Aug 4 2017 8:30am

3 Series You Have to Read If You Love Football Romances

Sports romances have been getting ever more popular for several years now, with MMA fighting and hockey leading the way. I haven't done a formal count, but my guess is that football takes third. There are dozens of series out there, and it can be hard to know where to start. Here are three I recommend for your first dive into football romance. Even for seasoned readers, if you've somehow missed these, consider checking them out.

Chicago Stars series by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

It Had to Be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

The football romance series that started them all. Before this series debuted, conventional wisdom was that athlete heroes didn't sell. Even for several years after, that adage held true. Maybe Susan Elizabeth Phillips could do it, but us mere mortals couldn't.

Now that we've crushed that rule to smithereens, the Chicago Stars series continues to be held up as a classic, and always worth a read. Fair warning: her heroes can be a little chauvinist, which was much more acceptable in 1994 romances than it is now. If that turns you off, even taking the books' ages into account, maybe skip to the next series.

1. It Had to Be You (Amazon | B&N | Kobo): Artist Phoebe inherits her father's football team, the Chicago Stars. She and head coach Dan must challenge their assumptions about each other so they can win the AFC Championship and keep their jobs. This book will forever hold a spot in my Top 10.

2. Heaven, Texas (Amazon | B&N | Kobo):  Retired wide receiver Bobby heads to his hometown to star in a movie, and it's Gracie's job to keep his wild nature in check.

3. Nobody's Baby but Mine (Amazon | B&N | Kobo): Genius Jane wants a baby, but no husband. She seduces QB Cal, assuming he's dumb & their IQs will balance out, giving her child a normal life. But Cal is full of surprises.

4. Dream a Little Dream (Amazon | B&N | Kobo): Single mom Rachel and her son help Gabe heal his guarded heart. This is considered part of the series, though is only connected through Gabe's brother Cal, hero of #3. So neither main character is part of the football team.

5. This Heart of Mine (Amazon | B&N | Kobo): KidLit author Molly, who is Phoebe's (Book 1) little sister, gets stranded at the family's vacation cabin with her longtime crush, QB Kevin.

Amazon tells me that there are three newer books in the series, but I admit I haven't read them. They are:

6. Match Me If You Can (Amazon | B&N | Kobo): Sports agent Heath and professional matchmaker Annabelle.

7. Natural Born Charmer (Amazon | B&N | Kobo): QB Dean and revenge-seeking portrait artist Blue.

8. First Star I See Tonight (Amazon | B&N | Kobo): Detective Piper and QB Cooper.

New York Sabres series by Farrah Rochon

Huddle With Me Tonight by Farrah Rochon

One complaint I hear most often about football romance is the lack of diverse heroes—especially considering black men make up 70% of the NFL. Farrah Rochon's series is one of the exceptions, and all four books in her New York Sabres series are excellent.

Please note, Goodreads and Amazon both list these books in a different order. This, however, is the order they were published in, and the order Ms. Rochon lists them on her website. I got duped by Goodreads and read Field of Pleasure first, but it didn't detract from my overall enjoyment of the series.

1.  Huddle With Me Tonight (2010) (Amazon | B&N | Kobo): Journalist Paige's harsh review of NFL player Torrian's memoir leads to an online confrontation. But when they meet in real life, real sparks fly.

2.    I'll Catch You (2011) (Amazon | B&N | Kobo): NFL bad boy Cedric needs a new agent, and ambitious newcomer Payton sees him as the career jump start she needs.

3.    Field of Pleasure (2011) (Amazon | B&N | Kobo): Playboy cornerback Jared can't seem to keep things casual with choreographer Chyna.

4.    Pleasure Rush (2012) (Amazon | B&N | Kobo): Restauranteur Deirdre steps onto the wild side on vacation and seduces retired-linebacker-turned-TV-analyst Theo.

Out of Bounds series by Tracy Solheim

A newer series that's become a staple in NFL Romancelandia, is Tracy Solheim's Out of Bounds series, about the Baltimore Blaze.

Game on by Tracy Solheim

1. Game On (Amazon | B&N | Kobo): Bad boy quarterback Shane is a risk for the Baltimore Blaze – and for Blaze employee Carly.

2. Foolish Games (Amazon | B&N | Kobo): After 1 night between linebacker Will and Julianne results in a son with a rare disease, Will is determined to make them a family.

2.5 A Numbers Game: Novella (Amazon | B&N | Kobo): New to coaching, retired player Heath wants a second chance with brainy Merritt.

3. Risky Game (Amazon | B&N | Kobo): Cash-strapped grad student Shay stumbles upon tight end Brody's secret, so he decides he must keep her close to risk exposure.

4. Sleeping With the Enemy (Amazon | B&N | Kobo): Blaze owner Jay is getting sued by his cheerleaders, and ends up with his ex, Bridgett, as his legal defender.

Whether you start with one of the above books, or want to try something else (I have a Pinterest page just for football romances I want to read), there are dozens of football romances out there to get you your tight end or quarterback fix until the season kicks off on September 7 (not that I'm counting down). 

H&H Editor Picks:

10 Dirty Football Terms You Didn’t Know Were Legitimate

9 Romances H&H Reviewers Loved in July 2017

August 2017 Romance Novels New Releases Shopping List






Liz Lincoln has been concocting stories as long as she can remember, and from the beginning they involved two people falling in love. These days she writes contemporary romance under her own name, as well as spicy New Adult romance as Eliza Madison." When she's not writing, she spends her time rooting for the UW Badgers and the Green Bay Packers (or yearning for the return of football season), stitching sassy sayings or nerdy characters - she's a devout Wonder Woman worshiper - and drinking too much Diet Coke. She lives in Milwaukee, WI, with her husband, two kids, two cats, and a turtle.

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Jennifer Proffitt
1. JenniferProffitt
I love sport romance, but actually haven't read any of these series... *runs to Amazon to pick up all of these!*
2. LizLincoln
I admit I haven't finished all the SEP ones, because I didn't realize she'd added to it more recently. So I had to add them all to my massive Kindle to-read list.
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