But other than Janna’s recommendation to read a particular KU series in which the four horsemen of the apocalypse are quote “stone-cold hotties” unquote, I haven’t found much in the monkey grass side-yard of KU to keep my interest.
Enter: The Hoops series by Kennedy Ryan.
Picture this. I am on a 12-hour road trip with my sixty-something year old parents. JUST THE THREE OF US. No children to buffer our conversation, no husband to interject nonsense into otherwise weighty conversations. Just me, and my mom and my dad … for days. The only physical book I brought was by a biblical scholar in hopes of sparking a good conversation with my pastor-dad about divine inspiration and the fallacy of inerrancy, but he had his eyes on the road, so … I opened up Amazon.
The road from Memphis to Atlanta to Charleston is not a particularly scenic one (plenty of interstate-side confederate flags), but not much to gaze in wonder at. I needed a reason to keep my face in my phone, and Kindle Unlimited came through in a big way with the first of Kennedy Ryan’s Hoops romances: Long Shot.
Imagine near seven-foot tall, fictional NBA players falling in love with gorgeous, unassuming women over one conversation at a bar, or over a semester in college at the laundromat, or the second they step into a hospital room to see a mutual friend. Imagine time and distance and marriages and trauma and best friends and contracts and ethics and agents keeping them apart for years. Imagine the angst, the long looks and the ever-present lust. Imagine it all.
Then throw in some truly great women. Ambitious. Smart. Feisty. Bold. Accomplished. Connected. Each one different from the other and appreciated for her own damn self. It’s a romance series for every woman, and I loved each woman in it.
When reading Long Shot (the first in the series), I was a bit trepidatious because it would easily be classified as Tragirotica. Perfectly coined by Katy five years ago, Tragirotica (also known as Traumance depending on how many times the c-words are used) is the romance novel that spears you in the tragic backstory side. One (or both) main characters have endured so much pain and trauma that whatever whirlwind romance they should be having is tempered with flashbacks of pain, hurt and PTSD. Long Shot didn’t bother to keep the trauma in the past; you get it in first person in the present, and here is where I give you a Content Warning: abuse. LOTS of it. Every type you can imagine and in painful detail. I almost put it down (please see: interminable parental road trip for reasons I did not).
For some readers, the painful road to their happily ever after is worth it, and the journey there makes the love at the end even more so. I would argue that at least with Long Shot, that particular road had too many pot-holes and switchbacks to get any reader safely there unscathed. It was A LOT.
However, the subsequent books in the series, Block Shot and Hook Shot and Hoops Holiday (short story collection) don’t have quite the same level of IN YOUR FACE tragedy, and work themselves out as realistic and raunchy, contemporary erotic romances that star very tall, very buff, very sexy BALLERS. Well, ballers, former ballers and baller agents and the woman who love them.
If you don’t already subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, you can get these novels for less than $3 a piece, but by the time you’ve bought them all – you’ve paid for your KU subscription, so why not get one and keep searching for the good stuff? I just downloaded the first in Kennedy’s other KU series, Flow, and I think it’s about beat poetry and I AM SO HERE FOR THAT.