The Hardest Route, an all-new emotional and romantic standalone from A.S. Teague is available now!
My friends used to tell me ‘What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.’ Clearly, they lied because a few months later, I found out my one-night stand was pregnant.
I couldn’t handle a baby. I was Griffin Rockwell, the best wide receiver the league had ever seen. But what choice did I have? My baby girl was coming whether I was ready for her or not.
Brooke turned out to be an amazing woman and mother. For seven years, we were the MVP’s of co-parenting—and even better friends.
That all changed when tragedy struck our makeshift family and I was faced with the terrifying possibility of losing the one woman I was quickly realizing I couldn’t live without.
I was at the height of my career and on the path to becoming the greatest of all time.
But keeping my family together, with Brooke by my side, might prove to be the hardest route of all.
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*****5 Unforgettably Amazing Stars*****
The Hardest Route by A.S. Teague is one of the best books I have read this year.
If there is one thing you take away from this review, besides the fact that you NEED this book in your life, I hope it is that.
This book is amazing. And every other positive adjective under the sun. It is exceptionally written, so authentic and memorable, and completely consuming from start to finish. The Hardest Route is a book that tugged at my heart, broke it just a bit, while simultaneously putting all of the pieces of me back together again as its breathtakingly emotional story unfolded.
Between the pages of this book, I fell wholeheartedly and so deeply in love with Griff and Brooke, and I am certain a piece of me will always belong to those two.
I loved every single second and word and moment I got in this book with these characters. I started this book smiling to the point of my cheeks hurting, and I finished this book with tears in my eyes and a heart that was bursting with so much love for what I was reading. This book was just incredible. It was a book I felt every single word of. It was a book I experienced so truly and so honestly. This was a story that felt so real, and one that I felt so deeply a part of because of A.S. Teague’s magnificent writing.
I have been a fan of A.S. Teague since her debut novel released a few years ago, and with each and every one of her books I fall even more in love with her writing and storytelling ability. I have loved every single one of her books, but there is something truly special about The Hardest Route. This book was just more in a way. It was a story I felt so deeply connected to, and one that I never wanted to have end. Every time I opened this book to spend time within this world and with these characters, I got the biggest smile on my face and a true flutter in my heart. Even when what was happening was breaking my heart, along with these characters’ hearts, I loved it and felt it and just embraced it because I NEEDED this story.
I needed Griff and Brooke. I needed this world and what it brought to life. I needed the supporting characters that made this book even more incredible. I needed this addicting story. I needed it all.
I needed so much of this book, and that is just a part of what had me loving every single word of The Hardest Route.
If I were to make a list of all the things I absolutely loved about this book…that list would be endless. Like seriously. I could go on and on about what I loved about this book because there was so much amazingness within it. I won’t list everything because that would take all the words, but let me give you just a preview of what I could not get enough of in this book:
-All the feels. This book had every single feel that you could think of and every type of feel that you need. This story had feels upon feels, and I was here for it. This book made me laugh out loud, it made me cry, it struck my heart and took it capture, and it left me breathless at times. Literally. It also made me swoon and melt and just fall so hard for Brooke and Griff and everything that they were sharing. The emotional level that A.S. Teague brought to life in The Hardest Route was EXCEPTIONAL. This story threatened to shatter me at times, but it also practically consumed me with the love and friendship these characters had. Experiencing that, feeling that, and understanding the impact of all of those feels and what it all meant was spectacular.
-Sports romance. I love me a good sports romance, and this book just reminded me of that again and again. Griff is a professional football player and that added a whole new set of dynamics to what unfolded in this book. I loved getting to be there as these characters waded through those dynamics and as they tried to figure it all out. That coupled with the best group of guy friends (who all need their own story!), made for a sports romance that felt believable, that let me actually understand sports, and that swept me up into a world that I could not get enough of.
-Accidental pregnancy, with a dollop of friends to lovers romance. What starts as a one night stand soon becomes more than either Brooke or Griff were prepared for in this book, and I loved it. I LOVE me an accidental pregnancy book something fierce. I love getting to be there as characters try to figure out what in the world they’re going to do with an accidental pregnancy and getting to see how everything changes when their child comes into the world. The Hardest Route gives you all of that and more. It takes you through every step of Brooke and Griff’s journey to parenthood and what it all really means for them. You see the good, the bad, and the ugly…and everything else in between. Getting to see them as parents to their little girl was the absolute best, and I promise those two and their love for their daughter will absolutely melt your heart.
What also melted my heart in this book was the friends to lovers story it also gave me. Friends to lovers stories are my jam. There is just some so special about seeing a friendship turn into more. It’s like waiting for the biggest fireworks show of your life. You wait, you experience the buildup, you feel the literal magic in the air, and it all grows and grows and grows in anticipation….and then EVERYTHING explodes and it is magnificent and mesmerizing and beautiful. That was what this friends to lovers romance was with Brooke and Griff. It was full of build and glorious push and pull and a true friendship that will set your heart on fire. Getting to be with these two as they see what could be between them, as they fight for that more, and as they try was nothing short of everything.
