can’t wait to read it! It has been moved up to next on my list. Yay!

Your adoration for this story as you were living it is one of the MANY reasons I’m a devoted follower/friend/BJ. Such a fun thing to live a story through you and then get to do it again on my own!!

Oh…wow…I need to get this ASAP!! That or i need to stop reading stuff Natasha posts… :) I haven’t been disappointed yet!!

You reviews definitely have the ability for me to happily read anything you rave about!! 🙈 ‘And the crowd goes wild!’ Love it !!!! This will be my Friday night read…

I haven’t had the pleasure of reading one of Nicola’s books but Hail Mary sounds like a very steamy read. Can’t wait to read it !!

the experience of reading all your updates on fbook as you devoured this book was so much fun! I loved the excitement and can’t wait to experience it myself.

Just this small excerpt from this book makes me want to binge read it &
get lost in this world of pure perfection because yes…. One day i will get my
take-your-breath-away, forget-where-you-are, kiss.
I really wanna win this giveaway but if not i am still reading this
fkn book because i have to read to how can no one not read this. <3

This review and excerpt makes me really excited to read this book. I love sports romances but I haven’t read too many of them. Thanks for the giveaway!

Amazing giveaway and amazing book. I just need this paperback to have all her 3 books!!! I’m a huge fan of her work!!

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