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  • Beautiful Game

  • Stag Brothers, Book 5
  • By: Lainey Davis
  • Narrated by: Nikola Muckajev
  • Length: 6 hrs and 21 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (5 ratings)

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Summary

Everything comes at a cost. Is love worth the price?

Hawk Moyer has it all: fame, fortune…the only thing missing from the pro athlete’s life is family. Half his identity is a mystery, and after a transfer to Pittsburgh’s soccer team, he’s determined to solve the secret of his origins. He just needs to stay focused on his game in the mean time.

The only problem? He met a woman who’s not that into him…and he can’t get her out of his head.

Lucy Nelson has everything to lose. She finally broke free from her son’s abusive father and is working to build a future that can’t be taken away. She’s got priorities, and they don’t include a cocky soccer player, no matter how charming. As far as Lucy’s concerned, he’s only good for one thing.

But Hawk’s a mid-fielder. He’s used to playing offense and defense, and he’s not afraid of Lucy’s baggage, especially with backup from a trio of brothers he didn’t know he had. Can Hawk convince Lucy he’s a team player? Will she ever trust him to be there for her amidst her custody chaos?

Beautiful Game is the fifth book of the Stag Brothers series, a stand-alone contemporary romance with crackling tension and sizzling passion. If you love meddling side characters, secret siblings, and workplace romance, you’ll swoon for the Stag Brothers and the women they weren’t expecting to love.

©2022 Lainey Davis (P)2022 Lainey Davis

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Awesome Listen!

Beautiful Game by Lainey Davis pulled me in from the very beginning. I love single mom/soccer player romances and this one hit it spot on. Lucy is a single mom with her priority focused on her son Wyatt. She meets another mom and they click as friends and doors open to advancing her career. Simultaneously she meets Hawk and has great chemistry with him, before encountering him professionally. I loved how the author wrote the story and developed the characters. I felt like I was watching it play out. Nicola Mucajev brought the characters to life through his distinguishable voices for the numerous characters. I could envision so many details with this book

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A truly amazing workplace/sports romance

Beautiful Game is book five in the Stag brother series and even though this book is part of a series it is a stand-alone workplace, sports romance that is not only smoking hot but also pulls at your heart strings and is full to the brim with amazing side characters who love to meddle and secret siblings with a flock of kids that will have you hooked from start to finish.
As a pro athlete Hawk Moyer appears to have it all, fame, fortune, a successful soccer career. However, family is a sore subject for Hawk. Having never had his father in his life part of his identity is a mystery and after a transfer to the Pittsburgh Forge soccer team in a $1 million deal, the initial fear he feels gives way to a determination to get to the bottom of the absentee father who makes up the other half of his gene pool. Hawk wants to concentrate on his work and not letting his new team down but before he can even kick a ball on the pitch, he meets single mum Lucy and her four-year-old son Wyatt and becomes besotted and protective with both mother and son.
Lucy is a survivor and a super protective mamma bear after finally breaking free from her son’s abusive father and the man who not only mentally and emotionally abused her but isolated her from everyone with his coercive controlling behaviour. Lucy is grateful to a beautiful stranger for not only going to her son’s rescue (who Wyatt aptly names She-Ra) when he was supposed to be under the care of his father but also being a saviour to her and giving her some semblance of a normal life again by introducing her to an incredible group of women/mothers who play soccer once a week. Lucy’s life is looking up and when she secures her dream job as a strength and conditioning coach for the Pittsburgh Forge Soccer team it means she’ll not only be spending more time with the new all-star signing Hawk who has it bad for her, but she’ll also be getting up close and personal with him. Soon sparks are flying between the two, but it was Hawks relationship with Wyatt that had my ovaries exploding, plus I loved the way Hawks brothers not only embraced him but the way they help and protect Lucy and Wyatt is so beautiful it brought me to tears.
This book is narrated solely by the extremely talented Nikola Muckajev and he does an incredible job of bringing Hawk and Lucy to life as well as lending his voice to the many great side characters.
Nikola brought light and shade to the performance which helped to build the angst while showing the softer sides to the characters that built sexual tension that ended in a totally swoony HEA.
A truly wonderful sports romance that gave me all the feels. My very first Lainey Davis book and it certainly won’t be my last, I loved her storytelling. First on my list of more from this amazing author will be the spending some time with the rest of the Stag brothers as I enjoyed Tim, Ty and Thatcher in this book.

