African American

Sidelined: The Contract


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Worth reading 😎

There's a lot to unpack, but it's worth a read. Gives single folks a renewed appreciation for single life.


Bryn Charles is planning her biggest event yet after signing a love contract with her boyfriend, NFL superstar Shane Smith. Their fiery love affair only intensifies as Shane finally gives her what she wants — his heart. But when Shane's ex throws a Hail Mary pass it threatens their happily ever after. Find out who makes it to the altar at the end of this explosive romance series about love, friendship, and half-truths.

Explosive, honest, and flat-out unforgettable, "Sidelined: The Contract" is the third and final installment of the Sidelined Series about love, friendship, and half-truths.

Sidelined: The Contract follows the spiraling relationship of Bryn, an events planner and finance manager, and Shane, a professional football player for the “Nighthawks” both are parents trying to find common ground in the form of a contract. Even though it is part of a trilogy and the latest installation, this book works well as a stand-alone. The biggest issue facing the two is Shane’s ex, Carice. However, as the story unfolds, there seems to be more than just Carice and her antics in the way of this relationship, but the couple chooses to remain oblivious to these deeper issues.

This book hit me in the face with messy baggage in the form of a backstory within the first few pages. From wild sexual escapades to a broken off engagement to forming an RnB group and scouting for the next girl to later ending up in jail, Shane is a bundle of red flags. I don’t want to be too harsh on him because he does see some character development, but I can never be sure of his intentions due to how quickly and miraculously he transformed into a monogamous man for Bryn. 

I resonated with Bryn’s best friend, Jenn, as she always raises valid concerns with solid advice. Honestly, Jenn sees what a mess Bryn is in trying to keep Shane with a contract. Bryn keeps asking her for advice and when she gives that to her with a side of truth, she doesn’t want to listen. She’d rather remain in a fantasy, even though she remains unfulfilled. I kept going page after page, chapter after chapter, hoping either Bryn or Shane would come to their senses. I felt a lot of second-hand embarrassment because I could not help but place myself in Bryn’s shoes and think of what I would do in that predicament she is desperately hanging onto.

Some cons of this story include an awkward timeline that gets confusing at times, there are too many characters crowded in to the point I’m like “who?” when they later reappear, and the fixation with Shane is quite heavy. However, I liked how fleshed out the main characters were, they felt real in their pain, and the trip to Dubai and Abu Dhabi was a nice change of pace when they weren't talking about a certain character. 

Overall, it’s a read that can make you newly appreciate being single because love should not be that miserable. I’d be interested in checking out the previous Sidelined books. Readers who enjoy drama and throwback music references from 2010 would enjoy this last book of the trilogy. There’s a lot to unpack, but it is worth a read.

Reviewed by

I like to write about a wide range of topics, but I'd also like to write more about books that have impacted me. Reading is close to my heart, so it would bring me joy to guide others toward good reads and hidden gems.


Bryn Charles is planning her biggest event yet after signing a love contract with her boyfriend, NFL superstar Shane Smith. Their fiery love affair only intensifies as Shane finally gives her what she wants — his heart. But when Shane's ex throws a Hail Mary pass it threatens their happily ever after. Find out who makes it to the altar at the end of this explosive romance series about love, friendship, and half-truths.

Explosive, honest, and flat-out unforgettable, "Sidelined: The Contract" is the third and final installment of the Sidelined Series about love, friendship, and half-truths.


Ask Carice why I’m in jail right now and she’ll tell you it’s Bryn’s fault. Ask her what happened to us and she’ll tell you it was because of Bryn. According to her, anything bad that happens is caused by Bryn.

For real, it’s all bullshit. I’m here because she put me here. And now the Nighthawks are involved, which means she done fucked up. What’s worse is that she don’t get it. She thinks she just did some extra wild shit to get my attention. Nah, this time, her crazy ass can actually ruin me.

