Sunday, February 10, 2013

Red Zone (Daniels Brothers #2) by Sherri Hayes


After a case ended badly for Rebecca Carson, she’s losing her mind sitting around her apartment waiting on her superiors to allow her to return to work. Since she was a teenager, the only thing she’d ever wanted was to join the FBI. Now that dream was in danger.

Gage Daniels has made a pretty good life for himself. A nice house. A career he loves. As a professional football player, he’s used to getting almost everything he’d ever want with just the snap of his fingers. This includes women. A well-timed smile is usually all it takes to attract the opposite sex, especially in Nashville.

When a stalker threatens Gage, the team owner calls an old friend, Rebecca’s ex-partner Travis Hansen, to help protect his star quarterback and find the person responsible. Hansen offers Rebecca the job, and she jumps at the chance. It’s work, and it will get her out of her apartment. How bad can it be?

Posing as Gage’s girlfriend, however, isn’t as easy as it seems. The man is relentless. Rebecca must work to protect Gage while staving off his advances. She’s there to do a job, nothing more. The last thing she wants is to be another notch on a hotshot athlete’s belt.

As the stalker continues to up the ante, Rebecca finds it harder and harder to keep her distance from Nashville’s star quarterback. He isn’t what she expected in one of the city’s most notorious playboys. Now all she has to do is keep him safe until they can find his stalker, and hope she doesn’t lose her heart in the process.


What worked
An enjoyable, well done plot; it was fairly believable (I’ll address that comment in the next category), and although the stalker was fairly easy to figure out, it was still suspenseful!!
I enjoyed seeing the tables turned, Rebecca was the protector and Gage was the one being stalked. Girl power!
Gage and Rebecca falling for each other. I could see it happening and loved how the author gave us the slow build-up, as opposed to jumping to the hot and heavy. 
The family element that was brought in for both main characters. Megan, Rebecca’s sister, was introduced, and we meet Gage’s family at Thanksgiving.

I loved the dynamic between Gage and Rebecca, Gage’s friends and his family in particular. Red Zone has a very strong cast of secondary characters that turn a sweet and sexy sports-romance into a series by a talented author you don’t want to miss out on.
Also, while Red Zone is a sports-romance, it does not concentrate on fame and fortune but Sherri Hayes managed to write a believable and real hero who is approachable and lovable as well as uber hot!

This doesn’t pertain to the story directly but I really liked that Red Zone can easily be read as a stand-alone. I am going to go back and read the first book but it is not necessary to have any background info to understand Red Zone. Sherri Hayes managed this very nicely without repeating parts of the story to bring the reader up to speed on what had happened in Behind Closed Doors. This might sound unimportant but not many authors manage that and I always appreciate it when they doJ

What didn’t  work
No epilogue! Especially the way the book ended, it could have used one, and I really needed it.
I had a little trouble believing that an FBI agent on leave would be permitted to work another case, even if it was through a PI agency, and it was something that was always hovering in the back of my mind.
It has nothing to do with the story, but I just didn’t understand the title of the book in relation to…anything! I kept thinking somewhere we were going to find out what the Red Zone was, but unless I missed it, the title made no sense. Honestly though, it’s just an issue for me.

The ending in general was a bit of a let-down for me. I thought the very strong suspense plot took a turn into the slightly ridiculous and unbelievable. I struggled fitting the actions of Gage’s stalker to the reasons the ‘bad guy’ states when he is revealed at the end of the book.
At the same time, 90% of the book were so strong, sweet, sexy and funny, the ending only made a small dent in my overall enjoyment of the book.

Best scenes
They go to Thanksgiving at Gage house and at this point Gage and Rebecca realize there is something more going on between them, than an FBI agent protecting her charge. She has to pretend to be his girlfriend, a role she had trouble with initially, but then starts to contemplate giving in to her desires. She’s introduced to the family and someone says what Rebecca’s been thinking all along. In an awkward moment that follows, one of Gage’s brothers stammers out that he thought Megan was the girlfriend; in other words, they don’t even think Rebecca is his type, something she keeps telling Gage.  *cringe* Boy, did I feel bad for her.

