Time of Possession
Seattle Lumberjacks #5
by Jami Davenport
~The clock's ticking down, and Estelle Harris and Lumberjacks quarterback Brett Gunnels are about to enter crunch time.~
Supposedly undersized for the NFL, Brett Gunnels went off to do a stint in the US Army right out of high school. Returning damaged yet stronger and more determined than ever to prove himself, he was picked last in the draft. Mr. Irrelevant, they called him. The last few years as a backup quarterback have given him no opportunity to compete for the starting job. That's why he has a chip on his shoulder the size of Puget Sound.
Estelle Harris is engaged to a man she doesn't love, working a job she hates, and fooling everyone including herself in the process. Her love of animals is the only thing that gives her purpose—a love she shares with the Lumberjacks reclusive quarterback. And then their mutual friendship turns a hot, dark, forbidden corner and there's no going back.
True love is like football. It's not always how long you have the ball. It's what you do when you get it.
The woman of Brett's dreams stood in the open doorway wearing a black sweater covered in dog hair.
Forget that she was as tall—or taller—than him. Forget that her brother happened to be a premier asshole and the Seattle Lumberjacks' starting quarterback, well, at least until he'd torn his ACL yesterday.
Forget that she wore a diamond on her ring finger that would have choked Hoss Price, the team's mammoth starting center.
Forget all that. Standing there on the porch, Brett Gunnels fell in love at first sight—or definitely in lust. He didn't know if it was her brilliant sky-blue eyes, her beautiful face, the dog hair, or a combination of all three. He only knew that he was hooked with just one glance.
“Come on in.” Estelle Harris smiled at him, a kind, warm smile, a smile that cast light into all those dark corners he swore would never see the light of day again. His heart kicked into overdrive and slammed against his rib cage, while his lungs forgot breathing was their purpose.
She turned and ushered him into her house. Brett stared after her, his body motionless and temporarily rendered out of service like a city bus at the end of its nightly run.
She glanced over her shoulder, and her curious expression rebooted his brain.
He lurched forward and stumbled on the threshold but recovered nicely and stepped into the modest entryway, his pride in tatters. Her amused grin spread heat through his body faster than a California wildfire in high winds.
God, she was stunning, and way out of his league in so many ways.
“I hope you're Brett, and I didn't just let a Ted Bundy copycat into my house.” Her sweet laughter wrapped around him like a warm blanket on a cold winter night.
Brett shook his head, appalled she might be serious. “Yes, I'm Brett. And you are Tyler's sister Estelle?” He cringed at the stiff formality in his voice. Again that smile, like Mona Lisa. Only Mona Lisa had nothing over this woman.
“Everyone calls me Estie.”
“Estie then.” His own smile rushed to his lips and refused to cease and desist. He probably looked like a half-witted, grinning fool. He held out his hand. She took his in her soft one with a firm grip of long, sexy fingers. He stared at their joined hands, hers with the cotton candy pink fingernails and his with its bumps and scars. Her hand was so soft, so feminine, so perfect.
Estie cleared her throat. Finally, she slid her hand from his grasp, giving him an odd look. He'd been hanging on too tight and too long. The heat rose to his cheeks and ears to rival the heat in the rest of his body. Way to go, Gun. Make an idiot of yourself with the first woman who’s interested you in eons.
Estie walked across the room like an angel gliding through clouds and stopped in front of a bird cage. She pointed at the large parrot inside who had cocked his head and was watching them both. “And the name of your foul-mouthed friend here? Lavender was in such a hurry to fly to San Fran to be with Tyler, she never told me this guy's name.”
Estie laughed again, and her voice took on this breathless quality as if he affected her as much as she affected him. Her deep blue eyes—so much like her brother's, but he wouldn’t hold that against her—mesmerized him. All that romantic shit he'd heard over the years from his sisters hit him like a speeding car on the freeway. His brain did a free-fall into a self-induced coma, his feet became one with the floor, and his heart pounded louder than a series of bombs dropping on an enemy target.
“The parrot? What is his name?” Estie frowned as she repeated her question and her neatly plucked brow furrowed. Brett blinked several times in an attempt to signal his brain to snap out of it.
Obviously tired of waiting for his dumbshit owner to get a grip, the African Gray took matters into his own wings, “Bongo, pretty lady. Bongo. Bongo wants to see you naked.”
Her eyes grew big, and she stared at the parrot with her gorgeously sinful mouth hanging open. To her credit, she recovered quickly and peered inside the cage, a smile once again tugging the corners of those pink lips. “You're a little devil, Bongo. I've been asking you your name all evening.”
“Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you.” Bongo rang a little bell attached to his perch for emphasis.
This time Estie laughed, an amused tinkling laugh. “Did you say you left him with my brother?”
Brett nodded. “You can tell, huh?” Tyler Harris was known for his fondness of the F-word, a bad habit he'd passed on to the bird, or more likely trained into the bird.
“Absolutely.” Again the Mona Lisa smile. Damn, he was going to have to get a print of that painting and hang it in his bedroom, but then he'd never get any sleep.
“I can't leave him alone, especially not for a few days; he gets lonely and destructive. I used to put him in animal daycare, but they kicked him out for bad behavior and worse language. Then I left him with a neighbor kid to babysit. His mother had a fit when Bongo told her husband that she was messing around with the college student next door.”
“I have no idea,” he chuckled.
“So you put it back on my brother to provide babysitting since he taught the little guy some naughty words.”
“Something like that. Lavender loves animals, and she didn’t mind. I really appreciate you stepping in to help me out.”