I was crazy once, but I’ve changed. Carice? She’s still doing the same dumb shit from before. She lazy as fuck. She don’t cook, she don’t clean, and she don’t do the laundry. I be having to call my auntie to come and clean the house. Shit’s crazy. She don’t even watch the kids. They asses go to daycare all day. When I come by to see them, she in her room wearing the same clothes from the day before. Shopping is a thing of the past and she barely gets her hair done. I’m tired of seeing that dry-ass ponytail. That’s why everybody keep asking me why I got her, of all people, pregnant.

When I first saw Carice, she reminded me of the cop from CSI, Vanessa Ferlito. I think that’s why my cousin Qmar chose her for me. He knew what I liked. Anyway, I was the man of the hour, so she came straight over and started dancing on me. Her hair was long, black, and shiny. She had a thin waist, a plump ass, and legs for miles. That was her winning quality. I love ’em tall. We were eye to eye with her in them clear heels. I felt it in my soul; I wanted her to have my kids. My kids gotta be tall, I thought. She was freaking on me, nasty as shit, just the way I liked it.

My fiancée at the time had given me a pass for my last night as a single man and I was free to do what I wanted. It wouldn’t have mattered anyway. Carice was on it and she wasn’t backing down. She had confidence, swag, and focus. She knew what she wanted and went for it. She had me hooked.

I called it quits that morning with my fiancée, cut her a fat-ass check and let it play out the way she wanted, letting people think she left me at the altar so she could save face. I ain’t give a fuck. I knew deep down inside that I couldn’t marry her. She was beautiful. The most beautiful girl I’d ever seen. . . but she was ugly on the inside. I’d ignored it for long enough. Meeting Carice was perfect timing.

We got along good. We was on some crazy Bonnie and Clyde type shit. She ain’t care what I did as long as I came home to her. She was loyal. I had all kinds of bitches. She even let me bring a few home. Sometimes she’d watch. Sometimes I’d watch. But most times she’d join in. Those were the good ol’ days. It was cool like that. She was cool like that. Ain’t give me no mouth. We had an understanding, an arrangement, which kept us both happy.

Things started to change when she got pregnant. She got in her feelings and started wanting me home. Shit, I was a twenty-two-year-old millionaire and she wanted me home. That shit caused chaos. I rebelled and turned to music. She turned to her best friend. The more popular I became, the more women threw themselves at me. I swear, I was with a different one every night of the week. The only time I saw Carice was on my day off. Even then, I was with someone else that very night.

Then Riley was born. My angel. I wanted to be home. Except Carice started having some postpartum and wanted to argue all the damn time. While Riley was pulling me back in, Carice was pushing me away. I didn’t even want to touch her, not like that anyway. That’s when she started verbally attacking me every chance she got. She was insecure and always accusing me of fucking somebody. Well I had to, because we wasn’t.

Then I decided I had to get another spot. Being away a couple of days a week helped. We started talking again. She calmed down a bit. She started coming to my games again and during off-season she was helping Qmar with forming my R&B group, TGS. We became one big-ass happy family. That’s how I got her ass pregnant, again. It was cool for a minute. Then, I don’t know what happened.


Man, I knew the perfect girl existed, I just didn’t know she was going to walk into my life. I remember the day we met like it was yesterday. It was at this Italian spot in Little Italy, Tony’s. She was with her business partner, Jen. She was dressed in a business suit. Her jacket had a deep V-neck. My dick gets hard just thinking about her breasts. Real set of Ds. Beautiful. They was popping that day. I’ll never forget that cleavage. She was short, really short, with these big brown eyes. And when she smiled, I felt like I was home.

For the first time in my life I felt unsure about everything. I noticed I was underdressed, like I needed to sit up straight and speak proper English. I popped some Tic Tacs to make sure the breath was minty fresh. I don’t know. It was something about her that made me want to be better. It was instant. I liked her. Like I really liked her. I knew right then, I had to make her mine.

She was quiet, unlike Jen. Man, Jen ran her mouth non-stop about the event she wanted to plan to launch my music group. I tried to sit still as long as possible, but all I did was sneak a few peeks over at Bryn, who just smiled, batted her long lashes, and took notes. I wanted to cover my face. She had me blushing and shit. I ain’t know dark skin could turn red. I never felt what I was feeling before. She had me all bubbly and responding to questions all goofy. I was sweating, stuttering, and fumbling trying to pass her the salt. I wanted to run out and come back in to start over, but instead I calmed myself down and started following her lead on everything, hoping I wouldn’t fuck up and ruin the chance to ever see her again.

