Cross My Heart by Darcy Archer

A wonder debut book. A rundown NFL player trying to recover from a horrible health event and the local high school coach that had a crush on him in high school fifteen years ago. Can Josh and Tyler navigate a new normal together?

From the Cross My Heart blurb:

When a tackle stopped NFL superstar Tyler Fantana’s heart, millions of fans watched their MVP die on camera. Now America’s Tightest End has headed home to put his broken pieces back together. Tyler knows returning to football could kill him, so keeping his rehab on track seems impossible—until he starts training with a familiar guy-next-door who knocks his jock off.

Josh Ayres has harbored a secret crush on Tyler since high school. Fifteen years later, Josh has blossomed from a quiet nerd into bona fide beefcake, coaching the team for his alma mater. Helping Tyler get back in the game might become the second chance he never expected… if he can work up the courage to confess his feelings to the bad boy he never stopped loving.

Sparks fly as Tyler and Josh join forces to save the school library, battling book bans, malicious gossip, and media pressure. What happens if infatuation turns into something that feels like forever? And when the NFL offers Tyler the chance to reclaim his fame, can he choose between a deadly game and the man who finally taught him that hearts can heal?

SNik's review:

Standalone. Friends to lovers. Slow burn. Dual POV.

NFL superstar Tyler needs to recover from the heart attack he experienced mid-game, and being back in his hometown away from the paparazzi is his plan to rehab at his own pace. Josh loves being a coach and teacher at his local high school, mentoring kids and setting an example makes him happy, and having Tyler back in town certainly brings back the feelings of his long ago secret crush on the man.

Josh and Tyler have a slow build of friendship with an attraction that they eventually acknowledge in order to pursue something more romantic. This story was very slow at times, with some angst outside of the relationship, and some supportive secondary characters. The scenes with Josh and Tyler were the most interesting and very sweet, and after things fall together they eventually get their expected HEA.

Kjnrose's review:

What a great debut book for Darcy Archer, I loved it. The story was a bit slow to start, but I loved the way that Tyler and Josh grew their friendship before becoming more. I will admit I skimmed through parts of the beginning because it just seemed redundant, but especially it did get better so I recommend going through before not finishing. I am excited to see what comes next from this author.

Cross My Heart is currently available as an e-book and paperback and can be read as part of your Kindle Unlimited Subscription