Author: Adriana Locke
People say not to believe the things you read in magazines, but you know what? Most things you’ve heard about me are probably true.
I totally banged the reporter in the locker room after the championship game last year.
Those pictures in Expose from last summer? Those were not modified.
I’m also not really six-foot tall. (But let’s keep that between us.)
Now, I know you’re wondering about that last Expose headline—the one about me and my teammate (and ex-best friend) Finn Miller’s sister, Layla James. That one is a little more complicated.
Here’s the thing: I’ve played football my whole life. If there’s one thing I know, it’s how to adjust when the game changes. And if there’s one thing I always do, it’s find a way to win.
Granted, the stakes are higher. The playbook has changed. There’s more on the line than (another) MVP title. But guess what hasn’t changed? Me. I’m still Branch “Lucky” Best and I’m not about to fumble this one.
Grab a seat and a subscription to Expose. I’m about to make some headlines. (Again.)
A sexy, swoon-filled standalone novel.
Let me be the first to tell you that Branch Best is quite the player – both on and off the football field. And from my perspective, it’s easy to see why Branch lives his life with no commitments other than the ones to his teammates and his organization, and I have to admit that I respect the hell out of him for living his life that way because I’d much rather him be a manwhore who finds it difficult to stay out of the celebrity news magazines than a cheater who has no respect for his significant other or the women he cheats with because that kind of guy isn’t a man at all!
To the public eye, Branch is the life of the party, taking advantage of every perk that comes with being a pro player and living his life according to the three W’s – women-weed-work. And if you’re someone who wants a piece of him, he’ll gladly give you a chance, but you’ll never truly know him or understand that beneath his playboy exterior is a guy who’s just trying to find some balance…some normalcy in a setting that is abnormal.
But away from the industry…away from the fan girls…away from the limelight, Branch can just be Branch and find a bit of peace in his life of total chaos, and maybe even meet a woman whose calming presence makes him want to connect with her in ways that he’s never wanted to since he entered the NFL and even though Branch thinks he can make adjustments on the fly when a part of the game changes, Layla James doesn’t play football and life sometimes throws an audible that no one ever saw coming.
Adriana Locke does a good job of illustrating the varying layers of Branch’s personality as well as how incompatible Branch and Layla’s lives appear to be. But what Locke also showcases is that perhaps things happen for a reason and that life has a bigger game plan for people than they realize and they just need to be able to adapt as well as realize that when an opportunity arises that offers something better regardless of how difficult it is to change, that’s the Hail Mary play that needs to be called.
There’s fantastic commentary in Branch and Layla’s story about the environment and lifestyle that professional athletes find themselves in once they sign their contracts – it’s a world that is incredibly hedonistic, and it’s extremely difficult to remain true to who the players were before the money and fame due to its lavishness and the limitless opportunities offered simply because they wear a team’s jersey.
Branch and Layla’s journey isn’t an easy one, for either of them, due to a number of obstacles that include a brother who will go to extremes to protect his sister. There’s a lot that the main characters have to deal with on a personal level because that’s the only way that they’ll ever be able to find the balance they both need in order to make things work regardless of what that means.
4.5 Poison Apples
“One question,” Poppy interjects, looking at Branch. “What position are you?”
“I typically like the bottom so I can watch—oomph,” he says, getting another elbow from Finn. “Wide receiver. Why?”
Looking at Poppy, I can’t help but laugh as her eyes light up.
“You got a problem with wide receivers?” Branch asks.
“You do,” Finn interjects, giving me a narrowed glare. “They aren’t any better than quarterbacks.”
Branch looks from me, to Finn, and back to me. “Why do we not like quarterbacks?”
“My sister was dating Callum Worthington.”
“No shit?” His face puckers like he just bit into a lemon. “How in the hell did that cocksucker end up with you?”
“He didn’t. We’re not together anymore.”
Branch’s eyes heat, the look causing my pulse to quicken. “I’m not a bit sorry to hear that.”
“You better forget you heard any of that,” Finn warns. “This is my sister, Branch. Not a cheerleader or reporter or some chick from a dating app. Got it?”
“Finn, relax,” I say, shoving a swallow past the lump in my throat. “I appreciate the big brother spiel, but
I can handle myself.”
“I know you can,” he says, pulling his gaze away from Branch. “But you can’t handle him.”
USA Today and Amazon Top 10 Bestselling author Adriana Locke lives and breathes books. After years of slightly obsessive relationships with the flawed bad boys created by other authors, Adriana has created her own.
She resides in the Midwest with her husband, sons, and two dogs. She spends a large amount of time playing with her kids, drinking coffee, and cooking. You can find her outside if the weather’s nice and there’s always a piece of candy in her pocket.
Please contact Adriana at http://www.adrianalocke.com/. She loves to hear from readers.