I’m not that much of a sports person, but a few indie authors have managed to write sports romances so good they transcend subgenre and becomes just plain good books. Mariana Zapata’s a perennial favorite of mine that way, but with Teardrop Shot, Tijan makes a strong bid for my list of favorite romances.
Weird, quirkyCharlie is at rock bottom, having just lost her relationship and her job, when an old friend pops into her life and offers her a brief reprieve: a few months at the boutique camp she’d worked at before a dark secret led her to cut away all ties with her former life. She didn’t know the offer would put her face-to-face with her celebrity crush, the basketball god Reese Forster. She really didn’t expect her crush to become her friend, weighed down with secret baggage of his own. But when they become much more than that, the unresolved burdens of their past might just be too heavy to bear.
The book is often pitched as a rom-com in tone, and it certainly has its laugh-out-loud moments. Charlie copes with stress by blurting out weird and distracting questions, and their banter together is fast and witty. But do not go into this book expecting light. It dives deep into some really intense, painful topics, and handles the psychological complexities deftly. The things that have broken Charlie and Reese are not the usual suspects for the genre, however, and I appreciate the unique challenges they face.
What Tijan really excels at is friendships, especially caring, enduring platonic friendships that jump off the page. The romance with Reese is rooted in that kind of friendship and it adds a lot of depth and nuance to their romantic attraction. The steam is deliciously crafted and plentiful, and the emotionality of the attraction makes it even sexier. It’s a roller-coaster of a read, though, with joyful, loving highs and deep, heartbreaking angst. Go into this book expecting to take a rough emotional journey with Charlie and Reese, and trust Tijan to see you safely through it.
For more info and purchasing options, visit Tijan online.
Content warning: Book deals heavily and well with mental illness in relationships, addiction, suicide, and survivors guilt.