Hook Shot by Kennedy Ryan

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Hook Shot (Hoops #3)
by Kennedy Ryan
Publication Date: March 28, 2019
Publisher: Self-published

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Rating: ★★★★½

Synopsis via Goodreads: A deeply emotional standalone romance set in the worlds of professional basketball and high fashion. 

Divorced. Single dad. Traded to a losing squad.
Cheated on, betrayed, exposed.
My perfect life blew up in my face and I’m still picking up the pieces.
The last thing I need is her.
A wildflower. A storm. A woman I can’t resist.
Lotus DuPree is a kick to my gut and a wrench in my plans from the moment our eyes meet.
I promised myself I wouldn’t trust a woman again,but I’ve never wanted anyone the way I want Lo.

She’s not the plan I made, but she’s the risk I have to take.

A warrior. A baller. The one they call Gladiator.
Kenan Ross charged into my life smelling all good, looking even better and snatching my breath from the moment we met.
The last thing I need is him.
I’m working on me. Facing my pain and conquering my demons.
I’ve seen what trusting a man gets you.
I. Don’t. Have. Time. For. This.
But he just keeps coming for me.
Keeps knocking down my defenses and stealing my excuses one by one.
He never gives up, and now…I’m not sure I want him to.

*I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

It’s currently 2:46 AM and I’m an emotional mess.

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I knew Kennedy Ryan was saving the best story for last with the Hoops series and I thought I was prepared for this but once I actually started reading, I realized I was nowhere near prepared for the emotional roller coaster I had just gotten on to. Before I get into this review I just want to note some of the triggering themes throughout this story: rape, PTSD, stories of sexual abuse and attempted suicide. 

The final book in Hoops series follows our two main characters, Kenan Ross and Lotus DuPree. Kenan has just finalized his divorced and he’s ready to leave the drama behind him once and for all. He hopes to spend his summer in the streets of NYC prepping for next season and spending time with his daughter. But he’s thrown for a loop when he finds himself in having to work side by side with Lotus DuPree, the one woman who refuses to give him the time of day. Lotus is currently on a sex hiatus while she tries to figure out her feelings and deal with her inner demons from the past. But her no-dick policy becomes harder to enforce the longer she’s around Kenan. Both of these two have so much to lose, but the gains may just be worth the risk.

First things first, I feel like my review won’t do this book justice. Like, this will probably be a whole pile of word vomit but stick with me my friends as I tell you about one of my top reads of 2019. It’s no secret that I love Kennedy Ryan’s words and I would probably read this woman’s grocery list at this point! The thing I love most about Ryan’s writing is that she takes numerous heavy themes and she works them together in a way where things are not over the top, but they’re actually realistic and relatable. Her stories are not easy to read but the thing is, we need stories like these because they depict real life struggles and honestly shying away from these struggles do much more harm than good. I’m totally here for romances that start a conversation and make one feel something deeper within them self!

I knew Lotus was gonna be my favorite character in this series and I was fucking right! I love this woman to bits and pieces. Her story, her struggles, her strength, they touched me and honestly I learned a lot about my own self while reading Lotus’ story. One thing I really admired about Lo was her strength in her faith and how she let that faith guide her in times of self-doubt. I’ve hardly read any books where a character’s faith plays such a crucial role to the plot and it was quite refreshing to see it in this book. Another thing I loved seeing was Lotus reaching out to get the help she needed to help her heal from her past and I hope her actions encourage others out there to do the same and to know that they don’t have to fight their demons all alone. Lotus is my favorite heroine in this series so it makes complete sense for Kenan to be my favorite hero in this series. With moves both on and off the court, Kenan sure has a way with words and he has a big heart to follow. He’s so sweet but I’ve also learned not to get on the Gladiator’s bad side, lol. But the thing that really had me swooning for Kenan was seeing him with his daughter. He definitely went through it with that divorce but he never let not come between him and his daughter and he was willing to sacrifice whatever he needed just for her.

This romance though, well let’s just say Kenan and Lotus make one hell of a power couple! I adore the fact that Kenan gave Lotus the space she needed to work out her issues without pressuring her into things she wasn’t ready for. Lotus controlled both the brakes and the accelerator in the relationship. It’s not an easy road for these two and there were many moments that had me holding my breath to see what the outcome of this story would be, but the all-nighter I pulled to finished this book was worth it and so were the damn tears!

Hook Shot was was everything I had hoped it would be and the perfect wrap up to a phenomenally emotionally series. I seriously urge everyone to read this series if you haven’t all ready because these stories are ones that will resonate with everyone and stay with you forever and those are the best kinds of stories.

baller binge hoops 99 cents

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After talking to Kenan for the last few minutes, and looking under his hood, so to speak, I’ve found that he’s a classic. They don’t make them like him anymore, and if I don’t change the subject, change the course of this conversation, I’ll fool myself that we don’t have to keep things simple and that we could be more than just friends, not just for the summer, but for a long time to come. As long as I’d like.

