Kick Back by KJKick Back by KJ is a contemporary sports romance set in Australia which leaves you wanting more by the end of the book.

Sophia Lindstrom wears many hats, owns her business with her brother, and volunteers at a shelter but her true passion is playing football in the women’s AFL league. However, it is most likely her last season playing in the AFLW because of her age. Sophia has dealt with the loss of her mother when she was young and more recently, the loss of her father. For these reasons, Sophia is afraid to give away her heart to someone else for fear of them leaving like everyone eventually does.

Cameron Walters is a reporter, yet is unable to write breaking news stories like she longs to. It’s not for a lack of trying and her latest assignment from her sexist editor is to write fluff pieces about the women’s AFL. As she attends the practices and games, she notices some things are off and is curious to see if there’s a bigger story there.

Sophia is attracted to Cameron when they first meet, however, Cameron refuses her advances, at first. Cameron has her reasons for wanting to keep her distance from Sophia as Sophia reminds her of a past relationship, where she had her heart broken.

To make things even more complicated, the women’s football league is not getting the same recognition as the men’s due to misogyny and the lack of support from the executives. As the second season of the AFLW begins, the more Sophia and Cameron discover that there’s something sinister at play, from the hot water being turned off to players falling ill. Will Cameron and Sophia be able to overcome their anxiety and trust issues to be in a relationship together, and also be able to uncover what’s going on with the women’s AFL league?

Pros And My Favourite Parts

Kick Back was a wonderful read from start to finish. From the characters to the writing style, I loved everything about it. I was emotionally invested because of what the characters were trying to fight, both on and off the field.

The slow-burn romance worked for me, I felt that the chemistry was better developed, and built a stronger bond. I loved the banter between Soph and Cam. Cam’s initial reluctance to date Soph was due to a past relationship, but in the end, it was Soph who was afraid to take the leap toward a relationship because of the losses she’s dealt with in her life.

The supporting characters definitely need to be mentioned as they were one of the many reasons for bringing this book to life. I loved that her brother and Lin had her back and Lin’s straightforward attitude. Bianca was a mystery throughout the book and it was great to uncover the many layers that were slowly revealed regarding this character. I was intrigued by her and would definitely love to read more about her.

Cons And Heads Up

No cons here.

The Conclusion

This is the first book I read by KJ and I was quite impressed with the writing style, this author has definitely become a fast favourite and I can’t wait to read more of her works. There was a good mix of funny, romance, and even slight mystery which had me feeling all sorts of emotions. Kick Back definitely made me feel for the characters and inspired me to take a stand for what I believe and what is right. Highly recommend.

Excerpt from Kick Back by KJ

“I’m guessing that’s not a normal occurrence.” The voice was quiet next to her shoulder, and Sophia turned. Cam, flipping a handful of brown curls from her forehead, cast a quizzical gaze at Sophia, who in turn rolled her eyes.

“Of course it’s not normal. You think we play chicken with high-pressure lawn sprinklers as part of our regular training regimen?” Sophia watched a little smile curl on Cam’s lips, and felt her own start. “That could be kind of fun, though.”

Cam’s smile grew. “Should I write that into my next story? ‘Blonde patents training technique. Extols the wonders of recycled irrigation water’.” Sophia held her gaze, then laughed at the joke, and the absurdity of the situation. She grabbed a handful of her shirt to wring out the water, realised how pointless that was, and just pulled it over her head, flinging the shirt at her kit bag beside her feet. It sat like wet dough. The cool air raised goosebumps on her skin and pushed her nipples into the fabric of the sports bra.

“Oh! Um. Well, okay, you’re in your underwear.” Cam’s brown eyes, when Sophia looked up, were darting about, trying not to land on any part of the exposed skin between the skintight full-length training leggings and the sports bra. Sophia smirked, then folded her arms, knowing the action enhanced her biceps and pushed her breasts higher. She raised an eyebrow, as confident tingles fluttered in her stomach.

“If you’re going to be writing articles about women’s football, you’ll have to get used to seeing women’s bodies.” She rolled her lips together as the comment caused Cam’s eyes to flash with annoyance and zero in on hers.

“I’m fine with seeing women’s bodies, thank you very much. You were…it was unexpected, that’s all.” They held their gaze, then Sophia grinned.

“Okay.” She bent down to pack the damp shirt into the bag, zipped it closed, and shoved it against the wall with her foot. “I’m going to see if Craig needs a hand with collecting the balls.” Sophia glanced at Cam. “You’ll be looking at more women’s bodies if you’re heading to the change rooms now to interview someone.” She chuckled at Cam’s expression of indignation, which was highlighted by an irritated poke at her glasses.

“God! Bloody athletes. You are so arrogant. I’m not a cadet, you know.” Cam glared. “I am actually a proper journalist, trying to do my job.” She waved in a general fashion at Sophia. “Being all half-naked, and…and trying to flirt with me is really unnecessary, inappropriate, and…and patronising.” Cam rested her hands on her hips, her eyebrows pushed down. Sophia blinked, then, recognising the little door that had opened, stepped closer.

“I wasn’t flirting with you,” she said evenly, holding Cam’s stare, noticing for the first time the wayward curls that framed Cam’s face and bumped against her glasses. Leaning forward ever so slightly to reduce the height difference, Sophia watched as Cam’s lips parted involuntarily. “You’d know if I was,” she murmured. The eye contact was held for only a single breath, then Sophia turned and strolled down the ramp, the studs on the soles of her football boots clicking on the concrete. She kept her stride loose no matter how cranky her muscles were. Just before she entered the corridor to the management rooms, Sophia stared back up the walkway at Cam, who looked annoyed and flustered all at once. “See you next training session, Cam.” Sophia grinned. Perhaps she’d get her dinner date, after all.

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Bits and Bobs

ISBN number: 9798601462808

Publisher: Indie Author

KJ Online

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