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Sweet and Heartwarming!

This is the fifth book in the Stag Brothers series, a Sports Romance. Hawk and Lucy's story is sweet and heartwarming. The storyline is interesting, and filled with drama, secrets, and twists and turns. Hawk is handsome, charming, supportive and caring. Lucy is smart, strong, and determined. I loved to follow them in their journey to love. Lucy's son Wyatt is so cute! I loved Hawk's brothers. They are handsome, and supportive, and I would love to know more about them. Nikola Muckajev did a great job with the narration. I enjoyed it.

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What a beautiful story!

This was definitely a whirlwind of emotions. I was definitely on the edge of my seat throughout!

Before I get ahead of myself though... First things first, ‘Beautiful Game’ is book 5 of ‘Stag Brothers’ series but can be read as a standalone.

Here, we meet our main characters, Hawk Moyer and Lucy Nelson. After a transfer to the soccer team of his birth city (Pittsburgh), Hawk decides to finally find out more about the other half of his family whom he never knew. Whilst there, he meets Lucy, a single mum, who recently broke free from her ex-relationship and who now works closely with Hawk. With all that going on, this new attraction forming between them is very complicated, and Lucy feels that her other priorities should take precedent over any possible budding romance between herself and Hawk.

This book was so unexpected for me. All the characters were so loveable, and I especially loved the chemistry between our hero and heroine. It was *chef’s kiss*. I could definitely feel the attraction, and later, the love he had for her, and vice versa.

This book also covered heavier topics in the form of Lucy’s ex relationship. It was hard, but interesting, to see all that she had to go through with that situation. But I’m glad she persevered, and I loved how Hawk was there for Lucy when she needed him the most.

I also loved Hawk’s friendship with Lucy’s son and how her past didn’t deter him. Plus, I really enjoyed the new forming relationship that Hawk had with his brothers.

I honestly cannot think of much that I disliked about this book. Well, except maybe that I wished it was longer; I loved these characters so much, I wanted to see more. But I guess that’s a good problem to have.

I listened to the audio version of this book. Narrated solely by Nikola Muckajev, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy the narration as much as I did. But, I truly loved it! Muckajev did such a fantastic job at both the voices of both main characters, as well as, all the other side characters. I also felt the emotions within the book was conveyed very well. It was excellent!

Honestly, this book is soo good and I recommend it!

I was provided a free advanced audio copy of this book. However, all opinions shared are my honest thoughts about this book.

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Secret brother!

We were supposed to be done with the Stag brothers after four books–one for each brother, plus a Christmas special–but the author brought a secret brother!

Hawk is a soccer player who never knew his father, just that he had to stay away from Pittsburgh where he might still live. Until he’s traded just there. Expected to be the new star in a troubled team, his personal struggles affect his game. And due to the fact that he was raised by a single mother who was taken advantage by a man, he’s avoiding serious relationships, until he meets Lucy and her little boy.

Lucy has been abused–not physically though–by her ex-husband with whom she has joined custody. But he doesn’t leave her alone. She has anxiety, she doesn’t trust, especially men, and lives solely for her son. Until an unfortunate incident brings her back on the turf in an amateur all female soccer team. All of a sudden, she’s getting support, opportunities, and a love interest.

I liked that, although Lucy’s and Hawk’s lives change after they meet, it happens independantly of each other. They have barely any influence on each other’s lives, really, though they provide support and comfort, and sometimes protection. They grow by themselves, but together.