“Okay,” I say, switching gears without a clutch and pulling a tie off another of Amanda’s racks. “I think that shirt could work really well with this tie.”

He doesn’t look at the tie I’m holding up, but keeps his eyes fastened on me. He’s not playing along. I’ve boxed myself into a corner with him. And the quarters are too tight. His scent. His warmth. His intelligence. His thoughtfulness. He is pressing in on me, overtaking my good intentions in all the ways I never thought a man could.

“Try this on,” I say, blindly shoving the mint green shirt at him.

When I look at him, he’s already peeled one shirt off and is reaching for the one I chose. I didn’t think this through. Didn’t forecast that Kenan changing from one shirt into another would mean his naked chest. I lose my train of thought and all my chill. Besides my mouth dropping open at the sight of the sculpted terrain of his chest and abs, I give no other indication that he affects me. Taut, bronze skin stretches across his broad shoulders like supple canvas pulled over a frame, the foundation of a masterpiece. He’s a big man. Not bulky, but instead chiseled to the specifications of a master sculptor: arms roped with muscles, biceps like rocks under skin glowing with health. The forearms Chase raved about are lined with veins and sinew. And I die for a great chest. I’ve never seen one more spectacular than Kenan’s.

Two words.

Male. Nipples.

Jesus, my mouth is literally watering at the thought of tasting them, sucking them, licking them. And if that pectoral perfection weren’t enough, the two columns ofmuscles, four each, are stacked over his lean stomach arrowing down to a narrow waist and hips. I can’t look away. I lick my lips, imagining how he would feel under my mouth. How I’d lick around his nipples and drag my tongue down that shallow path bisecting his
abdominal muscles. I’d slip that belt off and sink to my knees. Unzip those pants and take him out. God, hold him in my hands and then take him all the way to the back of  my throat. I’d choke on him. A man this big . . . I’d be so tight around him.

“Lotus,” Kenan says, jarring me from my torso trance. “Should I go ahead and put this shirt on? Or did you need a little more time?”

I snap a glance up to his face, embarrassed to find him laughing at me. Oh, God. I’m as bad as Amanda. I turn to leave, but he catches my elbow with a gentle hand and turns me back around, walking us behind two of the racks. He bends until he’s almost eye level with me.

“Don’t be embarrassed,” he says, searching my face intently. “I’m glad you like my body.”

“I didn’t say I . . .” My words trail off at his knowing grin. “Okay. So you have a nice body. I work in fashion. Do you have any idea how many great bodies I see on a daily basis?”

“I’m sure many,” he says, his smile still firmly in place. “I can’t speak for any of them, only for the way you looked at me.”

“And how do you think I looked at you?” I ask defensively, forcing myself not to look away.

In the quiet that follows, his smile fades, and heat replaces the humor in his eyes. “You looked at me the way I bet I’ve looked at you every time you walk into a room,” he says, the timbre of his voice rolling over my sensitive skin like a caress. “Like I would eat you if I could. Head to toe, everything in between.”

“Kenan,” I protest, closing my eyes on a groan. “We said friends. We said simple. This is not how you start a simple friendship.”

His large hand cups my jaw and lifts my chin. I open my eyes, blinking dazedly at him. I wasn’t prepared for how his touch makes me feel. How I instantly crave more of it; want to lean into the warmth; to turn and trace his lifeline with my tongue. Tell him all the things I could discover just from reading his palm and looking into his eyes.

How can such a large hand feel so gentle, like it’s capable of treasuring, cherishing?

“Okay, Lotus,” he says, regret and reluctance woven around my name. “Simple. Friendship.”

 

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Enter the Release Giveaway!

(Signed HOOK SHOT paperback & $50 Gift Card):

CLICK HERE TO ENTER GIVEAWAY!

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KENNEDY RYAN

Kennedy RyanA Top 30 Amazon Bestseller, Kennedy Ryan writes about women from all walks of life, empowering them and placing them firmly at the center of each story and in charge of their own destinies. Her heroes respect, cherish and lose their minds for the women who capture their hearts.

She is a wife to her lifetime lover and mother to an extraordinary son. She has always leveraged her journalism background to write for charity and non-profit organizations, but enjoys writing to raise Autism awareness most. A contributor for Modern Mom Magazine and Frolic, Kennedy’s writings have appeared in Chicken Soup for the SoulUSA Today and many others. The founder and executive director of a foundation serving Atlanta Autism families, she has appeared on Headline NewsMontel Williams, NPR and other media outlets as an advocate for families living with autism.

Website || Facebook || Instagram || Twitter || Goodreads

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Posted by

I'm Ari, a local NYC bibliophile and a forever daydreamer. You can usually find me with my nose buried in a book and my head up in the clouds. I am also a coffee addict and a chocolate connoisseur. I fell in love with the romance genre about three years ago and I haven't been able to stop reading about happily-ever-afters, which is ironic because I'm a bit of a cynical romantic in real life, haha. I hope you all enjoy my blog and fangirling with me about all the smutty reads!

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