Buy links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Genre: Adult | Erotic Romance | Menage | Sports
Read Count: 1
Series: Birmingham Rebels #4
Published: July 25th, 2017
Pages: 288 pages
Average Rating: 3.96 stars
My Rating: 3 stars
Description: The Birmingham Rebels play both sides of the field, proving that the hottest action isn’t always in the arena.
Rookie running back Tom Kelly loves the perks of football stardom. Men, women—there’s no shortage of companionship for a pro athlete who’s hot, young, and willing, and Tom is definitely willing. But deep down he wants a committed three-way relationship, especially if the female in the middle is Carmina de la Cruz. The undeniably sexy Army veteran may not say much, but her body speaks loud and clear.
After a traumatic tour in Afghanistan, Carmina is struggling to regain her speech and rebuild her life. More than anything, she wants to feel like a woman again. Tom may be a wholesome All-American, but he knows just how she needs to be touched—and he’s not the only Rebel who arouses her interest. With his scorching intensity, Tom’s best friend leaves her wondering if two players might be better than one.
Danny Smith is no stranger to his team’s kinky reputation. He gave in to temptation once, but he’s not going down that road again. Sure, Carmina’s curves promise pleasure, but her eyes guarantee it comes with baggage—and Danny has enough of his own. Still, giving up control can feel so good. And when it comes to everything Danny craves, Carmina and Tom make the perfect team.
Misconduct was an impulse acceptance. I don’t normally accept these types of books for review requests, because I always worry they will turn into “porn books”, with very little story but lots and lots of steamy sex. But while reading the description, I thought this one had a lot of story to give.
Unfortunately, I still think that it has story left to give, that is. Samantha Kane had a great story going, with great characters. But it ended far too prematurely. There were unresolved issues, ties left unlaced and emotions unaccounted for. Everything is not magically resolved because the characters finally gave in and got together … the story isn’t over.
But it wasn’t.
Don’t get me wrong. I liked the story and the characters had so much promise – but there was a lot more development that could/should have happened with them. Carmina, though, suffered the most from this. She had a great story going – but her personality didn’t necessarily match her background for me. She has a traumatic brain injury from war, and I can understand how that would make a person anxious, meek, earning them a more mellow personality. But where is the fierceness? The courage and bravery? The brassiness from her time in war? She had to have been all that – and more – from her time in the war. I refuse to believe she was this anxious, submissive person prior to her injury. After her injury? More than understandable. Before? No freaking way. The person she now is wouldn’t have the gumption to enlist. But even after a traumatic brain injury, some of who she was must have leaked through to who she is. But no. She had so much more development opportunities, and I was disappointed that didn’t happen. And that’s only one example of possible development for this story.
The sex – world class. While I don’t tend to gravitate towards books that feature sex quite so prevalently in the plotline, I must say that it worked for this book. In a major way.
Bottom line, this book may have had some very sexy times, but I still feel that the story had more to give, and was disappointed that it didn’t reach it’s full potential. However, you may find this the perfect quick, light, sexy read to accompany your afternoon tan. It is quite an entertaining – and steamy – read!
If you’re indecisive, Samantha Kane has written an exclusive scene – just for us – featuring a GQ Interview. I think you’ll very much like :)
Samantha Kane has written an exclusive interviewing scene… just for us! Enjoy :)
DANNY SMITH IS NOW A LOVER, NOT A FIGHTER | The GQ interview
by Samantha Kane
I walked into the conference room at the Rebels Gulf Coast Arena expecting to be the first one there. Danny Smith’s glare greeted me from the other side of the long, empty rectangular table. I’d wanted to interview him in a more personal place, his house or a restaurant or coffee shop. He’d insisted on Rebels HQ. I’d known from the start this wasn’t going to be an easy interview, but I’d had reluctant subjects before. Danny Smith was a challenge I was determined to meet successfully. The antagonism on his dark, handsome face had me doubting myself for the first time.
