The All-Star Antes Up by Nancy Herkness (Wager of Hearts #2)

The All-Star Antes Up by Nancy HerknessAvailable: May 31, 2016 Amazon/B&N

Type: Contemporary Romance/Sports

Publisher: Montlake Romance

My Copy: NetGalley

Reviewer: Kim

“No strings, no rings.” That’s Luke Archer’s motto. As the champion quarterback for the New York Empire—not to mention a self-made billionaire—Luke has given up on serious relationships. Women only want him for one thing: the thrill of being with a superstar. And he can’t risk love distracting him from his next Super Bowl victory. But when his best friend announces he’s retiring from football to spend time with his wife and kids, Luke feels like he’s missing out on something much bigger than his career.

The assistant concierge in Luke’s luxury high-rise, Miranda Tate fled her family’s dairy farm to come to the bright lights of New York City. She works hard to move up and sends her spare earnings home to her brother. When she and Luke meet, there’s an instant attraction, but they’re in completely different leagues. Could Miranda be just the woman Luke needs to win the most important game of his life?

The All Star Antes Up is the second in the Wager of Hearts series. I have not read the first book but had no problem picking up this story. The prologue explains the background very well and I did not miss a beat. This book can be read as a standalone. This book tells the story of Luke Archer, NFL quarterback.

Luke Archer is a 36 years old man dedicated to the sport of football. He eats, breathes and sleeps football, even during the off season. One night he walks into a the prestigious Bellwether Club where he places a bet with CEO, Nathan Trainer and an author, Gavin Miller, in which they have to fall in love and become engaged within a year. The three men each bet something very close to their hearts so the stakes are very high. Luke plans to start finding love after the season is over but thanks to his free loading brother, Trevor, Luke is going to meet her sooner than later.

Miranda Tate is a concierge in the apartment building where Luke and his brother live. Miranda is a hard worker and truly enjoys her job. She is helping to support her family back home at the dairy farm her brother is running. After one night of denying Luke’s brother Trevor’s request for a hooker, Miranda is summoned to her boss’s office along with Trevor and Luke to be reprimanded. Luckily for Miranda, Luke figures out exactly what Trevor asked for and puts the fire out with her boss.

After their encounter, Luke wants to thank Miranda with tickets to a game to which she takes her family. They both start to realize there is something more between them and Luke tries to pursue Miranda. What works even more in Luke’s favor is being on the side lines for a week which gives him the opportunity to spend time with Miranda. It really takes some finesse as she does not want anyone to find out about them even going to dinner together. Working as a concierge she knows anonymity is what is best for the time they have together.

Towards the middle of the books is where it fell apart for me. I enjoyed the idea of Luke and Miranda’s story. I loved the scenes where they were out exploring the city and going to the ballet. As soon as the sex started, I felt it went downhill from there. Luke says to Miranda that she deserves better than having sex in the limo on the way home yet they have sex in his home gym and on the floor? The line that did me in though.. ”and now, sugar, let’s get to know each other.” Luke just kept referring to her as “sugar” and I have to say that irritated me to no end. Luke and Miranda definitely had chemistry together but the sex scenes needed a little something different. It was just not my cup of tea.

By this point, I really didn’t know if I could finish the story. I’m glad I did though. This really is a very well written romance between Miranda and Luke and I love the whole story line of the bet. I enjoyed when Luke messed up (and you know they always do) the extremes he went to just to fix things with Miranda. I also enjoyed their HEA. However, I just could not get past the sex scenes.

I give the All Star Antes Up by Nancy Herkness 3 stars!

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