Rating: 4 stars
Stephanie Evanovich has a thing for love and male athletes. In her latest novel, “The Total Package,” Evanovich creates a romance between two unlikely characters, a football player with a moral compass set in the wrong direction, and a headstrong woman who fell for him once but isn’t likely to make that mistake again.
Tyson Palmer is a football player who had it all — until he didn’t. Tyson graduated into the big leagues but he lost his way when drinking and drugs became a way of life instead of practicing. But in the end, Tyson’s talent saved him, and he was given a last-ditch offer to enter rehab and get his act together.
Dani Carr has remade herself into a contender for a top sports commentator and doesn’t want anything to stand in her way. She’s all set for an interview that could change her life when she finds out that her former nemesis (and unrequited love interest), Tyson Palmer, got the job.
When neither of them end up with the job, Dani and Tyson are thrown together unexpectedly. Tyson doesn’t remember Dani as the young and unsophisticated college student who tutored him and then, in a chance reunion years later, threw herself at him in what ended up as a one-night stand that had life-long consequences for Dani. Of course, to be fair to Tyson, Dani changed her name, her hair, and her figure in the intervening years.
Dani had spent years adoring Tyson and being sure that someday he would finally realize that she was the one for him, and when that never happened, her adoration began to turn into something uglier. When Tyson finally realizes who Dani is — he becomes determined to win her over. But now Dani has a secret which might just keep them apart.
There are no surprise twists here, just good solid writing and a good solid romance. Readers always enjoy getting to revisit characters from previous novels and see how they are doing, and in “The Total Package,” Logan Montgomery of “The Sweet Spot” plays an important role.
Please note: This review is based on the final hardcover book provided by William Morrow Books for review purposes.