Lucky Number Eleven by Adriana Locke

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Lucky Number Eleven by 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.)

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When I started reading this book, it reminded me, immediately, why I love reading sports romance. Adriana Locke has this uncanny ability to let the characters connect while also making you laugh and grin and smirk as you read. Within the first few chapters, I was giggling and felt like I was right in the story. That feeling is one of the reasons I love to read.

Layla and Branch meet one weekend, when Layla and her friend, Poppy, show up to a family cabin in Illinois. Unbeknownst to them, Finn, Layla’s brother, and Branch also went to the cabin for a weekend break. Finn and Poppy have an off and on again thing happening. But Finn tells Branch that his sister is strictly off limits. But the chemistry between Branch and Layla is undeniable.

Layla is really spectacular and I loved the way her character was written. As a reader, it was easy for me to see why Branch was attracted to her. I don’t mean that just through looks, but from her actual personality. She’s funny, intelligent, and isn’t afraid to push Branch back a bit. But I also loved seeing the side of her that was serious, that had stresses. I feel like in a lot of sports romances, the heroine can be a bit sharp, in terms of fighting the relationship or thinking the guy is just a playboy athlete. I felt like the author kept a really good balance going, where we see Layla’s caution but we also see her still being carefree and letting herself fall for Branch.

Branch’s character was just…I don’t even know. I loved him so much. Again, you can see why people fell in love with him. He’s hilariously funny, charismatic, but yet when his serious side comes out, he really shines. Branch has been a star for awhile, and he knows immediately what people see when they look at him, especially women. He might seem like a jerk in some instances, but he’s incredibly self-aware and thoughtful.

I’ve been a big fan of this author for awhile now. One of my favorite parts of this book are the little nuggets from her other books. They are really subtle and thrown in inconspicuously. If you just opened this book and had never read anything from the author, you’d be none the wiser. But if you’ve been a longtime fan, you get treats from a past character popping in, or a sports team showing up. I appreciate the way this author does this for a few reasons. First, I love seeing past characters. When you really love a book, you start to miss those characters. But I like that the author brings them in so subtly. Do you ever read a book and there are so many characters swirling around and you can’t keep track of them, and then you start to feel like you’re missing something? This doesn’t happen here. The author keeps it casual and the longtime reader is delighted to see their favorite characters pop in, but it never ends up being a big production where you’re trying to keep track of a zillion people.

If you love sports romance, you should definitely read this book. If you’re also looking to laugh, and maybe cry, and feel like you’ve never felt, then you should pick this book up.

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