My My My…. I absolutely fell in love with Tia Lewis’s latest effort Stadium of Lights.
I adored her first book Draw Play because I am obsessed with NCAA football; I attended the University of Florida so the SEC and college football will always have a special place in my heart. However, Stadium of Lights is entirely different beast; Ms. Lewis takes us into the professional world of football where the astronomical amount of money, abundant women and the perils of fame make the stakes much higher.
The novel tells the tale of Max Anderson, an ultra-sexy super-star quarterback and Abby Morrison, the woman who grew up idolizing and crushing on him. Abby and Max were best friends in high school but grew apart after they graduated and moved on to separate personal and professional journeys. Abby traveled to Europe where she embarked on a career in physical therapy while Max remained in the states and was drafted into one of the top professional football clubs in the country. Ten years later, they are reunited and that is where the fun really begins!😍😉
I was tickled to death that Max didn’t recognize that the young woman who he grew up with had blossomed into a beautiful butterfly. Honestly, Max does not make the best first impression. He is arrogant and presumptuous and he fully intends to add Abby to his massive amount of bedroom conquests not realizing that his childhood friend has the drop on him the entire time. 😂😂 This dynamic is quite entertaining, especially when Abby has mercy on him and finally reveals their connection.
At first Max leaves a lot to be desired. He is nearly god-like to his teammates, the media and the fans and he makes no secret about the fact that he loves it. He is used to being treated like royalty and cherry-picking from the slew of women who covet his attention. I was curious how this megalomaniac-type attitude would transform and adjust as his feelings for Abby developed into more than just friendship.
One of the subjects the book addresses is the concept of the “football wife” and what they are willing to tolerate in order to maintain their status and the perks associated with being married to a professional NFL athlete, including frequent cheating. This issue is tactfully addressed but no less mind blowing. Several times I sat there reading looking like 😒😮😬 !!!
Frankly, I love a good bad-boy athlete but it was Abby’s character that truly resonated with me. In spite of her newfound beauty she still harbors a lot of insecurity and latent resentment over how she was treated in high school, especially since she watched Max sky-rocket to football fame and date other women while she remained on the back burner and sat on the sidelines.
Some of the quotes from her point of view made me outright sad.
“So what did I do? I relied on my sharpest weapon: Sarcasm. It was the one tool that had gotten me through years of being painfully in love with a man who would never love me back. If I were witty, caustic, I could cover up the fluttery way I felt inside whenever he looked at me. I could mask the years of pain he’d inflicted without even realizing it. The years in which I’d wished more than anything that he would love me, or at least see me as something more than just a friend. I’d wished so hard. On every first star, on every coin thrown into the fountain.” ~Abby
GAH! 😭 😭 😭
Needless to say Ms. Lewis does a fabulous job making you care about these characters. The emotional appeal is apparent, but this book does not come up short with the steamy loving by any means! When Max and Abby finally throw down it’s truly something else. One scene in particular is among the hottest that I have ever read, and that’s #realtalk right there. SO hot!!! 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥😳☺️
Believe me when I say that the concept of “friends to lovers” is done quite well in Stadium of Lights. I laughed, I got exceptionally angry and I cried while reading it so that’s a true testament to how strong of a writer Ms. Lewis is. I am sure that like fine wine this author will continue to get better and better .
I highly recommend reading this amazing novel!! I received an ARC for an honest review. If you are an avid fan of sports romance then don’t miss out on this one!
Release Date: September 19, 2016