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Balance (Off Balance #1)TITLE: Balance (Off Balance, Book 1) by Lucia Franco
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Release Date: July 27, 2021 by Pink Flamingo Production
Format: Audiobook (17 hrs and 18 mins)
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Age Gap, Sports
Narrator: Sarah Puckett
Blurb: Adrianna Rossi is no stranger to the rigorous demands required of her body. Years of pain and determination make her one of the best. Olympic glory is the ultimate goal, and she’ll do anything to achieve it. Even if that means leaving home to attend World Cup Academy of Gymnastics, a training center that serves one purpose – producing champions. 

Perfection, precision, and dedication are required of his athletes. When two time Olympian Konstantin Kournakova is persuaded into training the young hopeful, he immediately regrets it. She doesn’t come close to his high standards. As the relentless pursuit of her dream keeps her striving, a passion is ignited within him. 

Kova’s power and domination, coupled with Adrianna’s fierce tenacity, reveal there is more for her body to learn. Every interaction can be misconstrued, but there’s no mistaking the darkening of his gaze, the lingering of his touch, or the illicit image of his bare skin pressed against hers. Integrity is on the line. One toe off the beam and their forbidden desires could ruin everything they’ve worked for, throwing it all off balance.

The narrator Sarah Puckett captured the tone of this story. There was a naïveté and soft almost menacing tone that she did well. I felt the heroine’s youth and the hero’s smugness. The narrator was on point for sure.

First of all, is this even a romance? I’m not sure I see that here. There is sex but could one say it’s romance or love?
Second, I barely liked the heroine Adriana “Ria” and I didn’t really like the hero Constantine “Kova”. For a forbidden romance to overcome the taboo arena and get me to root for their love, I need to feel that their connection is just undeniable. The love was all consuming and they need each other to breath.

I wasn’t convinced either party loved the other. Their relationship was more sexual and a need to please the adult more than I look forward to seeing your face everyday. So I wasn’t engaged with their liaison. Also, the fact that the Kova wasn’t seeking to “protect” Ria, in fact, most of his actions were motivated by his own needs, desires and almost like he was living again through her drive and ambition. He didn’t act like someone who would protect her at his own personal cost. In fact, he still maintained a relationship outside her. I don’t see it.

Hayden…that’s whom I want to know! He’s special, kind and loving. That’s whom Ria should have concerned herself with. But I have heard that more things are revealed in book 2. So I need to follow the series through and let the author work her magic.

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