Tom Kelly sat at the head on the table on Danny’s left while their lover, Carmina de la Cruz, sat on Danny’s right. I tried not to stare at her. She was pretty. I’d seen pictures of her, of course, but pictures rarely show the real person. That was true in her case. Her skin had a glow to it that no makeup could imitate. She looked…healthy. I’d never thought of that as an attribute of beauty before, but there was something about her skin that made you want to stroke it to see how it felt. Vibrant might be the word that best describes it. But even that fell short. There was no artifice about her. I’d wondered what sort of person she’d be, the woman who somehow bridged the gap between Danny Smith’s perpetual frown and irritable disposition and Tom Kelly’s buoyant, boyish likeability. At first glance I still had no idea except that she was one third of a very beautiful trio. They looked like an ad for Gap with their rainbow of skin tones and hair types and chiseled profiles. If we could convince them to sit for some photos I was sure someone would be calling them. Danny and Tom already had lucrative endorsement deals. Adding Carmina could take them in a whole new direction.
I belatedly realized I shouldn’t have been surprised to see Tom and Carmina even though the interview was supposed to be with Danny alone. For the past few months the three had been inseparable. And Danny and Tom had been inseparable teammates and friends before Carmina came into their lives. Danny had his elbows on the table, his hands fisted, while Carmina had her hands in her lap. Her eyes were wide as she stared at me. It was Tom Kelly who jumped to his feet with a big smile on his face and held his hand out to me. “Tom Kelly,” he said, as if I didn’t know who he was. As if his photo hadn’t been staring down at Times Square for the past several months with a big mischievious grin on his fresh Nebraska face, wearing a judiciously placed logo and a pair of socks and shoes and nothing else, assuring everyone that Adidas was the next best thing to naked. As if that photo hadn’t inspired a million memes on the Internet and a million fantasies. “This is great,” he continued, his enthusiasm awkward in the face of Danny’s obvious reluctance to be there. After I shook his hand Tom stepped over and held out a chair for me opposite Danny, ever the gentleman.
“Nice to meet you,” I said, smiling politely. I turned to include Danny and Carmina in the greeting. Carmina looked at Danny and then back at me.
“Carmina de la Cruz,” she said slowly, reaching for my outstretched hand across the table. Her voice was low and smooth, a bit hesitant, just a hint of Puerto Rico in it. I wondered if the hesitation was nerves or the traumatic brain injury she’d suffered in Afghanistan. I didn’t ask. Her handshake was firm.
“So the way this usually works is I ask a lot of questions and we just see where they go. After we’re done I’ll go through my notes and the transcript and write the interview from there.” I spoke briskly, hoping to keep things on track with a business-like attitude. Danny Smith wasn’t famous for making friends, so I wasn’t even going to try.
“How many questions?” Danny demanded.
“Oh, let’s say twenty,” I answered, thinking fast. “Like a game of twenty questions.”
“Five,” he said flatly.
“Danny, man, come on,” Tom cajoled him. “You agreed. Make nice.” He smiled at me as he said it. Carmina covered her mouth with her hand, pretending to rub her nose but I could see the smile she was hiding. So they were here for me, not Danny.
“Five.” Danny was unrelenting.
“Well, I could cut a few,” I improvised. “Maybe fifteen.”
“Carmina, help me out here,” Tom pleaded with her. She looked at Danny and for the first time he took his eyes off me as he looked back at her. His face softened and the change was instantaneous. I knew he’d do whatever she asked him to do. I tried to catch her eye, silently pleading for fifteen, but she ignored me.
“Five,” she said quietly, and Danny smiled at her. She smiled back and the temperature in the room rose about ten degrees. Those two could sell ice in Alaska with that heat. I cast a glance at Tom to see his reaction. I realized they could sell ice in Siberia between the three of them. Tom sighed.
“Five,” he agreed. He shrugged as he met my dismayed look. “Sorry,” he said.
“Give me just a second to get them together then,” I asked, playing it cool, when the reality was I had no idea where to go with this interview. I decided to push my luck. “Any five questions?” I asked.
Danny immediately looked at me suspiciously again. Before he could speak, Carmina answered me. “Yes,” she said, placing her hand lightly on Danny’s arm. “Any five.” He looked at her, stubborness etched on his face. “That’s the deal,” she told him quietly.