-It’s all about the journey. It really is all about the journey, and there are so many journeys you get to experience in The Hardest Route. There is the journey of Brooke and Griff as they navigate parenthood and friendship and potential love. There is Griff’s journey with growing up, maturing, and figuring out what he really wanted. There is Brooke’s journey of trust and taking risks along the way. There are journeys of friendship, family, and love in this book. There are journeys that show these characters just how far they’ve come and how far they still have to go. There are journeys that test every will and ounce of fight that these characters have. There are so many intricate and beautifully crafted journeys in this book. Those journeys will own you, they will move you, and they will show you the true nature of these characters, all that they are, and all that they’re fight for, and you will love it.
You will love that and everything that this book has to offer so much.
The Hardest Route is a book that consumed me, owned me, wrecked me, and wowed me from start to finish. It is a book that took ahold of me with all that it had and that gave me everything I needed with its characters. This story is one that I know I will not soon forget, and it is one that I will treasure because that is how utterly incredible it was. The Hardest Route gave me one of the best reading experiences I have had in quite some time, and I will never forget what it was like to read this book. Even thinking back on it now as I write this review is bringing the biggest smile to my face and just making me want to go back to this book.
That is how outstanding this story is because days after finishing it, I still can’t stop thinking about it and what it gave me with its magnificent characters.
What A.S. Teague created and so thoughtfully brought to life in The Hardest Route is out of this world phenomenal. Her words gave me my new favorite story, and allowed me to fall head over heels in love with a football star, an older woman, a little girl who is sweet as can be, and the gaggle of friends that come with them. This book brought to life a story of beautiful, messy, glorious fight, a story of taking chances and risks, a story of what it truly means to give it your all for what you never even knew you needed, and a story of real, honest to goodness, friendship and love.
This is hands down one of the best books I have read this year and is my favorite of A.S. Teague’s books to date.
What can I say? I LOVED this book with everything that I have and I truly can’t recommend it enough. The Hardest Route provides one helluva reading experience that is full of glorious and dynamic feels, unforgettable characters, and a story that will own you with everything it has. I promise, if you take the chance and read this book you will not regret it. You will not regret it one little bit, and you will LOVE every single second you get with Griff and Brooke.
They’re kind of the actual best, and you’re going to fall hopelessly in love with them by the end of chapter 1.
Trust me. It’s inevitable. You will love them and their story with all that you have, and in the end you will be beyond glad you took the hardest route with them.
“I like it when you call me Griffin.” His gaze settled on my mouth, and my heart sped up. I recognized that look in his eyes. It was the exact same look he’d had before he’d kissed me in Vegas. It might have been seven years ago, but when a man looks at your lips like he wants to explore every inch of them without stopping for air, you don’t forget it.
Before I had the chance to say something smart in response, he leaned in, his large frame crowding mine.
My traitorous eyelids fluttered shut. I willed them to open, but they refused to obey.
There was less than a moment’s hesitation, and then his lips were brushing mine.
If he’d had any reservations for that split second before our mouths met, they were nowhere to be found now. His hand fisted my hair, his fingertips on my scalp eliciting a moan that came from somewhere deep within me.
When his tongue licked at the seam of my lips asking for entrance, there was no question of whether I should let him in or not. They parted, and our mouths moved in rhythm with each other’s, his lips urging and persuading my own to follow suit.
And they did.
I was lost in the smell of him wrapped around me; the earthy scent that was all Griff combined with the heady feel of his hands in my hair caused every nerve ending in my body to come alive.
I moaned again as his hands traveled down my neck, his body pressing close into mine.
There were kisses, and then there was this.
This wasn’t a kiss, but a total melting of one body into another, and for a fleeting moment, I wanted to drown in the way it felt to have this man worshipping my mouth, his hands desperate to touch more of me but content to take what he could get in a hotel lounge.
Our night together in Vegas had been electric, full of lust and desire, but this was something different entirely. This was magnetic, like we were being pulled together by some unseen force that we were both powerless to stop.
And it was that realization that caused me to pull away and gasp for a breath that I didn’t really want.
What I wanted was Griff’s mouth.
His lips on mine.
On my neck.
On my breasts.
Every fucking where.
I couldn’t pull my eyes open to face the man who was supposed to be just a friend, so I gripped the edge of the bar, my chest heaving as I asked, “What was that?”
About A.S. Teague
A.S. Teague enjoys the warmth of South Carolina with her husband and two daughters. The stereotypes about peach cobbler and sweet tea are not overstated. After years in the medical field, she is now enjoying every minute of being a stay-at-home mom. She loves wine, the beach, wine on the beach, and crying at Disney movies. When she doesn’t have a book in her hand, she can be found pestering her husband with pictures of animals she wants to rescue, as well as debating whether to exercise or take a nap.
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