When the meeting was finally over, I walked them out. We said our goodbyes. I wanted to kiss her hand and shoot my shot, but I punked out. I just blurted out, ‘I’mma go wit’ y’all.’ They knew what I meant. I had to see her again. I needed another chance.

After I signed the contract, I wanted to spend time with her almost every day. I felt this crazy energy when I was around her and I always wondered if she felt it too. Every chance I could, I requested an in-person meeting, invited them everywhere: dinner, basketball games, nightclubs, football games, you name it. And each time trying to flex my muscles and show her I was the man. But she was unimpressed. I’d try all kinds of things to get her to see me, the real me. Or maybe the new me. I would bring her flowers. I ain’t ever buy a woman flowers before her, not even my momma. She would smile, thank me, and that’s it. I was definitely looking for more, but I knew I wanted to get to know her on a deeper level. But every time I wanted to try, I was scared she was going to turn me down.

First, I thought she was seeing somebody but when I found out she was single and it was just her and her daughter, it was game-fucking-on. I turned up the charm and my pursuit was on a thousand. I was about to be man and stepdad of the year. But even when I stepped up, she didn’t give me a break and still was so damn independent. Sometimes too independent. She wouldn’t let me do shit. I had to be like, ‘let me be a man’.

With Carice, I was the man. I was responsible for everything. Everything, to the point I started to resent it. Then I started to resent her. She could see it. Shit, she felt it. I was changing, each and every time I stopped by, I felt like I was becoming a different man. Eventually, the more I saw Bryn, the less time I’d want to see Carice. I’d only come by to see Riley and once she was asleep, I was out, ignoring the fact that Carice’s stomach was getting bigger. It was a dick move, but I felt dead around her. And it wasn’t because she was pregnant and we wasn’t fucking. I wanted more. I needed more.

Bryn made me feel alive. She was the reason I wanted to be a better man. I don’t know exactly when it happened. I could say it was at first sight because not only was Bryn a knockout, she was smart, kind, and had the biggest heart. The fact that it was taking forever to win her over only made me want her even more. Finally, I relaxed and took my time. I started paying attention because I wanted everything to be special. And each time I chilled with her I felt at peace. I could totally relax and quiet my mind. I wanted every moment with her to last forever.

Then, she finally agreed to date me. I became Prince-Fucking-Charming and relished every minute of it. I was patient, caring, and most of all, strategic. And when she finally invited me into her personal space, I knew I was in. She couldn’t resist.

The sex. Man, the sex was on-point. Like a drug, it pulled me back every time. I don’t think I’ve ever felt that before. Everything with Bryn was new. She was so trusting, unlike any of the many, many women I’d been with in the past. Everything with her was special. I started to fall in love with her and I damn sure knew that she was in love with me.

I knew it because she studied me. She knew my likes, my dislikes. She knew what I would say before I said it. She knew what I would do before I did it. Sometimes, I felt she knew me better than I knew myself. She just got me. We shared the same likes. We both loved Disney movies. She’d flip back and forth whenever I’d talk about kids. We both knew we wanted six. She introduced me to travel. I even started reading again.

There isn’t anything she wouldn’t do for me. And I know there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for her. She’s my something special. I don’t even know what that means. I just know I don’t have the words to describe what we’ve got. Some shit I made up that’s just for us ’cause I never knew it was possible. That’s why I made her a promise, always.

And now. . .

I don’t know how the fuck I am going to keep it.


About the author

Bianca Williams is the award-winning author of the sports romance series Sidelined. Book One, “The Draft”, was released in 2017 and won the USA Best Book Award and was a finalist in the National Indie Excellence Awards. The novels are inspired by Williams’ dating adventures. view profile

Published on December 04, 2020

70000 words

Contains explicit content ⚠️

Genre: African American

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