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Publisher's Summary

The first time NFL quarterback Heath Harris meets Sam Crawford, it’s just them, a luxury yacht, and a few days of fun in the sun. Sam turns out to be nothing like Heath expects. He’s kind and funny and irreverent - and also unbelievably, shockingly sexy. For three short, glorious, life-changing days, there are no rules.

The second time they meet, Sam has just been traded to Heath’s team, and instead of lovers, now they’re rivals. Heath has spent the last five years working desperately to be the best quarterback the Riptide could ever need, but when injuries threaten to derail his career, Sam is right there, standing on the sideline. Ready to take over, and ready to ruin everything Heath has given his life for.

Rival. Enemy. Teammate. Friend. Lover.

As their orbits collide, sparks fly, and Heath struggles to find the right label and the right box to shove Sam into, hoping to keep him contained. But Sam - and Heath’s feelings - refuse to cooperate.

Sam might not be just one of those things, he might be all of them, and so much more.

©2020 Beth Bolden (P)2020 Beth Bolden

What listeners say about The Rivalry

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  • RACHEL REED
  • 2021-09-05

Steamy sports romance!!❤️

Absolutely loved this opposites attract sports romance!!

The storyline was engaging and the characters were likeable and well fleshed out.

This was a fun listen and the audio delivery and on point.

Definitely recommend

2 people found this helpful

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  • Reading*Renee
  • 2021-08-20

Angsty Journey of Love, Acceptance & Football

Having already read Rough Contact - the fabulous 5-star Book 2 in this series - I was curious about Sam and Heath's story. Their journey is an angsty rollercoaster ride, as both pro football players are deeply closeted, tangled in emotions after their steamy vacation hook-up, and competing for the same high-stakes starting quarterback spot.

Adding to the ongoing tension are unspoken feelings and miscommunication between the men, which is frustrating but also feels true to the characters - particularly Heath, since his complex relationship with Sam is also a sexual awakening for him, plus he's got some baggage to work through.

I enjoyed the slow-build of friendship between Heath and Sam as their rivalry eases and they build trust and understanding as teammates and more. Their HEA is hard won, packed with feeling, and ultimately worth the bumpy journey to get there. And cheers for a sports romance actually featuring a good amount of playtime.

Narrator Darcy Stark has a pleasant voice, and I enjoyed his performance. I especially liked the twangy drawl he gave to Heath's voice.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Janet L Hunt
  • 2020-09-22

Good story

Heath and Sam are rivals on the same football team and are both in the closet. They have to find a way to work thru their own issues to be together. This was a good story although it did drag in a few places. The narration was fantastic!! Darcy Stark did a great job!

1 person found this helpful

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  • naty
  • 2021-05-04

Beautiful

Loved this book when I read it
Now with the narration- it was superb
The narrator was new to me but now I will certainly check other works of his
I
Keep hoping the next book in the series will be recorded, and by this narrator
Thank you!

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  • Goldenchels
  • 2020-10-26

Great Football romance

Powerful football romance, more angry that I normally like but it fits with this story so I didn’t mind. Heath and Sam are wonderful characters and it’s fun to see the little flashes of characters from other Beth Bolden books. The narration is fine, but the story is the highlight here

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  • Karri
  • 2020-10-22

Alot of Angst

This book me a few days to get through. It wasn't that I didn't like it. It was just that the lead protagonist was such a mess. And a bit repetitive. I mean I loved him but there were so many hurdles he had to overcome it was kind of... exhausting. Not a lot of depth. Push me, pull you

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  • Stephanie VO
  • 2020-09-25

Great listen.

Now I don't like sports but I do love listening to a good sports romance story. I really like Health and Sam's story. They didn't have an easy time to their happy ending but I really like their journey. Darcy Stark did a great job with this narration. He brings a lot of feelings into this story that just pulled me right into this story.

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  • Tucker Almengor
  • 2020-09-24

Sweet and steamy

Many thanks to GayRomanceReviews.com for the free review copy

3.5 Stars

I definitely picked this because of the cover but once I dived into it, I found that it was more than just a pretty cover. It covered some heavy(ish) themes such as exploring your sexuality and how to come out to your loved ones. There was just a bit of steam but not a ton but I didn't mind. Although the love between Sam and Heath was a little insta-lovey, it was still really sweet.

Overall, this was a slightly steamy and very sweet gay sports romance.

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  • Leah Brock
  • 2020-09-23

A Football Romance

I like sports romances. Not really sure why; I don't follow any sport in real life. I haven't read too many though, so I asked to receive a free review copy of 'The Rivalry' and am now leaving a voluntary review.

Heath, a professional football player with extreme repression issues, meets Sam, a player for a different team, when they spend a few days on the same yacht cruise. They assume their hook-up is over afterwards, despite having developed feelings for each other. Sam is later traded to Heath's team and their close proximity causes Heath's tamped-down emotions to bubble over. And not necessarily for the better.

On my angst-o-meter this book is pretty high, but the well-written plot by Bolden gives it great context. The actions and reactions of the characters are logical and progress at a realistic pace. Heath's mania over keeping absolute control over his football career make it impossible for him to feel any emotion but anger. Thankfully, Sam is the support he needs to kick-start his journey to finding his true self. Wonderful character growth is shown in Heath's quest for acceptance and love.

Darcy Stark narrates the dialogue extremely well. His character voices are distinct. The expository narration was a bit formal and over-enunciated. Overall, his reading style is great.

Recommended.

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  • OldLadyStauffer
  • 2020-09-23

First time, sorta friends/enemies to lovers

The first mistake these fellas made was not communicating, but fear can make it hard to do. Fear, old hangups, and not communicating were big hurdles for Sam and Heath. Dealing with the fallout of coming out is a bigger one.

I loved the chemistry between Sam and Heath. Even when they weren’t communicating completely, they still saw through each other’s masks they put on.

I enjoyed this mish-mash of tropes that were in this story. It worked, in my opinion. It worked really well. I have read/listened to other series by the author, and this one is as enjoyable as the others. It’s easy to get attached to the main characters, and sucked into their story.

Darcy Stock did a good job with the book. True, there wasn’t a lot of differentiation between the character’s voices, but I never found it problematic. I was able to follow along just fine. He did a good job with putting emotions into his narration, and was pleasant to listen to.