Swagger (Milwaukee Dragons #2) by Liz Lincoln
My Review - 4 Stars
I've been meaning to try Liz Lincoln's Milwaukee Dragons series ever since it was announced but based on how much I enjoyed this second book, I'll be catching up on the first book very shortly. The story really leans into the tension of "we really like each other but you're my professor/student so we can't do anything." This was a really fun read but it also made me surprisingly emotional in places.
Bree is finishing up her PhD in physics, which impressed me in and of itself. Her dedication to and passion for her career was admirable and I'm pretty sure if I'd ever had her as my teacher, I'd have had an entirely different experience with my science classes. I really appreciated learning more about what life is like for someone who is writing their dissertation, as well as the specific roadblocks women in the STEM field can face. Her advisor was the literal WORST and I wanted to throttle him any time he was in a scene. It was enraging to watch Bree experience sexism and misogyny and see the very real way it could and did negatively affect her career.
Marcus is an absolute dreamboat. He's such a good guy and he was always making me smile. It was so interesting to read a sports romance in which the athlete hero/heroine is sidelined by an injury. It's a real threat for any athlete but I can't think of many romances than address it head on like Swagger. In this instance, Marcus has to sit out a whole season while he heals from his knee injury. He and his teammates have a really honest discussion about how many years they think they'll still be able to play and what will come next after their football careers are over. The book also focuses on CTE and the research being done, which is such a great thing to highlight. Plus: great diversity representation for an NFL team! Just like real life!
Bree and Marcus are friends first and foremost. They have a good amount in common and I loved watching them get to know each other. I also liked how they could support each other in various capacities but especially the way they both had unsupportive families. It was frustrating to see how their respective families treated them and I was really glad they both had found families who were in their corners. They both had such great friends and I loved all of these interactions!
They have excellent chemistry and because of the teacher/student dynamic, their interactions were fraught. I had no idea if they would make it through the semester! Highlight text to view spoiler:I was hoping they could last the whole semester before giving into their feelings but alas, it was not to be. While the power dynamics were addressed, I was almost too stressed out about Bree being caught and having her career jeopardized to fully enjoy their sexy times. I wish she could have at least found someone else to grade his work. All worked out in the end but their inability to wait made the story less strong for me.
I really liked how Marcus tried to take care of Bree but also how this impacted her insistence on independence. I could see both points of view so clearly and it was interesting to watch this play out in their relationship. There were just so many interesting threads in the story! I'm definitely looking forward to more from this author.
“Tight end,” noun: 1. a position in American football, 2. NFL star Marcus James, 3. what any hot-blooded woman can’t stop staring at every time Marcus walks by.
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.
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Disclosure: I received an advanced copy from Loveswept in exchange for an honest review. Affiliate links included in this post.