Alex Martin continues to tell the tales of the wives of the Denver Mustangs in this third entry to the Playbook series. Blitzed by Alexa Martin follows the story of a previously-just-a-plucky-side-character / bar owner Brynn. She’s a serially single lady with a massive crush on Maxwell, an NFL player who has frequented her bar for years. This quiet hovering and eye contact based relationship they had builds up an odd, chemistry driven rapport. Just as Brynn’s ready to make her move, Maxwell inexplicably destroys part of her bar in a fit of rage. While this would be the end to most conventional crushes, this is just the beginning of Brynn and Maxwell’s romance.
According to Brynn Larson, Maxwell Lewis is more trouble than he’s worth. She doesn’t care if he’s a football god with a rock-hard body that brings most women to their knees. After an encounter that ends poorly, she’s not interested in giving him a second chance. The last thing Brynn expects is for him to turn up at her bar months later, hat in hand. It doesn’t matter if he brings more customers to her business–she’s still not going on a date with him.
Maxwell knows he made a mistake. He’d been waiting to make his move on Brynn since the day he laid eyes on her and he was finally ready to go for it until he screwed up. He wishes he could tell her the truth about what happened that night, but he just can’t. He can’t tell anyone, so he’ll make amends and hope she’ll forgive him.
Brynn’s not like other women, though. Playing for the Mustangs doesn’t impress her and gifts make her scoff. Max will have to bring his A game if he hopes to win her over.
Brynn is a businesswoman who values comfort over aesthetics (relatable), friendships over romantic relationships, and family above all else. She’s finally reaping the reward of her years of hard work on her business: a popular female oriented bar that plays reality TV in place of sports or Keno. Her bar is her life, and it’s through her bar that she has met most of the significant people in her life. While she is not necessarily a commitment-phobe, she is definitely commitment adverse, and prefers to focus more on her business than anything else.
So, how does a destructive fit of rage begin a Happily Ever After? That’s where the issues with this book start. For some inexplicable reason, Brynn’s friends encourage her to give Maxwell a second chance, even though he didn’t apologize for destroying part of her bar (he only slipped money under her door for repairs). This was a shaky start at best, and really didn’t set a good tone for the rest of the book. A quintessential trait of a good romance book is a certain degree of believability, which this book definitely lacked from the start.
Martin’s previous two book shone in their ability to balance drama with romantic moments – something that Blitzed was sorely missing. The majority of the ‘action’ happened within the last 30 pages of the book. The rest of the plot was slow and vanilla: boy meets girl, boy destroys girl’s property, boy and girl fall in love(?), boy lies to girl and withholds information, boy gets mad when girl (rightfully) does not trust him. You know, typical romance stuff. The lack of anything exciting for the majority of the plot made Blitzed incredibly forgettable and made it read more like a serial romance than a contemporary rom com.
Blitzed is, at its core, a book that is trying to implore the value of finding someone to spend your life with and the value of trust in these kinds of relationships. Not the most progressive of themes. The entire narrative was that Brynn had to change for Maxwell – that her mistrust of him was unacceptable and that her independence was not suitable. This narrative was damaging and was contradictory to the evidence the book provided – Maxwell never provided a reason for Brynn to trust him (in fact, he gave her a lot of reasons not to). At every turn, Maxwell was untrustworthy – taking calls mysterious calls that enraged him, telling Brynn to stay away from his brother, but not telling her why, etc. But the book continued to push the idea that Brynn has trust issues and should just get over it already and get under Maxwell.
Where Alexa Martin previously had a gift for breathing a feminist (and entertaining) breath of air into the rom com genre, it was sorely lacking in Blitzed. Even days after reading, it’s hard to remember what exactly happened and how the two lovebirds eventually came together. Blitzed is a dull, vapid entry to an otherwise entertaining series that seems to be fizzling out before it can crawl over the finish line. If you’re looking for a good romance, check out The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang or The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory. 2/5