What is “Beauty and the Baller” by Ilsa Madden-Mills about?
An NFL quarterback turned small-town coach gets sacked by a Texas beauty queen in this swoony, passionate romance from Wall Street Journal bestselling author Ilsa Madden-Mills.
Gorgeous, talented, and brilliant, NFL quarterback Ronan Smith has the world in his hands. But after losing his career and his fiancée in a car accident, he falls into a pit of grief and bad choices. When a mysterious girl shows up to his party, he feels drawn to her and makes her his…for one night.
Former beauty queen Nova Morgan is on a mission. Scantily clad as a princess from a galaxy far, far away, she sneaks into a high-profile party to capture the attention of her favorite quarterback. But her hopes crash after an awful one-night stand.
Fast-forward two years. Broke and desperate, Nova returns home to Blue Belle, Texas, where, by a cosmic twist of fate, her broody neighbor is none other than Ronan, the shiny new football coach everyone adores. But he has no idea who she is.
The booster club keeps shoving women at Ronan to keep him in town. His solution? He proposes fake dating to Nova. But things heat up for real under these Friday-night lights when he realizes she’s the one who slipped away.
Has this jaded beauty found her forever baller, or will his past keep them apart?
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book by Ilsa Madden-Mills, and I was not disappointed! I think this might be the first book that I’ve read from her that isn’t a part of the Waylon University series. This was such a sweet, deep, small town sports romance, and I’m so happy to have received an early digital copy to review! The book is available now.
My favorite part of this book was the way the conflicts between Ronan and Nova were handled. All of the conflicts that I thought might be an issue and break the two of them up weren’t what happened – the actual conflict was handled very maturely, and made a lot of sense for who the characters were. There were a few slightly odd moments with the two of them – not moments that they thought were a little off, but I did. For example, one of the last scenes in the book felt a bit out of place to me.
There were a lot of great supporting characters. Nova’s younger sister Sabine, one of Ronan’s football players, Toby, Ronan’s best friend and fellow NFL player, Tuck. It was interesting seeing both of their worlds collide.
Both Ronan and Nova are dealing with grief at some point in the book. When we first meet them, Ronan is still reeling from the death of his fiance, Whitney. We see his trauma manifest itself a few times throughout the book, such as when he tells Nova to be careful driving in the rain. I did expect more to be done with his PTSD from that car accident, or her trauma from her mom’s sudden death that caused her to have to return home in the first place.
Overall, this was a fun read. I don’t read a ton of southern small town romances, so having this collide with professional football was really interesting. Throw in some people from Nova’s past that she didn’t anticipate running into again, and the characters were in for a wild ride. As with all new adult/adult books, I recommend this one for 18+ due to some of the sexual content. Thanks again to Ilsa and her team for providing me with an advanced ebook to review!