The main theme of the book is clearly fatherhood, more specifically bad fatherhood. Between Hawk’s absent father and Lucy’s abusive ex-husband, we get a couple of examples, making by contrast Hawk’s relationship with Lucy’s son even more #fatherhoodgoal. Plus Hawk gets some closure for his own daddy issues, thanks to his half brothers. Really family, what it should be, and what’s considered a bad one, is at the center of the story.

There’s some sexy time, but it always involve deeper feelings which was kind of nice.

The narrator did good, though I wasn’t a fan of his female voices. The various voices were mostly recognizable, and the proper emotions and emphases were present.

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  • Elizabeth
  • 05-05-22

Sweet Single Mom Romance

Pour a glass of wine, grab the Kleenex and snuggle up for this emotionally-charged sports romance! This is my first book by Lainey Davis, and it definitely won’t be my last! The Soccer star and the Single mom. Traded to a team marred by scandal, Hawk Moyer reluctantly adjusts to life and soccer in a new city. Lucy Nelson is struggling to distance herself from her abusive ex and delinquent father to her young son, Wyatt. Temps rise and sparks fly when the growly soccer star meets the sweet, shy single mom! Can “Hawk the hottie” break down her walls and show her what a kind, thoughtful, stable man is like?

From their first meeting to the epilogue, the evolution of Lucy & Hawk’s relationship was a joy to read. Their friendship and romance is beautiful on and off the field. I love that Lainey wrote a heroine in pro sports! Lucy holds her own and squashes any skepticism buzzing about her abilities in a male-dominated field. The natural and respectful way Hawk approaches a relationship with Wyatt is endearing. Lainey Davis writes big family romance wonderfully. Although this is book five in a series, i didn’t feel lost or like I was missing something for a second. Although, I am utterly intrigued by the Stag family and can’t wait to read the rest of their HEAs. Lainey’s characters are warm, genuine, and all flow in and out of the story nicely. Beautiful Game is about second chances, found family, fiercely strong women, and fighting for what you love. Lainey shows us the beauty that can come from accepting a helping hand and building a community you can rely on.

Nikola Muckajev is a new-to-me narrator and I really enjoyed his voice! He has great pacing and cadence. The way he brought the growly, seductive soccer star to life was masterful. Beautiful game has quite a few emotionally raw moments. Nikola performed them perfectly. There were a couple instances when I couldn’t tell whether he was voicing Lucy or Hawk, but overall he crushed this performance. I’ll be seeking out more books he’s narrated. If you’re in the mood for a heartwarming, steamy year-jerker romance audio, grab Beautiful Game! You’ll fall in love with Lucy & Hawk and the whole Stag family.

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  • Lisa X
  • 10-05-22

What a ride! Great character and wonderful story!

What a story!! This one has it all! It took me on a ride of emotions. Happy, worried, thrilled…and all the tummy flutters (not really an emotion but it counts). The story had me glued to my earbuds as I could not get enough of it or the characters. The theme of soccer was fun for me as its a different sport that isn’t written about a lot then add in the workplace romance and outstanding characters this author made a goal!

I really cherished getting to know these main characters. They each had a struggle to figure out how to overcome. Watching Lucy grow and become a version of herself she could respect is inspiring. Likewise Hawk became the man he always wanted to be. These two together are delightful.

All of the characters are wonderful(yes even the bad ones). Each has a definite purpose that either put a smile on my face or made me irritated with their actions. Of course the best ones are the secret family. I enjoyed every time they came on screen.

This is a first time author for me. I enjoyed the smooth transitional story and the characters so I will need to check out the brothers stories now. I did listen to this on audio. Nikola Muckajev is a new to me narrator. He did an excellent job on all the voices and I could easily listen to him again.

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  • J. Allen
  • 10-05-22

Stag Brothers book 5 - stand alone

This is book 5 in Davis' Stag Brothers series and I loved this read / listen! This is the first book in the series I've gotten and it can be read / listened to as a stand alone. Narration by Nikola Muckajev was perfectly done and able to change pitch and tone for our two main characters - Hawk and Lucy beautifully. I love the push pull these two have from the very beginning. Hawk is a well known soccer player traded to a city he doesn't want to be in and has instant chemistry with Lucy - a single mom who is struggling to come to grips with her past mistakes. This book has the perfect balance of sweet, steam and humor - oh how I adore these Stag brothers now and want to know everything I can about them. I adore their dynamic! Well done all around and I can't wait for more!!!

