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    Loved this soccer romance!

    Okay, I’ll admit it. The cover of this book is what drew me in (hello, hot soccer player!) and combined with the synopsis, I was excited to read this story. The first thing that sticks out is that unlike the majority of romance heroes, Rio is short at just over five-and-a-half feet tall. It’s a disadvantage for most sports, and as a soccer player it means he has to be quick and maneuverable on his feet. His height disadvantage means he always feels like he has a lot to prove on the field, especially now with his new team. He’s not short of confidence though – he knows he’s fit and attractive, and his elite sports status means he doesn’t lack for female companionship. But he isn’t an arrogant man. He’s friendly and hardworking and dedicated. He’s used his wealth to better the lives of those living in the poor area he comes from in Chile, and supports his family. It’s not hard to see why a woman would be flattered to have his attention. Eva, a smart, passionate and caring woman, is drawn to Rio despite her best intentions to keep things professional. There’s a bit of conflict involved due to her position as team translator, and this makes her hesitant to reveal that she’s attracted to him. Eva wants to be an immigration lawyer, and when she isn’t working for the soccer team she volunteers at her local Catholic church (that Rio is happy to attend with her as a fellow Catholic) where she assists undocumented immigrants. Eva herself is the daughter of a Mexican illegal immigrant who was deported when Eva was twelve. She was fortunate enough to be taken in by a neighbor, but naturally it still affects her. It’s a timely political storyline dealt with in an empathetic way. The story is told from dual points of view which I always appreciate. Rio and Eva’s attraction results in some steamy love scenes and emotional moments as they connect on all levels, both of them eventually sharing the truth of their difficult pasts with each other. As for the soccer aspects, the business of running a sports team is dealt with well and there are several on field scenes that are exciting to read, and show the author has a good grasp of the sport. We see Rio’s successes and challenges; he’s trying to make a name for himself on the team, keep up his physical game by extensive training, build a working relationship with his teammates and learn how to speak English. All this, and he successfully romances Eva too! The happy ending after a few ups and downs is wholly satisfying. If you enjoy sports romances, Crossing Hearts delivers an exciting and passionate read. Rebecca Crowley has made herself a new fan.
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