by Rebecca Norinne
Dublin Rugby #1
Publication Date: December 6, 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Rugby, Sports Romance
“You’re safe with me Sophie…All you have to do is let me in. I’m yours for the taking…Please, take me.” ~Declan
I can honestly say that Rebecca Norrine’s Trying Sophie wormed its way into my heart from the onset of the prologue. Novels that introduce the hero and the heroine as children captivate and fascinate me for some reason, so Trying Sophie grabbed my attention from the very beginning of the novel and held on tight until its heart-warming conclusion. This book eventually captured a huge piece of my heart, and by the end of the final chapter I was smiling so hard and so warm and fuzzy inside that I felt like I was floating on air.
In the prologue we are introduced to eight-year-old Sophie, a shy, introverted little girl of Irish and American descent living in Ireland. We also meet Declan, the bratty little boy who mercilessly bullies her at every opportunity. The impact of Declan’s bullying is staggering and crippling to young Sophie because unbeknownst to Declan, the poor thing has developed a crush on him. *Deep Sigh*
A few years later an unfortunate set of circumstances destroys Sophie’s family and results in her relocation to the United States, forcing her to leave Declan behind. Eighteen years later she returns to Ireland to assist her ailing grandparents run their business. There she is reunited with Declan, who has become an unbelievably handsome, world-class rugby player.
Declan is the kind of man that epitomizes the essence of what fantasies are made of; he completely catches Sophie off guard with his staggering good looks, innate charm and sculpted physique. Declan is impressed with the gorgeous woman that Sophie has become and makes his interest obvious. However, Sophie remembers how he treated her when they were young. Their history, coupled with the events that have shaped her past make it difficult for Sophie to open up to the possibility of pursuing something more with Declan. Thus begins a lovely love story that explores the journey that these two take as they develop a tenuous friendship on the road to reacquainting themselves with each other.
There are several things that I adored about this book. Ms. Norrine does an amazing job portraying the everyday intricacies of life in Ireland. I was completely immersed in the Irish culture; the Irish accents are depicted perfectly and Ireland’s verdant, colorful scenery is represented well due to the author’s rich, descriptive writing.
I also loved this heroine!!! Many times in sports romance the heroine quickly falls for the sexy athlete, but this is not the case in Trying Sophie. In fact, Sophie makes Declan work hard to earn her trust. Sophie is beautiful but she is also highly intelligent. She puts her emotional needs first and openly acknowledges Declan’s whorish ways and significant involvement with multiple women due to his career as a professional athlete. It was an absolute pleasure to read a story where the hero fell hard and fast while the heroine was initially unwilling to dive headfirst into a commitment.
To say that this novel is an exquisite read is an understatement. It is sweet, delightful and charming but it is also meaningful and moving. There are also some smoking hot scenes that will have you looking crazy!!!!!! *fans self*
Trying Sophie is a book that I plan to read again because the voyage that Declan and Sophie take as they transition from childhood enemies to passionate lovers is poignant, enjoyable and inspiring. It is truly something special, and I am so glad that I stumbled onto this touching story of all-consuming love and forgiveness that frees the spirit.
That is my final word.
I dropped my eyes and stared at the floor. “I want you, Declan. Really, I do, but I’m worried about being just another notch on your bedpost.”
Pushing off the window, he crossed the room in three purposeful strides. Wrapping his large hands around my arms, he squeezed them gently. I raised my eyes to his.
“How can I make you see that’s not true?”
“I don’t know. Maybe you can’t.”
When I looked away he groaned and loosened his grip. Trying a different tactic, he asked, “What are you most afraid of?”
Man up Sophie, I thought to myself. If you’re not brave enough to have The Talk, you’re not mature enough to have The Sex.
I couldn’t help how I felt and if we didn’t get this out in the open, it might always be between us. And despite this being a difficult conversation, it was more important to tell him how I felt than to keep it bottled up inside and resent him in the future because I hadn’t been honest with him from the get go.
I took a deep breath and squared my shoulders. “The thing I’m most afraid of is you’re going to be with me today, then turn around and fuck someone else three days from now. I’m worried that if we do this, it’s not going to mean the same thing to you that it’ll mean to me.”
He closed his eyes and exhaled loudly as he pinched his fingers around the bridge of his nose. When he opened them, he dropped his hand and leveled an indecipherable gaze on me.
“How can you think that?”
“I know it’s not fair of me to judge you for your past, but you don’t exactly have a solid track record here. Tell me I’m wrong. Convince me that when we walk out of here you’re not going to think, ‘That Sophie, she was one hell of a lay. Who’s next?’”
“Is that really what you think of me?” he asked somberly.
“That’s what I was talking about earlier,” I answered sadly. “I don’t really know you, do I? What if you forget about me tomorrow?”
“That won’t happen.”
I continued as if he hadn’t spoken because if I didn’t, I’d never say what needed to be said.
“I know I’m leaving soon and less than an hour ago I told you we should just enjoy each other while we had the chance, but I think I’ve been fooling myself. I can’t be casual with you, Declan. If we’re going to be together, it has to be more than just sex.”
My eyes dropped to the patterned rug at our feet and I held my breath, waiting for him to laugh, scoff, or otherwise indicate I was being completely unrealistic with my expectations. Which is why I was taken by surprise when he lifted my chin with his finger and, staring into my eyes, chased away all my doubt and fear.
“Done,” he promised, finality in that one word. “And just so you know, there was never any question that’s what this would be. I’ve thought about this for so long, wanted you as much as I’ve ever wanted anything. I have no intention of screwing up one of the best things that’s ever happened to me.”
He rubbed his rough, calloused thumb across my cheek. Dropping his eyes, he cradled my face in his hands and watched his fingers stroke along the apples of my cheeks. Finally, his eyes landed back on mine. “Do you have any idea what you do to me?”
I shook my head because I couldn’t seem to find my voice.
“You ruin me.” He dropped a soft kiss on my lips. “Just completely destroy me,” he added, taking the kiss deeper.
“Let me show you Sophie,” he whispered, his gaze locked on mine. “I promise it’ll be good. I’ll be so good to you.”
I nodded and he licked the seam of my lips. Opening to him, felt the tangle of his tongue against my own, the taste of him imprinted forever on my memory.
“Yes,” I whispered and kissed him back, hungrily.
He scooped me into his arms and carried me to the bed.
Rebecca read her first book when she was four years old and has been hooked on the written word ever since. While working in technology PR in Silicon Valley, she began writing her debut novel and eventually published it six years later. At the end of 2014, she left behind her career in corporate communications to become a full time author. When she’s not writing, you can find Rebecca exploring her new city of Dublin, Ireland, watching Leinster Rugby matches, or traveling the globe searching for inspiration for her next book.