Review: The Guy in the Middle (Kate Stewart)

The Guy in the Middle
Series: The Underdogs, #3
Author: Kate Stewart
Publication Date: February 29, 2020
Genre: New Adult, Sports, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

I was born to play and bred to win.

My priorities were instilled in me early on—family and football. Those ideals led me to TGU and a coach whose ironclad principles mirrored my own.

With one last college season to play, my goal was singular—get drafted. By realizing my NFL dream, I could save my family, our ranch, and the only home I’d ever known.

Two birds, one ball.

Playing hard was my only option, but there’s always a wild card.

For all of my planning and hard work, I never anticipated falling for the coach’s daughter. Harper was a fair catch, but who knew loving her could be the one play to throw my career before it started or that the weight of our secret would change the game.


Back when the Team Player 2 Anthology was released, I read a preview of The Guy in the Middle. I had read the first two books in the series and knew I wanted to read this one to finish it off.  To be honest, this book was really hard to review because each part almost feels like a book of its own.

Part 1 is all about Lance and Harper’s college relationship. It’s full of secrecy and falling in love when they least expect it. Things end dramatically for them and they go off to do their own things for a while. I loved how they fell for each other. I wasn’t a big fan of how Part 1 ended at first, mostly because I didn’t want to leave this college setting.

Part 2 is Lance going after he wants, but it’s complicated. Lance and Harper’s lives are in different places. It’s a bittersweet, frustrating section of their relationship. I liked this part, but, like I said, it was frustrating. I wanted to hurry up and get to that happy ending. I was also super shocked by some revelations. I think I got whiplash for a second.

Part 3 is where both Harper and Lance figure their stuff out. It was full of ups and downs, and I loved every angst-filled moment. There were more revelations and reactions and I felt for these characters every minute of it all. I loved how things worked out for Lance and Harper.

I lied. It was actually 4 parts. The Epilogue was basically its own part. At first, I wasn’t sure I liked going back to characters from the first two books. I ended up really liking how it wrapped everything up, though. It was fun to find out where everyone was and how their friendships and relationships weathered.

After writing this all down, I’m still a little confused on my feelings for this story in its entirety. It still feels a little disjointed. When it comes down to it, I did love reading the entire story — even when it stressed me out a bit. I think fans of the series will appreciate how everything came full circle and love Lance and Harper together.

23 thoughts on “Review: The Guy in the Middle (Kate Stewart)”

    1. Yeah, Part 2 was the part that made things not flow as well. I think Theo will be my favorite too. Although, I did really like Lance. I reviewed this one today, too.

  1. I always read Kate’s books and I loved the other books in the series, but I chose not to review this because I disliked the short story in the anthology so much. That’s rare. I’m glad to know that’s only part one of the story. I’m on the fence after your review. I think I’ll read it but I’m not in any rush.

    1. So, if you do read it, skip Part 1. You have already read it. I think that might help you in this case.

  2. Wow, this sounds like there’s a whole lot of angst 😂 Are the first books in the series the same too? I’m curious about the characters now though. Keen to finally be checking out this series soon coz I can’t resist anymore. Lol great review!

    1. Well, there’s some. It’s not really that bad, but underlying. The first book was less angst. You should try it.

      1. I just finished the second book last night after picking up the first book on Sunday. I don’t know how I feel about Lance but I can tell that this is going to be some angsty stuff… Not sure if I’m in the mood after Troy’s story (which I LOVED) but it’s definitely staying on my TBR!

  3. I have to say, I don’t quite know what to make of this series but that blurb is 100% speaking to me!

  4. I am intrigued by your review! I love a sports romance, but the way this one has you feeling has me really curious to give it a try. Sounds like one that will have me enjoying those angsty scenes as well. 😉

  5. That’s it: it felt disjointed! My thoughts are still all over the place and I’ve read it a few days ago. I’m torn with this one, there’s some serious issues thrown in the story and some of it felt brushed aside too easily. I don’t know. Good review, Deanna.

  6. I’m glad this came together for you in the end. Getting there can be so frustrating sometimes. It’s nice when there’s a good payoff.

    I hope you figure out how you feel soon! LOL

    Great review.

  7. You’re making me feel like a serious slacker. LOL! I’m soooo far behind on my reviews. I keep saying, “This’ll be the week I catch up.” And well, it doesn’t happen. Great review! I didn’t feel the separation between the different sections like you did, but I can definitely see how you did. I really enjoyed how it brought them all together in the end, too.

    1. LOL. Don’t feel like that. I try to write them soon after finishing so I remember. Plus, I have not been reading as much lately.

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