I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: Calling It #2
Published by Carina Press on August 29th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Sports, General
Purchase Links: Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | IndieBound
ADD TO GOODREADS:
There are two things Max “Deke” Deacon can always count on: his old high school teammates and Fitz Hawkins. But no matter how much Deke might secretly fantasize otherwise, a relationship with one of his best friends is off limits. Until one unexpectedly smoldering encounter has Deke and Fitz looking at each other in a whole new way.
Angelica “Fitz” Hawkins knows for a fact that it is not better to have loved and lost. After losing her parents, she’d rather lock up her heart and throw away the key than endure that kind of pain again. If that means giving up any hope of a lasting relationship, then so be it.
With Deke, Fitz finally feels like she's back in the land of the living. But she won’t risk another broken heart—even if it means saying good-bye to Deke for good. It’s up to Deke to convince her that the safest place she could ever be is right here with him.
Also by this author: Calling It
The characters of Max “Deke” Deacon and Angelica “Fitz” Hawkins were first introduced in Jen Doyle’s delightful debut Calling It. [My review] From the moment Fitz appeared on the pages of Calling It, I was instantly drawn to her firecracker personality. And Deke, the handsome, sexy bar owner/Little League Coach? I definitely wanted to know more about him, there had to be more behind the swagger. In Called Up we learn that Fitz isn’t nearly as tough as she’d like to think and Deke is a hell of a lot more romantic and vulnerable than even he ever imagined.
Fitz’s brother Nate and Deke were teammates on the Iowa state championship-winning basketball team known as the Iowa Dream, famous for being victorious despite the fact that their town was ravaged by a devastating tornado. Fitz now serves as head of the Iowa Dream Foundation, a charity committed to helping the local community.
Called Up is a standalone novel in the Calling It series and can be read as such. There is significant overlap of characters, with Called Up offering a much more in-depth exploration of some secondary characters, including members of Iowa Dream basketball team and Nate and Fitz’s mother, Mama Gin.
Years of friendship and laughter have led Fitz and Deke to have an incredibly close relationship, easily becoming one another’s best friend. However once the spark of lust between them begins to grow brighter and becomes harder to ignore, Fitz and Deke must decide if their friendship can survive their now burning passion. Fitz’s abandonment issues and Deke’s relationship history (or rather, lack thereof) eventually lead them to decide to try a “schmelationship” – it’s like a relationship but not really. Yeah, that’s going to work *insert sarcastic smirk* 😏 Fitz and Deke were in too deep before they even started.
Author Jen Doyle does a beautiful job exploring Fitz’s childhood and its continued effect on her relationships, not just with Deke but also with her siblings, Mama Gin, and the community around her. I literally sobbed on several occasions. Not just teary eyed sniffles, we’re talking full-blown ugly crying. Deke’s support and understanding help Fitz start to heal but he is strong enough to realize what he needs and to not let her issues dictate their future.
Despite Fitz and Deacon’s repeated game of “should we, shouldn’t we” I eagerly entered into a relationship with Called Up, unable to put it aside once I started. From the beginning, I knew a “schmelationship” with this sexy and touching novel would never be enough.
Excerpt from Called Up
“Hey, Dorie,” she heard from above her. “Do you know where Fitz wants these bottles of water?”
Speak of the devil. Fitz brought her head up a little too suddenly, banging it on the underside of the table. “Ouch!” Her hand going to the back of her head, she came up frowning, and…
Oh, God, was he this gorgeous before? Had he always smelled amazing?
Doing everything she could to keep herself immune from his physical charms, she spun on her heel. “Back here.”
Very specifically not looking in Deke’s direction so that she didn’t give anything away, she forced herself to act exactly as she always did around him. Except she suddenly couldn’t quite remember how that was. Did she flirt with him? Did she flat-out ignore him? Did she generally just go around in a state of low-level irritation? Because right now she had absolutely no clue.
She had even less of a clue as she bent down to open up the lid to the cooler and he crouched down next to her, his head so close all he’d need to do was turn it slightly to the left and his mouth would be on her breast.
And was that…?
Oh, hell, no, her nipples had not just hardened. She slapped her arms over her chest.
Because they had. And Deke, with his superhero sex god extra sensory perception, had definitely noticed. He at least had the decency to look down at the ground as he grinned.
“It’s the cold,” Fitz snapped. “From the cooler.”
Pushing the bottles down into the ice, Deke just answered, “You’d be amazed at all the bits and pieces I can warm up with my tongue.”
About Author Jen Doyle
A big believer in happily ever afters, Jen Doyle decided it was high time she started creating some. Jen is a member of the Romance Writers of America, as well as a member of the New England, New Jersey Romance Writers and Music City Romance Writer chapters of RWA. She is represented by Sarah E. Younger of the Nancy Yost Literary Agency. She has an M.S. in Library and Information Science and, in addition to her work as a librarian, has worked as a conference and events planner as well as a Communications and Enrollment administrator in both preschool and higher education environments (although some might say that there is very little difference between the two; Jen has no comment regarding whether she is one of the “some”).