I love it when a book takes me by surprise, and The Red Zone by Amie Knight totally swept me off my feet. It’s a real feel good story and I absolutely loved it.
The romance between Lukas and Scarlett may be a slow burn but the pacing is just right in my opinion. The whole story flows beautifully and I love the inclusion of their friends and family, even if some of those friendships take some time to evolve and are hard won. There were moments of sadness and reflection but I felt the author kept the overall feel of the book lighthearted. For me, it has just the right amount of drama and angst to give the story depth.
The star of the show was Ella, who is an absolute sweetheart. Her character was beautifully written with respect and understanding. Lukas’ devotion and love for her stole my heart and made me fall for him even more.
There’s lots of wonderful banter between Lukas and Scarlett, brilliantly written, and the many laugh out loud moments earned me some funny looks from my family, particularly when one “hair raising” scene had me in hysterics. The simmering, smouldering sexual tension between them is off the charts but I especially love the way they’re friends before lovers. I have to admit there were moments when I got frustrated with Scarlett and I really wanted to shake some sense into her for dwelling on the past too much. She’s such a lovely person though, a special needs teacher with a big heart, that it was easy to forgive her hesitation and indecisiveness where Lukas was concerned. There are some great supporting characters too and I’m really hoping we get their stories in the future. Scarlett’s interactions with her brother were really fun. I’m dying to know what he’s all about. I want to know more about Mason as well and I have a feeling there’s more to him than meets the eye.
When I finished this story, I felt as though I’d been wrapped in a warm, cosy blanket, almost like a big hug. A truly fabulous, emotional book, full of fun and humor, The Red Zone is sweet, and sexy and was an absolute joy to read.
They say the red zone is the hardest place to score.
But for me, those last twenty yards were my sweet spot.
They didn’t call me Lukas “Last Minute Lucy” Callihan for nothing.
I was at the top of my game…until life sacked me harder than any linebacker ever could.
Losing my mom was devastating and left me as the sole person responsible for my little sister.
Taking care of Ella and juggling my career was like playing the hardest game of my life.
My only saving grace was Scarlett Knox, Ella’s sexy, red-headed, no-nonsense teacher.
She loved Ella. She hated me.
She thought I sucked at this parenting thing, and she wasn’t wrong.
But whenever she was around I got the same earth-shattering, heart-stopping feeling I did when I was only twenty yards from the goal line.
She made me feel like I was back in the red zone, a place I’d never fumbled.
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“He is just Lukas Callihan. He is not God. You can resist him. You are his sister’s teacher. He will probably leave and break your heart all over again. You can abstain. And you will.”
Feeling strong and tipsy, I yelled, “Hell, yeah!” as I left the bathroom and plowed right into a hard wall of muscle. “Oomph.”
I almost fell back on my ass hard, but two strong hands wrapped around my upper arms and held me steady. I blinked and two molten brown eyes smiled down at me.
“You okay?” Lukas questioned.
I nodded frantically because he was so close and my willpower was so low. All of my inhibitions had flown the coop, the alcohol only hurting my resolve in the long run. I wanted to lean in and kiss him right on those gorgeous lips. Damn him. “I’m great. Perfect! Wonderful!” Oh my God, why couldn’t I shut up? “And why the hell didn’t you tell Mason we knew each other?”
Using his pointer finger, he tapped his own chest. “Me? Why the hell didn’t you?”
I threw my hands out in front of me. “Because it was awkward after you didn’t!”
He grabbed my arm and dragged me down a small, dimly lit hallway near the bathrooms until we were alone. “Speaking of Mason. I don’t think you should go out with him.”
“What?” Of course I wasn’t going out with Mason. I had no intention of dating Mason. I wasn’t interested in him, but I didn’t think that had anything to do with Lukas.
He ran a nervous hand through his hair and I almost softened. Until I saw his jaw tick and he ground out, “I don’t want you going out with Mason.”
My eyebrows landed at my hairline. “Excuse me?”
I couldn’t be hearing him right. He did not get to tell me who I dated. “He’s not the boss of you! Girl power!” Drunk me wanted to yell.
“Mason’s not for you, Red.” He had the audacity to look mad.
I scrunched up my face and crossed my arms. “Oh, please, tell me then, Luk. Who is for me?”
He stepped toward me and pushed in with his big body until he had me pinned between him and the wall behind me. He placed his hands on either side of my head and brought his head close to mine. I sucked in a breath at how close he was. His smell. God, it was addictive and intoxicating and if I hadn’t been drinking beer all night I would’ve blamed that scent alone on how drunk I felt.
“I’m calling dibs, Scarlett.”
I shook my head back and forth, trying to clear it. “Dibs?” I questioned. “Dibs?” I asked again because what the hell was he talking about? But the possessive look on his face said it all. And I didn’t like it one bit. Oh, no, he wasn’t. I wasn’t a pork chop or a few Skittles. “You can’t call dibs on a person, Lukas. What the hell is wrong with you?” Oh, the alcohol was out in full force now.
“I already did,” he said from between clenched teeth, his face hard, unyielding. His nostrils flared as he took a few deep, calming breaths, but I was still hella fired up. “Come on, Red. I think you can feel this thing between us.” He leaned even further into me and I caught that fresh pine wood scent that made my head spin and my knees weak. Like the girl from every romance movie I’d ever seen, I swayed in a bit, all the while loathing my poor choices.
This man. He made me angry. I was his sister’s teacher. It was unethical as hell. He could break my heart. He had. It had only been a teenage crush, but nevertheless I’d felt destroyed. What would I feel like as an adult? An adult who wanted to be married and have children. And then I dared. I dared to dream about this sweet smelling man with his expressive eyes, plump pink lips, and square jaw covered in the most delicious scruff I’d ever seen in my whole life coming home from work all sweaty and dirty. I wouldn’t make him dinner or greet him at the door with a highball of his favorite scotch. No. Oh, I’d give him a bath. I’d put him in the tub and soap him up with my bare hands, ditching the very idea of a washcloth and touch him in all the places I’d been dying to touch him since I was fourteen years old. Apparently drunk me loved baths and abs.
“I don’t feel anything,” I denied vehemently, lying through my teeth. I felt a lot, mostly right between my legs.
He smiled. The devil. “You do.” His eyes bore into mine. “Right here.” He tapped the spot right over my heart through my shirt with the tip of his pointer finger.
I brought my own hand there, rubbing the spot dramatically. “What? No! That’s just heartburn. I had tacos for lunch.”
“Fucking adorable.” A low chuckle hit me straight in my girly parts and I pressed my thighs together and closed my eyes.
About Amie Knight
Amie Knight has been a reader for as long as she could remember and a romance lover since she could get her hands on her momma’s books. A dedicated wife and mother with a love of music and makeup, she won’t ever be seen leaving the house without her eyebrows and eyelashes done just right. When she isn’t reading and writing, you can catch her jamming out in the car with her two kids to ’90s R&B, country, and showtunes. Amie draws inspiration from her childhood in Columbia, South Carolina, and can’t imagine living anywhere other than the South.
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