Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Release Blitz: The End Game by Kate McCarthy

Title: The End Game
Author: Kate McCarthy
 Release Date: September 8, 2015


“Professional athletes are pillars of their respective communities. They are heroes in the eyes of boys and girls and are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that positively represents their community.”
The public loves a good scandal. Seeing someone fall from the pinnacle of success makes a great headline. No one knows that better than I do. What started out as a promising career in college football, spiraled into scandal and shame.
But being a hero is easier said then done. Especially when there are those who expected to see the great Brody Madden fail. I craved nothing except being the best—willing to do anything to prove them wrong. But I went too far, and I tried too hard, and it broke me.
“At the time of going to print, Jordan Elliott was unavailable for comment.”
I met Brody Madden in my senior year of college. An Australian native on an international scholarship, I was the female soccer sensation with stars in her eyes and no room for a hotshot wide receiver with a chip on his shoulder.
But a heart bursting with ambition and a driving fire to succeed isn’t made of stone. I became his strength, his obsession, and the greatest love of his life. Only I wasn’t there when he needed me most.
This is a story about love and a game that takes everything. Where the path to glory is paved with sacrifice. Where pressure makes you, or breaks you, and triumph is born in the ashes of failure. Where two people’s end game will change everything.

4 Star Review by Lisa Kane

Jordan Elliott is a soccer player; a real sensation on the playing field. Her biggest supporter is her brother Nick, but she is leaving Sydney, Australia  to take advantage of a scholarship to Colton Park University, a college in Austin, Texas. This is the best school in Texas for athletes and she is not about to let anything stand in her way of becoming a professional soccer player. 

Texas is very different than her home back in Australia. But she has the best roommate, Leah and Leah's boyfriend Hayden who have taken her under their wing. Running late for class one day she ends up seated next to Brody Madden,  the hot wide receiver for the Colton Bulls, the school's football team. There are sparks to say the least. But Brody is the catch all the girls want, and it's never been necessary for him to do the chasing. It's different with Jordan. 

I'm getting the impression that Jordan Elliott is fast becoming Colton Park University's shiny new diamond, complete with an all -around good girl reputation to back it up. How far will I have to dig to reach the wicked layers that lie beneath? I've seen glimpses so I know they're there.

But as things progress between them, reading Brody's POV. it becomes apparent to the reader that Brody is a mess. He might be gorgeous and friendly and crazy talented when it comes to football, but this guy has issues. Major issues. His relationship with his father has messed him up. His dad is a controlling, abusive man who holds high political aspirations and has a lot of power. For some reason he seems to detest is own son. Learning comes hard for Brody; he has dyslexia and struggles for every passing mark he gets. He is on the fast track to be drafted to the NFL and this only adds to his pressures. If he fails his classes, he will lose his dream. 

It's when these two are together that the real heartbreak begins. Brody turns to some dangerous means to help him deal with all the pressure and pretty soon he isn't able to perform, either in school or on the field without help. Jordan is clueless most of the time, but when she finds out what he is doing, what will be her reaction? 

"Is that what I am? Some mistake you made along the way?"
"No!" Dammit. That didn't come out right. 
"You're not a mistake. I love you, Jordan. You're the best part of my life. But I can't be who you need me to be. Not right now."

This was a difficult story to read at times. Jordan has known real loss; the kind that scarred her and yet she is determined not to let her past define her future. Brody on the other hand, allows his past to drag him down and he sabotages his own future. I was frustrated with his lies. He lies to everyone and he lashes out at those that care the most. It cut me deeply to read about his struggles. Most of the story is about his attempts to fight his inner demons and his inability to do so. But there is hope and light in this book. Sometimes you have to fall in order to be able to pick yourself up. Jordan is the strong one here. While everything is going to hell around her, she remains centered-even if she is a bit lost. 

"Get lost, Jordan," he says coldly, tucking his hands into the pockets of his shorts. "I actually came here to get away from you, yet here you are, chasing after me like every other damn bitch on campus."

My only complaint is the lack of storyline for Brody's healing. While the book is centered on his internal struggles and the fallout from his poor choices, we never see the healing process that occurred. While I loved the epilogues, especially from both POV's, I would have loved to have had more insight into what happened and how did Brody eventually accept and move on from the abuse he suffered. 

"But being up there is hard, and it's lonely. And if you fall, it's a long way down and no one's waiting at the bottom to catch you." 

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Shutting the door, I walk up the slight incline behind Brody. He sits down at the top of the crest and pats the grassy spot beside him.

“You didn’t mention this part when you explained our date.”

“I can’t give away all my secrets now, can I?”

The grass is a thick blanket on the ground and when I stretch out flat, the rich, earthy scent of soil sweeps over me. My eyes lift to the sky and that’s when I get it. It’s perfectly clear and millions of stars are scattered diamonds twinkling above us—bright and magical.

“Besides,” Brody adds as he lies down beside me and sweeps out his arm, encompassing all of it. “How do you explain that?”

