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Every rule has an exception.


Tori Russo’s job is very simple—be a pretty distraction for a professional football player with a bad attitude. Her only problem? She’d rather gain some actual marketing experience during her internship than be someone’s arm candy for photo ops. Growing up with a Navy captain father and five older, overprotective brothers, she’s never been allowed to stand on her own two feet. She’s going to prove to them she has what it takes to be an independent adult. Even if it means giving in and faking a relationship with one of the NFL’s most eligible bachelors. Tori doesn’t want to sleep her way to the top, but her client is impossible to resist. If she can keep her heart out of the game, she can walk away with her head held high.


Mike Mitchell’s life shouldn’t be this complicated. All he wants is to play football and earn a good living for his family, but his life off the field is riddled with chaos. After a long-standing feud with an old friend-turned-rival is caught on camera, he’s assigned a PR rep by his team. His options are limited—play nice with the sweet as peaches redhead or be benched. With his paycheck and his ability to provide for his mom and sisters on the line, he’s convinced he can juggle one more ball. His only problem? He’s becoming way too attached to this gorgeous distraction. The friend zone is collapsing day by day. If he can’t avoid her temptation, then he’s going to have to find a different way to play by the rules.


  • Some readers believe this can be read as a standalone in the series. Others disagree. There are major spoilers for the first four books.

  • This is—in order of publication—the fifth book in the series.

  • The Albany Wolves are not a real NFL team. 

  • Mike Mitchell has known Eva Papageorgiou Falls since kindergarten.

  • Mike began playing football with Alex Fossoway and Rob Falls in pee wee league. (Also known as a recreation league. In the US, these are sports teams that aren't sponsored by the local school district. Most school teams do not begin until the seventh grade in middle school.

  • All drafted players in the NFL are required to sign a four-year contract. This contract can be terminated by the team due to poor performance, injury, or salary cap issues.

  • CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) is a growing concern in contact sports like football and hockey. Repeated concussions take a toll on the human brain and can result in dementia symptoms, depression, and premature death.

  • Mike Mitchell wasn't supposed to live past Third and Long in the original draft of that book.

  • TWs: childhood abuse, domestic abuse, sexual assault, murder in self-defense, death of a parent, death from cancer, anaphalactic allergy

  • The timeline of this book runs concurrently with the end of Fourth and Inches and the first half of Personal Foul.

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