“Fine,” he said through gritted teeth. “But you two have to answer some too.”
“Cool,” Tom said, his enthusiam still off the charts. “Free interview for me. Sweet.” He quickly turned his chair to face me, so he was pressed against Danny’s side. I wished I had a camera. The three of them against the world. I readjusted my assessment. Tom and Carmina were most definitely here for Danny, to protect him. Their physical proximity and postures said as much. I was pretty sure just about any defensive lineman in the NFL would laugh at that notion, since Danny was infamous for his onfield tantrams and violent outbursts. But it was true: the most hated man in the NFL was now a lover, not a fighter.
“Is there anything about your past you’d change or do differently?” I asked off the cuff, thinking about his reputation. Danny surprised me with a laugh.
“Hell, yeah,” he said. “Lots of shit I’d do differently.”
“Like what?” I asked, then I cringed, realizing ‘d wasted a question. “Same question.”
“Number two,” Danny said with a satisfied grin.
“Same question,” Carmina said. Danny frowned at her, but nodded. I didn’t acknowledge her support. I didn’t think she wanted me to.
“My dad,” Danny said. He shook his head. “We had a falling out a few years before he died. I was a stupid kid and I blamed him for something that wasn’t his fault. I realize now that he was trying to protect me. But I never got the chance to tell him that. Now he’s dead. No coming back from that.” Carmina leaned her cheek on Danny’s shoulder and rubbed against him a little and I saw his tight shoulders relax. Tom didn’t touch him, but I could tell he wanted to.
“That happened in college,” I said, making sure not to make it a question. “You’ve never talked about that. But your game changed then. Your entire attitude changed. Some say it made your game better.”
“They’d be wrong,” Danny said flatly. “I’m playing the best ball of my career right now because I let go of all that anger. I forgave myself. I let myself be happy.” He frowned. “That was hard for me.”
“What gets in the way of your happiness?” I asked. “Or are you happy all the time now? Same question,” I quickly added. Danny looked between me and Carmina and she looked at Tom and then nodded. There were some very interesting relationship dynamics at play here and I was pissed I couldn’t explore them more.
“Me,” Danny answered. “I get in the way of it. I get in my head and then I start to think I don’t deserve it. Happiness I mean. I am my biggest obstacle, on and off the field.”
“You can say that again,” Tom muttered under his breath, rolling his eyes.
“You answer that one, Farm Boy,” Danny said. Tom looked at Danny and then Carmina. Carmina smiled and nodded and Tom blew out a raspberry.
“Brought that one on myself,” he said, his good nature still apparent. “Honestly, there’s not much that gets in the way of my happiness.” He shrugged. “I’m a glass half full guy. I figure my happiness is my responsibility and I go out and make it happen. I can be pretty happy with just about anything. I like life. It’s my thing.” Carmina laughed, nodding.
“He can be so annoying,” she said and Danny nodded vigorously. “Danny and I…” she hesitated, as if she didn’t know how to say it. She shrugged. “We live up here.” She pointed to her head. “Tom makes us climb out of our heads and do something. You know? He’s good for us.” She cocked her head to the side. “Happy all the time?” she said, her intonation a question. I realized she was answering my last question, but wasn’t sure if it was the right answer, or if the words made sense.
It was the perfect opening. “How comfortable was it for you all to explore your evolving sexuality? I mean, it’s put the spotlight on you, and I know that’s not your favorite place to be,” I said directly to Danny. “Do you have any regrets?”
“No regrets,” Danny said quickly. “And uncomfortable as hell. Next question.”
“She asked us, too,” Tom told him calmly. “I was pretty cool with it. I mean, I was openly bi before the three of us hooked up.” He shrugged. “It’s a different time. My generation, that’s the way it is, right? People are people and some guys like some stuff and some guys don’t. No big deal. But I get that there’s a reluctance to talk about it or be open about it, especially in the NFL, in sports. And that’s crazy. That’s old school. More guys like me are coming up in the game. I think you’re going to see more and more open lifestyles, some frank discussion in the union and the league. Society is changing. The older generation can fight all they want, but the truth is, we’re going to be here long after they’re gone and we’re going to change it. Either now or later. I know they want later. But I’m changing it now. Like I said before, I’m responsible for my own happiness and I’m making it happen. Get on board or get out of the way.” This wasn’t the fun-loving, grinning farm boy talking. I hadn’t heard Tom sound so serious or so determined before. There was an edge of steel in his voice and I was looking forward to seeing him take on the old guard. The NFL didn’t know what they were up against.
