Is this man: A) a super-hot NFL player, B) the guy you’re sexting, or C) your new boss?
If you’re Carrie Herron, the answer is: D) all of the above. First, Carrie starts exchanging steamy text messages with the sexy single dad she meets in line at the grocery store. Then she lands a job as the live-in nanny for the daughter of the Milwaukee Dragons’ newest star. With any luck, she’ll be back on her financial feet before the next cosplay convention rolls around. But when Carrie shows up for work and realizes that her new boss is the guilty pleasure in her phone, she has no choice but to try to keep things professional. Oh, how would Poison Ivy handle a temptation like Seth Chamberlain?
After getting traded from Houston to Milwaukee, Seth’s having a tough time keeping his head in the game, let alone making sure that his daughter is fitting in. So if the only nanny that Madison will tolerate is a grown woman who likes comic books even more than she does . . . well, so be it. Too bad the nanny is also the gorgeous redhead Seth’s been flirting with all this time. But with Carrie’s knowing glances and kissable lips driving him wild, Seth must decide whether he’s ready to put everything on the line.
This is, as the copy says, a romance between a nerdy science teacher and a football player. The football player is a single father, with a teenage daughter. I liked this book, but I had some issues with it, which in the end kept me from giving it a higher grade. Football and geek culture got about equal amounts of attention, which was nice, and we get a decent amount of forced proximity, so if these are your catnip, this might be the book for you.
To clear things up, Carrie and Seth are not sexting on the very first page, which I feel is implied by the cover copy. What happens is slightly more cute and more awkward. Seth pays for Carrie’s groceries, and when Carrie realizes Seth is buying his daughter her first ever tampons, she steps in to provide some guidance—they were the super sized kind, and no teenage girl is going to be ready for that right from the get-go. Anyway, Carrie gives Seth her number in case he and his daughter have any more issues, and somehow, they start flirting over text, and then it evolves into sexting. Not super explicit sexting, but sexting nonetheless. Seth doesn’t realize that Carrie is his college buddy’s younger sister, and Carrie doesn’t realize that Seth is her brother’s college teammate and part of the local football team. Until Carrie’s brother recommends Carrie to Seth, who is looking for a live-in nanny for his daughter. And voila, you have forced proximity. But by this point, Carrie and Seth had established they were interested in getting to know each other more, so when they realize that the sexual tension can’t go anywhere, since Seth’s daughter really likes Carrie, and Carrie needs a job, they agree to retreat from the sexual tension point of no return.
Carrie is a science teacher who lost her teaching position and has been looking for a new one. She’s into comics and cosplay. She doesn’t have an interest in football until after getting to know Seth better, even though her brother is a scout. She takes to being a nanny surprisingly quickly. She has one best friend who we really only see via texts and one or two phone calls. To a certain extent, the story and Carrie and Seth are consistent, but given their situations, some of their choices still felt off to me.
Seth moved to a new team, and brought his daughter with him. Before, he and his daughter lived in the same city as his parents, so he had a lot of support taking care of his daughter. But now that he’s moved, he lost that network. Hence his need for a nanny. To Seth, there are only two things that really matter, his daughter’s wellbeing and football. He’s attracted to Carrie, but recognizes that having sex would not be good for their working relationship, or for his daughter. Like Carrie, he doesn’t really know that much about geek culture—particularly comics—even though his daughter is a fan. So, he also learns about something new, although not exactly to the same extent as Carrie. He doesn’t seem to leearn—really learn—Poison Ivy’s backstory, and Poison Ivy is the character Carrie plays at conventions. On the other hand, Carrie learns the rules of football, and worries about Seth’s injuries. Seth does a slightly equivalent thing—which happens further along in the book and it is sweet, so I’m not going to spoil it. But it just doesn’t balance out for me.
Most importantly, the wellbeing of Seth’s daughter gets set aside for more than one chapter while Seth and Carrie are in the haze of great sexytimes. And it only becomes an issue when it works to split Carrie and Seth apart. I think that is what bothered me the most. You notice your daughter is wanting to spend less and less time with you, and instead of sitting down with her, or maybe talking it out with your mother, who was her caretaker for several years, you opt to use that time to have sex. Not cool! I get the idea of showing imperfect characters, and I’m usually here for that kind of storytelling, but it did not work for me in this book.
There were some sweet moments, and if you like reading about two people from different walks of life crossing paths and falling in love, On the Line is worth checking out.
You can buy a copy here.