Hook Shot, the third book in Kennedy Ryan’s Hoops series, follows the story of Kenan Ross and Lotus DuPree. If you’ve read the other two books in the series, both of these names should be familiar. Kenan, aka the Gladiator, is this giant specimen of a Black man who plays pro ball with August West (from Long Shot!). As you can imagine, this 6’7 man is not only sculpted like he’s made of marble, but attractive to boot. I feel like he’s a gentle giant of sorts, as he appears to be super introverted based on his personality throughout the story. He first spots Lotus in Long Shot, when she and Iris, her cousin, visit August when he’s in the hospital. She caught his eye then and hadn’t been able to get her off his mind since.
Lotus is an intelligent, beautiful, talented, badass fashion designer in training working at one of the most popular fashion houses in New York City. She’s been avoiding Kenan ever since she met him in August’s hospital room because she knew immediately that this man was special and that she wasn’t ready for what he could bring into her life. Lotus has a special spiritual connection, fostered by her grandma MiMi, and can sense things way before it’s known – aka she may or may not practice voodoo. At this point in her life, Lotus is trying to work through her personal trauma before even considering trying to date Kenan – though that does not stop him from trying.
The main theme running across Kenan and Lotus’s story is around trust. For Kenan, he struggles with trusting Lotus at first because of his failed marriage to his ex-wife Bridget. Given his status as an NBA player, their divorce got messy and public, and based on how Kenan retells it, everything became public because of Bridget. Which makes sense since she tries to become a reality TV star. He’s nervous to trust another woman again for fear that all they’ll want is fame or access to his money, and cause further drama for him and his teenage daughter.
For Lotus, her trust issues are different. As a pre-teen, Lotus is unfortunately raped by her mother’s boyfriend. Trigger warning as this scene is somewhat descriptive in the book. Her mother was forced to choose between Lotus and her boyfriend, and ends up choosing the boyfriend. She says Lotus needs to “go away for a while” so that things calm down about this, and this is where her grandma MiMi steps in and takes her in.
It’s incredibly difficult to read about what happened to Lotus and to see her mother didn’t even choose her. In the end, it was a blessing for Lotus because MiMi was more than a mother to her. However, as a result of these events, Lotus is struggling with sexual satisfaction where she can no longer enjoy sex without some form of intimacy. She’s scared that if she takes that step with Kenan, that she’ll continue to feel empty and won’t be able to move forward with him in a meaningful way.
Overall, I loved Hook Shot. If you’ve read the rest of the series, you’d know this romance has been simmering since Long Shot. After getting to know Kenan’s story, I’m glad he got a chance at real love. And for Lotus, she finally took the steps towards healing and opened herself up to intimacy and vulnerability – something most people struggle to do.
With that said, I give Hook Shot five stars; not surprising given its Kennedy frickin Ryan. If you haven’t checked out the Hoops series, I strongly recommend – available on Kindle Unlimited. Also, check out my reviews for Long Shot and Block Shot.
Have you read Hook Shot, or the rest of the Hoops series? Let me know in the comments!