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Line of Scrimmage    by Marie Force order for
Line of Scrimmage
by Marie Force
Order:  USA  Can
Sourcebooks Casablanca, 2008 (2008)
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

It's taken Ryan Sanderson's impending divorce proceedings to make him finally recognise that he's solely responsible for the dissolution of his marriage. The fact that his soon-to-be-ex wife is engaged to a man Ryan detests only exacerbates his need to convince Susannah to give him another chance. But the only way to do so, Ryan realizes, is to bulldoze his way back into Susannah's life. She might not like him moving back into their sprawling mansion, but until he actually signs the divorce decree, he has every right. Ryan hopes to use the next ten days to convince Susannah that the manipulative Henry Merrill is all wrong for her - and also prove to her that he's a new man, prepared to give her all the attention she deserves.

Susannah is appalled when Ryan bullies his way back into her life, but for the next ten days, she has little choice but to let him move back in. She's even more appalled when he all but begs her to run away with him so he can prove how much he still loves her. Susannah wants no part of Ryan's crazy scheme. She might secretly still love him, but that doesn't mean she can live with the man who's always made it painfully clear that football is his number one priority. She and Henry would never share the same level of passion, but at least their union would be far more stable. But when Ryan plays his last, desperate card and warns her that her refusal would force him to delay her wedding, Susannah has no choice but to comply.

Marie Force makes a nice debut in Line of Scrimmage. She does a masterful job in Ryan's characterization: he never backs away from his goal of winning back his wife's love and trust, and for all his bullying quickly endears himself to the reader. Force's other cast members do not fare as well though: Susannah comes across as wishy-washy - she's too quick to give Ryan another chance and just as quick to blame him when their reconciliation hits unexpected snags. Henry, as the fussy yet manipulative fiancé, is obvious and clichéd and might leave readers wondering why Susannah would ever agree to marry him. Even so, Line of Scrimmage is an enjoyable and often insightful story, especially during those moments when Susannah and Ryan are onstage and working through their differences.

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