Newly arrived on campus, I knew two things. 1) No one could know my dad was the president of the university and 2) football players were bad news.
My run in, the literal kind with my neighbor cranked up the heat and sparks flew.
A new college campus. A secret bound to explode in my face. And a football player neighbor who is bad news in the best of ways.
Reid Riddick was hotness personified, so of course I literally ran into with him–well, more like he plowed into me.
I didn’t know he was a football player when I started falling and now I can’t stop. A stolen kiss later and my heart races whenever he looks at me from across the quad.
But my secret would spell disaster for him.
I’m the daughter of the college president. The college president who’s been feuding with his football coach for years. Their bitter campus war leaves us teetering on the edges of a divide we can’t see a way across.
Resisting him is more than I can handle. He’s risking it all for me. His team standing. His football season. His pro future.
Throw in a campus gossip site. My out of control new friends. His way too hot roommates. College traditions. A secret campus bar and the only guy who’s ever made me feel like he can’t live without me. And I have one last secret.
Our star-crossed love is my first and I want him to be mine.
|Kiss and Tell
|STFU (Book 1)
|Pages / Length:
|418 / 11 hours, 22 minutes
Sports Romance (American Football)
|Point of View:
|First person, past tense, dual viewpoints (H & h)
|11th January, 2022
A new college series for your ears
I’m a huge fan of Maya Hughes and her writing and was really pleased when I heard that she was bringing out a new college-set American football series. This time we’re at St Francis University (aka STFU) in Pennsylvania. This team were the main rivals to Fulton University, from Hughes’ previous series. This is a completely clean break from those books, however, and this one stands alone with its own HEA. For this audiobook we have Stephen Dexter reading Reid and Desiree Ketchum reading Leona.
Leona is our heroine and I liked her from the moment she ran into Reid. She was a nerdy heroine who was sociable, fun and had the right amount of hangups to make her relatable. She was also a teeny, tiny bit unsure of herself which was definitely endearing. She had problems, sure, but she was never a whiner. She also stood up for herself when the chips were down – and I couldn’t help but admire her for that. She was someone I was rooting for from the moment she stepped on the page. Desiree does a believable job as Leona and I liked her voice. She doesn’t just act the part but she goes above and beyond – adding in little touches that gives you a fuller picture of conversations, emotions and thoughts. Top notch.
From the time he first bumps into Leona – literally – Reid is smitten. It was actually kind of adorable how flustered and tongue-tied he becomes around her, especially since it’s a completely foreign experience for him. Reid is all about football and is practically a God on campus which he’s definitely used to his advantage. He’s not a player but he definitely has more experience than Leona. Despite that, it’s Reid that’s more nervous in their encounters which again, was really sweet. I’ve heard and enjoyed Stephen Dexter’s performances before and this one was no different. Like Desiree, he fully acts out the part of Reid, shouting and all, which helped me to really connect with the character. I was less keen on his higher pitched portrayal of Leona (and other female voices) but it was in no way offensive or annoying.
With all the sweetness, you might be surprised to hear that Reid and Leona together were electric. They had enough chemistry to give me that lovely ‘butterflies in the stomach’ feeling every time that they were together. It didn’t hurt that their relationship was secret, so there was a lot of quick grabs, throw each other against the nearest surface, kisses and encounters. My favourite kind, if I’m honest!
I liked that the reasons why Reid and Leona couldn’t – or should’t – be together were completely believable. It would have been easy to go with a flimsy reason but this one felt solid. There were also little extras to do with the backgrounds of both Reid and Leona – mainly to do with their families. There was nothing overly consuming and it helped build up a better picture of our main characters.
As this is the beginning of a new series, we get to meet most of our main players for the rest of the books. This can feel like a lot of characters and information but things started to sort themselves out as I read. I can see why some readers might find this book lacking in comparison to the Fulton U books, but I loved it and I really do think that once the rest of the series comes out, coming back and reading this story will give people more love for Reid and Leona as we’ll hopefully continue to see them in the other guys’ stories. Even more so, from reading the book to listening to the audio, I feel I have a better understanding of the characters. Or perhaps it’s just by spending time with these characters again, I know and love them more.
I love Maya Hughes writing – she gives me just the right amount of drama, romance, sex, love and angst to ring all my bells. She has a way of writing characters that feel so alive that I almost feel I’m reading about friends rather than people from someone’s imagination. Whether you’re a long-time fan of Maya Hughes or this will be the first read of hers, I would highly recommend this book. It’s got everything you need for a satisfying, first in the series, listen.
* I received this book in exchange for my honest review *
Maya Hughes can often be found sneaking in another chapter while hiding in the bathroom from her kids! 🙂 I’m a romance writer who loves taking inspiration from everyday life, namely my husband and biggest fan. Inspiration also strikes when I hear a song, meet someone new or daydream while at soccer practice.
I’m the mom of three little ones, the wife to an amazing husband and also work full time. Some of my favorite things are cinnamon rolls, white wine, laughing until I can’t breathe and traveling with my family.