“Couldn’t fight that,” Danny said, grinning. “He gets an idea in his head, that’s it. He’s like a dog with a bone.” As soon as the words left his mouth he made a face and closed his eyes, clearly realizing the double meaning of his words.
“Got it,” I said with a grin, writing it down just to torture him. “What was your biggest fear about this?” I indicated the three of them. “About pursuing this unusual relationship?”
“Nothing unusual about it,” Danny said with a confrontational frown.
“Yes, there is,” Tom said impatiently. “Don’t be dense.”
“Fine,” Danny snapped at him. “This. This was my biggest fear. That suddenly everything was about who we were sleeping with. Not football, or endorsements, or the charity work we do. Just who’s boning who. I mean, come on, that’s bullshit. First of all, we’re about a hell of a lot more than sex. I mean, fuck. Carmina is a fucking veteran. She’s a wounded warrior. You know how many times that gets mentioned? Not enough. Hell, she should be the superstar. That’s fucked that she isn’t, that veterans like her aren’t. Right? We throw a damn ball around.” He shook his head. “I look at some of the players in the NFL making ridiculous amounts of money for basically throwing a ball and being assholes. What the fuck is that about? I’ve learned that from Tom,” he said abruptly. “Life has to be about so much more. We work with Big Brothers and Big Sisters now, and Wounded Warriors and the Children’s Hospital. Mal, you know Malachai Goodman, he’s an orphan. You know that? He wants to be a teacher. He does all kinds of work with the Boys and Girls Club. You’ve got to give when and what you can. That’s what I’m about now. All the rest of this is bullshit. My personal life is my personal life. But I knew people wouldn’t let it be like that. I didn’t want that for me, or for these two.”
“My biggest fear was that all the negative reactions would drive us apart,” Tom said. “But it’s brought us closer. Our friends and families are supportive. Well, Carmina’s dad still wants to kill us, but he’s a dad, right? On the other hand, he doesn’t let anyone else say anything to us. He’s like a badass mama bear.” He laughed. “A constant barrage of negativity can ruin any relationship. But we’re solid. We are what we are. I think it helps that we’re all in touch with that, you know? With who we are and what we want. We are three individuals who love each other, but we give each other space, too, to be who we are. This wouldn’t work without that. And that strengthens us, so the negative just bounces off.”
“I was afraid that it would ruin their careers,” Carmina admitted slowly. “No matter what they say, they love football. They’d be unhappy if they couldn’t play. We are lucky that the Rebels organization is so supportive of us, and the rest of the team who are like us.” She paused. “That’s not true everywhere, I know. And I’m not so good with this.” She wrinkled her nose as she waved at my notes. “The interviews. And I don’t want to be a superstar.” She leaned over and kissed Danny on the cheek and smiled at him. “I want to be left alone. I like my life the way it is. I like my family and my friends and my dog. The rest…” she shrugged and this was more a Gallic expression than a hesitant gesture. “I don’t care about the rest.”
“Where do you see this going? What direction do you want your life to take?” I followed up, hoping to dig deeper into a subject they claimed not to want to discuss, but one they all had clear opinions about.
“Wherever it goes,” Tom said, grinning. “It’s not an adventure if you have a map.”
“It’s about the journey,” Carmina agreed, nodding. “Not the destination.”
“I’m going with them,” Danny said, tipping his head first at Carmina and then at Tom. “Wherever it leads.”
Thank you Loveswept (of Random House Publishing) for the ARC!!!
Misconduct is on sale right now!
Misconduct goes on sale today!! Will you buy it? Were you intrigued by the character Q&A? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you! If I don’t, have a great rest of the week, and I hope you read something great =)