Book Review — Going Pro: Touchdown by Ashlyn Hope

I’m a big nerd when it comes to romance novels. It is pretty much the only thing, when it comes to fiction, that I will read. If that romance novel somehow ties in sports, and/or has a main character that is an athlete, I am ten times more likely to pick it up and read it. That’s why I was immediately on board to read and review Going Pro: Touchdown by debut author Ashlyn Hope.

Going Pro: Touchdown tells the story of a small-town-turned-big-city-girl named Prudence, who goes by the nickname “Pro.” Pro recently decided to become a licensed massage therapist, scrapping the academia route she had previously planned for her life. The book begins with Pro, a few months into her new career, struggling to pay the rent for her business and unhappy with her current beau, a guy she met on the Internet and recently started dating.

After impressing a massage client, she gets a job with one of two professional football teams in town. When she decides to go out and celebrate, she runs  into her supposed beau, tongue down another woman’s throat. Pro rushes out of the bar and crashes into a guy on the sidewalk. David, nicknamed “Meat Mountain,” quickly sweeps her off her feet. He has her out enjoying life for the first time in a while.

I enjoyed this story a lot. I think Ashlyn did a really good job creating a story and world that immediately draws you in, demands your attention and makes you want more when it’s over. The subject slightly reminded me of one of my favorite-yet-canceled-way-too-early television series, The Client List. While these stories are very different, they both involved the world of massage, which lends itself, by nature, to a much sexier kind of storytelling.

While I know it is a debut novel, I think details were missing that could have made the story more complete. Where is Pro from? What city does the story take place in? What made her want to make the switch from academia to massage therapy? How did Frank, the client who got her the job with the football team, find out about her and why did he not just see the team’s other massage therapists? These details, while minute in importance, would help paint a clearer picture for readers. I also think the transitions between the scenes could be more clearly defined, even if it was just a visual change on the page, with more space between the ending paragraph of one scene and the beginning paragraph of the next one. I also think the fact that the book is only about 80 pages made it hard to get a good handle on the details as a reader; in a lot of ways, it read more like a prequel than a first novel. I hope that in the next installment of Pro and David’s story, we’ll get more of a fleshed out story and maybe even some conflict between these lovers.

Overall, Ashlyn’s book is a good first effort. With the addition of more detail, this could be a strong series. I look forward to reading the next part of David and Pro’s story.

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