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Friday, July 17, 2015

Chasing Jillian By Julie Brannagh

 A Review by Wendy
3.5 Finding Your Home Stars 
* * * 1/2
Reading gives us so much... we escape into a story and for moments out of our "Real Life" we are with these characters... a fly on the wall... being there as "their lives" take place. It is the author's choice as to how they take us there, what we see and learn and the final outcome. It is also "their choice" as to whether they include something more than an original story... if they include some insight into a topic which can make a difference in the reader's "Real World".

Julie Brannagh did just that... she has used her skills to highlight the inadequacies of the Foster Care system and put the spotlight on an organization which makes a difference in these children's lives every day. She not only created a main character who was from the system and now making it on her own but also had her giving back to this organization. We saw what this meant to her and how it was as natural as breathing.

We are taken on a journey of discovery for both main characters in this book. Our gal has made it through the system and against all odds, come out the other side as a very capable, loveable person.  She acquired the education and skill set to have been hired as the executive assistant to the owner of the Seattle Sharks Football team. The interview process was tough and her boss told her any dating with the team would be grounds for termination. As a quick and unfounded reaction to the no dating policy, she blurted out she was involved with someone so it wouldn't be an issue.

Yeah, right...She was dating like she was going to be the head cheerleader for the team. She knew it was a fib and really didn't understand why she even said it... But now, two months later... it was the story she told everyone. When ever asked, she just said he traveled a lot... or was really, really busy. So far it was working when inquiring minds wanted to know.

She was very sure no football player would be interested in her... Her curves were very curvy and she was not the long legged, model type all of them were seen with in the magazines or events. She didn't care, anyway. She had her life planned out... work hard, help at the Treehouse organization, find all the bargains she could afford and make these other kids like her feel loved and cared for...Oh, and be the best executive assistant ever so she has a job.

She was looking to feel better and get a little exercise in with her DVD but her neighbors didn't appreciate all the stomping overhead. She thought she could use the players gym after work. No one would be there and there was a big open area with a tv/dvd she decided to use it. She didn't know if it was ok...but thought no one would be around, so what would the harm be...

As she is going through the motions, a big handsome player comes into the gym all fired up. He has broken off his relationship with a long time girlfriend. It should have been done before now but he had just let it keep going. He was frustrated with himself and also with the newness of joining this team. He came back to Seattle to be closer to his parents, loved them dearly and now he was just getting himself comfortable back in his home town.  As he realizes he is not alone in the gym, he spots her and she looks at him almost like a deer in headlights...

After explaining who she is and why she was there...names are exchanged. He sees a woman who has a bright cute look about her and uses this opportunity to show her how to actually use the gym properly. He explains the treadmill and sets it up for her. She gets on even though she feels embarrassed and a bit awkward. They make small talk and he is very encouraging...She steps off and thanks him. He says bye and both are kinda touched by the moments together.

What is shown to us is a friendship...a way for these two to become friends and actual confidants. It happens slowly, with him seeking her out to walk with her at her lunch time, or him asking if she wants to go on an adventure with him...It doesn't matter what the activity is... these two are developing a bond and both know there is something more than friendship...

Eventually everything comes to a head... she is feeling love and he is too- but is a little blind to it. The way all of it happens works exactly as it should... the author gives a slow burn and then a very sweet ending. My only complaint would be there was No Epilogue....Boo.

But there was lots to enjoy and in keeping with the story, Julie Brannagh is putting her heart out there and giving us as readers a chance to experience her joy. She is contributing a percentage of her first week's sales to The Treehouse, the organization profiled in her book.

A gifted copy was provided by author/publisher for an honest review.

7127296 USA Today bestselling author Julie Brannagh has been writing since she could hold a pencil. She lives in a small town near Seattle, where she once served as a city council member and owned a yarn shop. She shares her home with a wonderful husband, two uncivilized Maine Coons and a rambunctious chocolate Lab.

When she's not writing, she's reading--or armchair-quarterbacking her favorite NFL team from the comfort of the family room couch. Julie is a Golden Heart finalist and the author of six contemporary sports romances.

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