FTC Disclosure: The publisher, author, book tour company has provided me with a copy of this book for review or I have purchased it with my own funds. The opinions I share are mine and not influenced by the publisher, author, or book tour company if received for review.
Series: Gridiron #3
Published by Self Published Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Sports
I have to admit after reading Jockblocked, the previous book in the Gridiron series, I was not a fan of JR “Ace” Anderson. Lucy’s best friend turned into a total asshat because Lucy fell for Matty, but that wasn’t all, Ace was with one too many ladies and came off as one of the most selfish characters I think I have ever read about. So when I found out Downed was his story I was really tempted to skip it all together but yet I was curious if he could redeem himself from the shit storm he caused and became in Jockblocked.
Bryant Johnson is the daughter of the Southern U head coach and is well loved not only by the team but her sorority sisters and an all-round good girl. After her sisters suicide she is committed to transforming the womanizers on campus into the respectable boyfriends they should be, and after they are finished, she sets them up to possibly find their true love. Ace happens to be her next project; she has heard how he was at his old school and knows there is a good man under the asshole persona that he puts out, but what Bryant didn’t expect was to fall for him. When her “fixing” is done will she be able to let Ace go?
Ace is new to Southern U and after basically being run out of his old schools football program after sleeping with the coaches daughter, the last thing Ace needs is trouble with his new coach, especially when he is trying to earn the trust of his new team. When he finds out Bryant is the daughter of Coach Johnson he plans to stay away but when she declares them as dating, and finding out her dad is cool with them seeing one another, he finds it hard to stay away from her. What starts off as a causal relationship quickly becomes more as Ace goes all in but can he convince Bryant not only that he is a changed man but that he is the only one for her?
From the beginning of Downed all I could think about was this was the same Ace from Jockblocked. He doesn’t care about anyone but himself but as Downed started to progress I really saw the changes in him and felt Bryant was really doing him some good. Both characters are total opposites and at first I didn’t see how these two would end up together or make it work because they are really that different. Bryant is outgoing, helpful, and popular while Ace is rude, a loner and just wants to play football.
Bryant is a steamroller and right away I took to her character. She doesn’t give Ace the chance to back out and quickly becomes the only friend he has on campus. The more time she spends with him the more his teammates start to come around and interact with him. There were times I couldn’t help but feel bad for Ace when I realized how lonely he actually was. He tries to brush it off making out he isn’t effected that no one wants to hang with him but deep down he’s hurt and isn’t sure how to break the ice with them.
I know I said this earlier but I am so glad I did end up reading Downed, not only did Ace redeem himself but he also became one of my favorite heroes in this series. When Downed started Bryant held pretty much all the power in her hands but once they became intimate the power started to shift and started to leave Bryant a little unsteady. They both have family issues but for different reasons and when Ace and Bryant are left to look deeper at one another and what they have, I thought what really stood out was a special bond that was really growing.
Overall, Downed was a great addition to this series and I was completely satisfied how Jen Frederick took the most unlikeable hero and turned him into one of the most lovable by the end. Downed introduced a whole new set of characters which I did enjoy, but I was glad to see some old favorites make more than one appearance. There wasn’t a hint of whose book will be next, but I am really hoping its Ty, Knox’s twin. If you love the Gridiron series as much as I do trust me you don’t want to miss Downed.