Swagger by Liz Lincoln
Series: Milwaukee Dragons #2
Published: September 18, 2018 by Loveswept
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Bree Novak is so close to earning her Ph.D. she can taste it, but she’s supposed to be writing her dissertation, not giving lectures while her advisor slacks off. The semester gets even crazier when veteran tight end Marcus James—Bree’s celebrity crush—enrolls in her “Intro to Physics” class. The man’s even hotter in person than he looks on Sunday Night Football. So why is Bree hoping he drops out? Maybe it’s because Marcus, with his cocky smile and chiseled body, is the ultimate distraction. . . .
Drafted out of college years ago by the Milwaukee Dragons, Marcus is taking advantage of a season-ending knee injury to finish his bachelor’s degree. Plus, thanks to a required science credit, he’s also getting to know the geek goddess who teaches physics. With brains and beauty, Bree is living proof that opposites attract. She’s even kind enough to give Marcus extra help with the material, as if she didn’t have anything better to do. And the more time Marcus spends with her, the more he realizes he’s not just crushing on his teacher—he’s falling for her.
I started reading Swagger and never wanted to put it down because it was so good; I enjoyed the first in the series, On the Line, but Liz Lincoln outdid herself with this sequel. From the very beginning I was invested in Marcus and Bree’s story and their developing friendship turned romance. Both our hero and heroine come from families that have expectations about success and they’re each constantly trying to prove themselves. This, along with a love of football and nerdy culture, created common ground for them to grow from. I really enjoyed the friendship that’s built first and it made the transition into a relationship so much stronger. Because of the student/teacher dynamic there’s a lot of tension as Marcus and Bree try to resist each other and, all things considered, they don’t do a very good job staying away but that just means more tension and sexiness for the reader.
“He had gone from a sports icon to a human being. More important, he was her friend.”
Lincoln creates some great characters in Swagger and I felt each was uniquely developed with great representation across genders, races, and disabilities while still making it feel natural and not like she was trying too hard. Bree is one smart woman and she refuses to give up no matter how much resistance she gets from her family or her advisor. She’s unfortunately confronted with the sad truth that some fields are still an “old boys” club and I admired her restraint in the face of her advisor’s terrible treatment. Bree is also incredibly independent though I felt like that causes some problems as she navigates a new relationship with Marcus. But the nice thing is that for the most part, Bree and Marcus discuss their problems, desires, and expectations like adults and this was so refreshing! I also loved that while Marcus might be a celebrity athlete he’s also very humble and down to earth. He loves that he can be himself with Bree but it also seems like he’s just naturally an easy going guy. He looks out for his team, works hard, and is dedicated to having the life he wants. Marcus is definitely on my book boyfriend list!
I only have one complaint about the book and it centers around an argument over Bree not wanting others to interfere and try to control her life. She’s had that from her family and an ex-boyfriend and she’s tired of it, justifiably. However, I felt like what Marcus did was nowhere near trying to control anything and was in fact just helping Bree to make a connection. I felt that Bree completely overreacted and while she had good reasons for it, I expected more of an apology from Bree. Instead, the “blame” is placed completely on Marcus and I honestly felt like he didn’t do anything wrong. Other than that small complaint, this book was pure magic for me!
5 stars – loved it!
ARC provided by NetGalley for honest review
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