I received a free copy of this book at my request and I voluntarily provided this review.

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  • Dektolia
  • 09-05-22

Stand alone with excellent narration

This was my first book by Lainey Davis AND my first audiobook narrated by Nikola Muskajev. I would definitely listen to both again.

Beautiful game is a stand alone as part of a series, but it wasn't a problem that I hadn't listened to the other books first. I don't know how much overlaps with previous books in the series, but I felt like Hawk and Lucy's story was separated from the rest. After this one, I am interested in listening to the others and I don't feel like they would be spoiled. Beautiful Game was part single parent, part sports, part forbidden romance, and I would give it 4.5 stars.

The narration was definitely 5 stars. I prefer dual narrators for first person alternating pov, but Nikola did amazingly well for a single narrator. He is definitely in the voice actor category and I love how his performance brings the story to life. He has distinct voices for Hawk and Lucy, and I even like his female voice for Lucy's chapters which can be tricky. You can hear his female voice in the audio sample.

I received a copy of the audiobook at my request, and the opinions here are my own.

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  • Naty
  • 06-05-22

second chances

Hawk is determined to play his best soccer in Pittsburg, even if the identity of his absent father threatens to blow his focus. Lucy has a new job and she needs to keep it to raise her son alone, while waiting the trial against her abusive ex-partner. When Hawk and Lucy first met, the attraction is instinct but now they work together and Lucy has everything to lose if she gets involved with Hawk. Can they fight their feeling while trying to solve their own problems? An steamy love story about family, second chances and new beginnings. The audiobook is great. Nikola is a great narrator and he makes the characters and their feelings very real.

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  • Erin Lewis
  • 06-05-22

Entertaining

Lainey Davis is a new author to me and I am surprised I have not come across her books before. Not having read the previous books in the series, I was a little apprehensive about listening to this one, however except for a few small parts where I was a little lost, I had no problem listening to this as a stand alone.

Hawk Moyer has just been traded and suddenly find himself in Pittsburgh. There is more to Hawk than the cocky, brash player he shows the world. He has baggage from not knowing who his father is and struggles. Lucy is recovering from an abusive relationship and is wary of everyone. A chance encounter changes their lives forever and led to an entertaining, heart warming read.

I really liked Hawk, Lucy and her adorable little boy named Wyatt. This was a story about taking a leap of faith and putting it all on the line and hoping that the one you have put your faith in will be there, no matter what. The relationship that Hawk forged with Wyatt had my heart melting, he is totally swoon worthy.

The narration by Nikola Muckajev was easy to listen to and I brought not on the story but the characters to life for me.

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  • Kristi Sam
  • 06-05-22

This story warmed my heart & soul

I lost myself in Hawk and Lucy’s incredible story. Lucy was fierce and protective and willing to sacrifice anything for the safety and well-being of her child. Hawk’s confidence came off as cockiness at first, but his relationship with Lucy peeled back his layers to reveal his true heart. It was well written and didn’t shy away from the sensitive subjects. It had raw and real elements that gave me a deeper connection to the characters and their personal struggles and I felt invested in their journey. This was my first book by this author and I can’t wait to dive into the rest of the Stag Brother stories.

It was a successful collaboration between Lainey Davis and Nikola Muckajev. Nikola’s amazing voice brought each one of Lainey’s wonderful characters to life.

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  • Rellim
  • 05-05-22

💗 ⚽️ Hawk & Lucy ⚽️ 💗

This is book 5 of the Stag Brothers series and I was a little worried going in that I would be confused since I haven’t read the previous books – but Davis explains just enough that I didn’t feel lost or that the previous characters took over the story.

I love single parent tropes, however Lainey Davis and narrator Nikola Muckajev are new to me so I was apprehensive going into this. I’m so glad I gave it a try. I truly enjoyed Hawk & Lucy’s story.