There is a scene towards the end of the book, where Rebecca has a decision to make, does she take a shot at a relationship or walk away. Wow, her reaction to Gage was powerful, no words were spoken, but her actions said it all.  Very emotional, sensual and the chemistry between them is undeniable. Once was not enough for me, I kept reading it over and over!!

By far, my favorite scene was Thanksgiving with the Daniels Brothers. While I enjoyed all the scenes with Rebecca and Gage, the book made it into my favorites because of the Daniels Family. It was funny, heart-warming and absolutely lovely to read about Gabe, his family and see the cracks in Rebecca’s armor becoming bigger the more time she spent with the Daniels. I can’t wait for Paul’s story and I already have a preferred love interest chosen for him.

Favorite characters
Gage: Of course! He was a good man, even though he’s known as a player. On top of that, he came in a very appealing package, lot of sexy, hot goodness!
Rebecca: My heart went out to her; you knew there was a story from her past that she was holding back from Gage, which made her sensitive to having a relationship.
Megan: She was fun, quirky, energetic, and I’m sure she’s going to have a book, so that will be fun to read.

Usually, it’s easy to choose a favorite character but in this case I loved each and every one of them. Gage’s friends are hilarious, his family even more so and Gage and Rebecca a perfect fit. I also loved the interactions with Rebecca’s sister Megan and hope to see more of her in future books…*wink*

Overall Thoughts
I couldn’t put it down!! From the beginning to the end, it owned me! While the story itself might have had a few glitches, the writing is very good!  I regret not reading the first book in the series, which I will do very soon, I hate reading out of order, but I don’t feel like I missed anything by not reading the first book. 
I really enjoyed that the brothers came from all walks of life, so we get something different from each of them, Gage is a football player, Trent is a landscaper, Paul is a cop, and Chris is in construction, a nice mix and basically, just ordinary guys. I’m curious to read all about them as the series moves on.
The writing is sensual and passionate, and the sex is driven by emotions, which you as the reader feel along with the characters. It was descriptive when it needed to be, but many times it’s left to the imagination, which was nice as the story wasn’t bogged down with sex scenes. I love her subtle humor and the way she sets us up for next book in the series.
Sherri Hayes, is now on my radar!! Not only will I be reading Behind Closed Doors (Daniels Brothers, Book #1), I will follow the series to the end. I’ll also be seeking out other books by this talented author, which brings me to one last issue. The author writes a good book, but I don’t feel that an ebook of hers warrants a price of $9.99. I was fortunate to get an ARC of the book, so for me the cost was nothing. So, I’m going out on a limb here and this is for the publisher, not the author. Lower the price of the book! $4.99 would be an acceptable price and fair. At the current price you are going to be hard pressed to draw readers. I don’t know the logistics of it, or what goes into promoting and distributing a book, but there are plenty of books out there with a more appealing price, and the writing is just as good, so I imagine it’s possible. Let the readers experience Sherrie Hayes, Lower the price and they will come. This is just this reader’s opinion and in no way the opinion of the blog.
Other than that, I say well done Sherri Hayes!
4 Stars!

Without a doubt, Red Zone was a success for me on all fronts. Yes, the ending was a little disappointing and the suspense plot while starting out strong fell flat for me towards the end but if asked about Red Zone as a recommendation, I would tell you that it is a funny and sexy sports-romance with believable and likable characters that will draw you into their world no matter how hard you try to resist. There is great chemistry between Rebecca and Gage and a sweet romance that develops over time and doesn’t explode on the first page. Next on my list is Behind Closed Doors, the first book in the series, and I am looking forward to more from this great author! 4 Stars!

 Want to know more about Sherri Hayes?


Steffi and Karla


  1. Great reviews, gals! I enjoy the format of your double reviews. I do love stories about athletes.

  2. Sports-related characters are among my favorites. I've got this one on my wishlist and, after reading the dynamo duo's review here, I'm moving it on up the TBR list. As Karla spoke to, that $9.99 ebook price gives me pause especially with a new-to-me author.

  3. Thanks for the reviews and the giveaway! Sounds like a great read!!

    Christina G