He’s right. You can’t. “It’s beautiful.”

“Is this what the stars are like for you back home?”

“No. Back home it’s different.”

“Different how?”

Homesickness swamps me. As beautiful as Texas is, it’s not Australia. Somehow the stars are always brighter where you belong. “Because there’s no place like home.”

“You’re wrong.”

I turn my head and stare at Brody. He’s not looking at me. His head is tilted toward the sky, eyes riveted on the beauty above him. My gaze follows the line of his profile. From the curl of his hair to the perfect line of his nose, down to the mouth I want kissing me right this very instant.

“Home’s not a place where you live. It’s a feeling.” His hand nudges my own. An invitation. I twine my fingers with his and he squeezes them lightly. “Whether it’s where you are, like the football field, or who you’re with.” Brody turns his head, looking at me when he says that. It’s comforting because it unites us somehow, like it’s slowly becoming us against the world. “You can be anywhere, Jordan. Home will follow you if you follow your heart.”

My breath hitches from the beautiful simplicity of his words. Before I can talk myself out of it, I roll over and straddle him. My knees hug his hips, and he stares up at me from my seated position. My pulse pounds a heavy beat in the silence. Thump, thump, thump. It’s so loud in my ears I’m sure he can hear it.

“Show me,” I breathe. A gleam lights his dark eyes, and he sucks his lower lip inside his mouth. He knows what I’m asking, but I spell it out anyway. “Show me one of those wicked things.”

In a move that steals the air from my lungs, he takes both my hands and pulls me down against the broad width of his chest. I’m rolled over and underneath him before I can blink. The squirm in my hips is instinctive, the ache between my thighs relentless.

“Careful what you ask for,” Brody says roughly, every exquisite inch of his body pressing down on mine.


His lips curve. “Because when I give it to you, it won’t be enough.”

My fingers trail down the side of his face, grazing the firm jaw, cupping his cheek in my palm. Foreboding swamps me. I’m falling hard into uncharted territory, and all I see is a broken mess at the end. How is this going to end well for either of us?

“You’re an arrogant man, Brody Madden,” I whisper.

He brings his face to mine, so close I see the brilliant gold in his eyes, like flecks of light in the dark. “And you, Jordan Elliott, will be the woman who brings me to my knees,” he whispers against my lips.

“Show me,” I beg on a shaky breath.

Brody’s lashes lower and he presses a kiss to the corner of my mouth. I tilt my chin upwards, inviting more. Rather than take my lips like I ache for him to do, he shifts sideways and begins nipping at my jaw. His breath is a rasp when he reaches my earlobe, taking it between his teeth. A sharp pinch from his bite forces a whimper from my throat.

“More?” he asks, drawing back to look at me.

“Is that even a real question?”

Brody chuckles as I slide my hand up and around his nape, dragging his mouth down to mine. He groans and kisses me gently, once, and then twice.

“Brody,” I whisper, and he kisses me again, forcing my mouth open hard like he can’t hold himself in check anymore. My hair is loose and he fists chunks of it in both hands while his tongue rubs against mine, hot and aggressive. It’s almost too much, and when I jerk away I’m left gasping.

Brody doesn’t pause. He ducks his head to my neck, his tongue tasting its way down. He finds my pulse point and sucks. It’s fierce and my back arches involuntarily. His mouth shifts further down, moving on before he leaves a mark.

Sitting up, he takes the neckline of my dress in both hands. Five dainty buttons hold it together. A single wrench will rip the flimsy fabric in two. He pauses and looks at me, inhaling raggedly. “Jordan … I don’t want to ruin it.”

My brow furrows. I glance to the hands poised on my dress. They’re tense, veins straining under his skin. My head is lost in a fog when my gaze returns to his face. “Ruin my dress?”

Brody groans, a deep sound of regret and frustration. “Us.”

“You don’t want to ruin us?”

He draws his hands away from the neckline of my dress. “No.”

“How would you do that?”

“I don’t know. I just get this feeling I’m going to.” He shifts away, moving off me and rolling to his back. I turn my head. Brody’s gaze is back on the stars. I watch his throat work as he swallows, the pulse in his neck pounding visibly. “All I’ve ever wanted is to be the best. Whatever it takes. I’ll do anything. That’s how I’ll ruin us, Jordan. How can something so sweet survive a sentiment so dark?”

I roll to my side, holding my head in my hand. Cupping his face with the other, I nudge gently until he’s looking at me. “I won’t let you.”

Brody’s voice is urgent, his eyes fierce. “Promise me.”

I can’t shake the apprehension. It’s set in my bones and when I speak it feels like a lie. “I promise.”

Author Bio

Kate McCarthy is an Australian, living in the pretty sunshine state of Queensland with her two kids and two dogs, Rufus and Pete.

She loves to bake sweet stuff and eat it too. With an exciting degree in business, she works as an accountant by day, and an author by night. In between family life, she is most often found in bed reading, or at the beach, still reading.

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