Review: Saving Hearts by Rebecca Crowley


Title: Saving Hearts (Atlanta Skyline #3)
Author: Rebecca Crowley
Genre: Sports romance, soccer, gambling, anxiety
Release Date: 20 March 2018

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My rating: 4 Stars



Atlanta Skyline’s benched goalkeeper Brendan Young would have been happy to ride out the end of his contract after his gambling addiction was splashed all over the news media. Instead, his teammates’ injuries have unexpectedly put him back in the game. A new face in his weekly Gamblers Anonymous meeting provides another surprise spike — of pure attraction. Why is Erin Bailey, former world champion women’s soccer player, at this meeting? And why can’t he stop thinking about their red-hot one-night stand? 

Six months ago, one reckless night in Vegas ended with Erin in Brendan’s bed. She’s sworn off dating athletes, especially those whose reputations could destroy her new career as the Championship Soccer League’s Director of Ethics and Advocacy. But the secret they share — and the crazy heat they generate — makes it impossible to keep her distance.

Both have choices to make about the future, but no matter how steeply the odds are stacked against them, walking away could be the riskiest move of all.


This was such an interesting, engrossing story and I absolutely loved it.

It's the third in the series and my second by this author and I have come to love her complex characters and the unusual take on sports romance. In this case we have a goalkeeper at the end of his career, his reputation ruined by a gambling scandal. And the heroine is a former pro footballer player herself, trying to further her career in the Championship soccer League but also boost women's soccer as much as she can. The cicumstances put them in opposite ends, turning them into enemies but ones with burning memories of a hot one-night stand between them and a shared secret (they both love gambling). 

Brendan was an amazing character and loved him so much. He is a bit of a loner, hiding so much from everyone - teammates and family, so lonely despite his success. I found the way he dealt with his anxiety and compulsive thoughts through focusing on sports statistics and placing bets on games really fascinating. 

He was on his way out of the soccer world and and his focus was fully on the post-sports future, new life, different goals. All this made him reluctant to start anything with Erin despite the chemistry between them. I read him as on the ace spectrum, the one-night stand they had was an exception for him rather than the rule and he was really not comfortable with a friends-with-benefits arrangement. I felt he was not interested in sex unless there were some romantic feelings involved and they were they on his part from the start and he just wanted to avoid the hurt the inevitable break-up would cause him.

Erin, oh Erin was fabulous. She was the opposite of Brendan - outgoing, outspoken, more sexually adventurous than him, definitely the one doing the chase rather than being wooed. She came off as pushy at times which I didn't like very much but she did try to come up with a solution that would work for both of them and in the end she did in a way. 

Like Brendan she is a gambler, though of a different kind. For him this was a way to deal with his anxiety and hyperactive mind, while for her it was a way to decompress and deal with stress. In different ways they both needed gambling to survive teh current turmoil in their lives, it was an escape which while financially profitable for him was otherwise disastrous for both of them.

Brendan's outlook on his gambling was something I have not read before. I felt he got better hold of his anxiety issues and found some calm after getting together with Erin. In my reading it was finding the partner he had been looking for and generally moving towards a situation that caused him less stress that helped Brendan cut down on his obsession with soccer statistics and betting. At the same time I have this tiny bit of worry that it might be interpreted as a love-cures-all solution and would have liked a stronger statement to the opposite in the text. On the other hand, Erin starts therapy for her gambling addiction which brings some balance to the story and treats addiction as a serious issue which requires professional help to deal with.

On the plus side I liked how Brandon and Erin made things work between them, neither giving up their dream but finding a compromise - more travel, some adjustments to his and her plans for the future in order to make room for their plans.

There was a plot twist towards the end which I found unnecessary and annoying. The journalist threatening them and the sudden change in the attitude of her boss and the way he came through as a saviour for them both in the end didn't sit well with me. I felt it took away the agency from Brendan and Erin to solve their issues/determine their future on their own. 

Overall, I enjoyed this romance a lot. We get two complex characters working through their differences in order to be together, making compromises and finding common ground for their future which is one of my favourite things in romance. 

Purchase Link: Amazon

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