Hawk is a newly transferred soccer player and Lucy recently became a fitness coach on the same team. Davis brought a lot of depth to this story with Lucy’s battles with her ex, Hawk discovering his siblings, and a unique twist with Lucy not only knowing his sport well but also being in a supervisory position over Hawk. Charmingly mixed in all this was sexy romance, a cute kid, and supportive family and friends.

There was a little angst, but it wasn’t pointless or dragging and I enjoyed Lucy finally falling for a determined Hawk. Loved the epilogue and the HEA for this deserving couple.

I immediately grabbed The Stag Brothers box set so I can dive into Tim, Ty, & Thatcher’s stories.

Narration:
I enjoyed Nikola Muckajev’s performance. As the chapters alternated perspectives, I liked that he changed his affect to correspond with Hawk or Lucy’s perspective. He had a solid range of character voices that differentiated everyone well. I’m looking forward to enjoying more of his narrations.

I received a free copy of this audiobook from Home Cooked Books and am voluntarily leaving an honest review.

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  • Trish- Late Knight Luna Reads
  • 05-05-22

Heartfelt sports romance

Lainey Davis is a new to me author and it will not be the last book I read that is written by her. “Beautiful Game” is a story about second chances and finding yourself again after having to start over.

Hawk Moyer is a star soccer player and has been just traded to a new team. The team he has been to has had some recent problems but they are looking to turn it around. Lucy is new in town after divorcing her husband who had put her son’s life in danger. She’s also the newest coach on the team. A relationship is the last thing she needs but the chemistry they have can’t be denied.

I loved the plot of this story. Hawk grew up not knowing who his father was and coming to the new team, allowed him to find the parts of his family tree that were missing. Hawk starts out as the overconfident athlete and his genuine personality wanting to help Lucy wins you over. Lucy was so strong with everything she was dealing with. Lucy went through some terrible things and was doing everything she could to change her future. I loved every interaction between Hawk and Lucy’s son, Wyatt. It was so adorable the bond the two formed.

Nikola Muckajev narrated this book solo and I loved his narration. The story is told from both Lucy and Hawk’s POV. It threw me off for a second that a man was narrating Lucy’s part but he did an amazing job at portraying Lucy. He was a new to me narrator and I’m looking forward to listening to more books narrated by him.

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  • Janine Birt
  • 05-05-22

Single Moms deserve all the happiness

Book 5 in the series it stands alone perfectly. If you're like me and this is your first venture into the Stag Brothers world, you will have no issues following along. You can tell there's background and more story to understand but you will never be lost, just left with the desire to explore more of the back list.

Lucy is a single mom who got herself and her son away from her excessively controlling ex. She now is very sensitive to trusting others. Enter an amazing group of women who invite her to play soccer and she builds friendships, a new network of people she can ask for help (not that she ever wants to) and who help her rebuild her life in the most amazing way.

Hawk is the son of a single mom who won't tell him anything about his father. He's a pro soccer player who has been traded to the city he never wanted to play in. It's his first hometown and around any corner could be the man who gave him half his DNA. Though his mother's story is different from Lucy's he still finds a lot of empathy for her. He wants to spend time with her, he wants to help her even though he doesn't know all the details of what is going on.

Together, Lucy and Hawk find ways to build trust with each other and with those around them, including Hawk's newly discovered bio family complete with 3 big brothers who will meddle in his life and support his plans to help gain Lucy's trust and her heart.

The audiobook for this story was performed by Nikola Muckajev. The story is told in dual POV but with only one narrator it gives it more of a cast feel since the voices are consistent through the whole book. Nikola does a great job of presenting both Hawk and Lucy's voices (dialog and internal narration) and the emotions he pulled were great. Frustration, fear, joy, reluctance, passion.... it was all there. And I have to comment him for all the kid voices. Lucy's son is 4 and makes friends early on with twin boys. Then we start to bring in all of Hawk's newfound nephews.... I'm a sucker for a well performed kid voice and I was not disappointed here.