“It's all for the animals.” She walked into the living room, tastefully furnished with overstuffed furniture covered with neatly folded blankets, most likely for her furry children. Oh, lord, a woman after his own heart, with the comfort of her animals coming first. Despite the animal comforts, nothing was out of place, nothing like his messy house, nor did it smell like animals lived there. In fact, it smelled wonderful, like a combination of spring blossoms and a mountain meadow. The hardwood floors gleamed, not one fluffy cloud of dust and cat hair anywhere, and he was pretty sure she had a cat based on the pictures on her mantle.
Brett followed her, his eyes dropping to her blue-jeans-clad ass, a really, really nice ass, and those long take-me-to-heaven legs. Any guy in his right mind would fantasize about those legs.
Brett tugged on his collar and wiped his brow. He cleared his throat and swallowed. He was hooked, but judging by that impressive diamond ring, so was she. Leave it to him to fall for an unattainable woman—wouldn't be the first time. As the Jacks' backup quarterback, women looked right past him to the starters. It was the story of his life, and he was used to it. Not that he'd grown complacent, but being pissed about the hand life dealt you wasn't his way. He was first and foremost a fighter.
****4 -Cheers to the Underdog- Stars****
~this review may contain minor spoilers~
The opportunity of a lifetime had just fallen into Brett's lap. He'd be damned if he'd fumble it into early retirement. No way in hell. He'd take that damn ball and run with it. The guys were counting on him. This was his time and his team.
Today was the day Mr. Irrelevant ceased to exist.
~There was a lot I liked about this story, there where also some things I didn't really love, but in the end it was a sweet romance about an underdog who desperately needed a break and a little bit of love in his life. This was book five in the Seattle Lumberjacks series but it reads like it could also be a standalone, having not read the previous books there was no confusion for me just a desire to read more into the other characters. The cast was loaded with tons of fun people, some douches, and amazing animals-I really want a Bongo in my life ;)
Before Brett Gunnels was the last draft pick becoming the backup quarterback for the Seattle Lumberjacks, he entered the US Army fresh out of high school. Having never played in an actual game, spending most of his time on the sidelines deemed to small for the NFL, he becomes known as Mr. Irrelevant. If that's not enough to leave a chip on his shoulder, he also suffers from PTSD and is estranged from his family. The one thing that helps him through the night, is his little family of pets. He is a lover of animals but he would be lying if he said he wasn't a little lonely at times, but his PTSD keeps him from getting too close from anyone. Brett gets the opportunity of his life when the Lumberjacks star Quarterback gets injured knocking him out of the game for the rest of the season, this is his chance to prove to everyone that he has what it takes to take his team all the way to the super bowl-but it won't be easy. Stepping into such big shoes so late in the season, finding a rhythm with the rest of the team, and winning under all that pressure with take all he has to give. The last thing he needs is a distraction, but then he meets Estie and everything changes. They have so much in common and their chemistry is out of this world-but she is off limits.
A lonely existence, but he'd managed with his animals and football in his life. Until he saw glimpses of what a real relationship with a hot, beautiful, loving woman could be like.
Only it was forbidden. She was engaged, and he was too broken deep down inside where it couldn't be patched. Despite all their similar interests, the obstacles between them were insurmountable.
The largest of all existed inside his own screwed-up head and her equally confused brain.
Estie Harris is a control freak of the highest degree- she always has her life all planned out and never deviates from that path. She is engaged to a man she does not love, and has a job she hates-but they fit into her perfectly controlled life. She may not want to admit she isn't truly happy, but everything is in order and going according to plan. Then she meets Brett and instantly feels a connection to the man who shares her love of animals....but she fights it. There is a darkness to Brett that would bring chaos to her ordered world and she doesn't believe she has it in her to take that on, besides-she is engaged to be married, she already has her life planned out and will not change routes; she doesn't have it in her. But sometimes our hearts make our choices for us, it is up to Estie to figure out weather to listen to her heart or her head, but will she be too late.
~There was some definite insta-love going on in here and that always drives me a bit crazy, I was able to get past it though with the help of some nutty animals and a foul-mouthed bird, Bongo really did crack me up. Estie annoyed me quite a bit, though I still liked her character, her stubbornness was UnFrigginBelievable. I just wanted to shake the shit outta her. Brett on the other hand was just amazing. Sexy, insecure yet confident, sweet, caring and a definite fighter. Him I just wanted to hug. I was also more than a little surprised by Esties's fiancé, Richard-but I'll let you figure that one out when you read this. In the end, even with the things that bugged me, I enjoyed this book, it characters and the authors writing enough that I want to check out the other books in this series and whatever else she may bring us in the future.
“I like you. We have tons in common. I think we'll be great friends.”
“I like you, too.” Like her, hell. He was in love with her, obsessed with her, and fucking crazy about her. Brett sat there, stunned at the realization. He'd never put what he felt in those terms, never fallen like this for any woman, never been in love before, but he was pretty sure this is what it felt like.
This just was not him. Not one fucking bit. He'd be damned if he knew what to do about it, except to try to keep seeing her any pathetic way he could.
An advocate of happy endings, Jami Davenport writes sexy romantic comedy, sports hero romances, and equestrian fiction. Jami lives on a small farm near Puget Sound with her Green Beret-turned-plumber husband, a Newfoundland cross with a tennis ball fetish, a prince disguised as an orange tabby cat, and an opinionated Hanoverian mare.
Jami works in IT for her day job and is a former high school business teacher and dressage rider. In her spare time, she maintains her small farm and socializes whenever the opportunity presents itself. An avid boater, Jami has spent countless hours in the San Juan Islands, a common setting in her books. In her opinion, it is the most beautiful place on earth.