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Publisher's Summary

Before he was “Big Texas,” he was “Zac the Snack Pack".

Bianca Brannen knows time - mostly - heals all wounds. Including those your once loved ones might have unintentionally given you. (Those just take longer.) 

She thinks she’s ready when a call has her walking back into her old friend’s life. Or at least, as prepared as possible to see the starting quarterback in the National Football Organization. Before the lights, the fans, and the millions, he’d been a skinny kid with a heart of gold. 

Waltzing out of Zac Travis’s life should be easy. Just as easy as he walked out of hers.

©2020 Mariana Zapata (P)2021 Mariana Zapata

What listeners say about Hands Down

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Hands Down

Waiting for this audiobook was pure ….. you an insert the word there.
I liked it but didn’t love it. Bianca is so indecisive and thinking she is this big burden, that was getting on my nerves even when Zac told her to stop that she didn’t.

What I did enjoy in this book was the family feel. How you cousin can totally be like your brother because your that close. Your sister feels more like your mother because again your that close. I loved how it all inter-locks.
We get guest appearances from past characters, which is always exciting to me.

Going into this book I knew it would be a slow burn it’s how this author writes but I wanted to feel more of the connection. Maybe on a re-listen I will feel it but I didn’t the first time around.

Ok now I enjoy Callie’s narration but I am wondering if we will ever see a different female narrator. Sometime the characters can sound the same. We get a variety of male narrators which is awesome so I wondered if we will ever have another female narrate Mariana Zapata’s books.

8 people found this helpful

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It’s good, not great like her other books.

Too self-deprecating is what I didn’t enjoy about this book. Otherwise, it’s still good.

7 people found this helpful

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Can't Stop Smiling!!

Gahhh!!! That was So worth the wait to come to audio! I can't even begin to remember how many times I replayed parts of this to hear CB say "darlin" or just listen to a part that made my heart flutter.

I had wanted "Big Texas'" story ever since I read Wall of Winnipeg and Mariana definitely made those years worth the wait as well. Zach and Bianca are probably in my top 5 book couples of all time. The new side characters gave me life just like all of MZ's other stories.

I honestly can't say enough good things about this book... except one more. I am crazy cheap with my audible credits, and I always save them when I know a favorite author is about to release. But since this dropped without notice after waiting for it, I actually paid out of pocket for this one - and I have ZERO regrets! (micdrop)

6 people found this helpful

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Soooo repetitive

If I have to hear this girl say they used to be friends but haven’t seen each other in 10 years, or that her cousin was like her brother- I might scream. Like nothing happens. I’m 4 hours in and there is NO plot yet. I fell asleep while listening to it for 45 min, and I missed NOTHING.

I have had similar complaints about her previous books but not to this extent. I rarely do not finish a book - but I can’t stand the long, drawn out conversations in her head that repeats the same thing over and over.

And I’m not sure why this author has to make up organizations. NFO, Pictogram, Wetube or some nonsense like that, etc. Why make up these names? It might not be so irritating but she says “Pictogram” every few minutes.

And finally - quit your job! Why work as a part time receptionist for an abusive boss just so your friend can be lazy in her job search? Show some respect for yourself.

4 people found this helpful

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This Author! Amazing

Mariana has become my favorit author. I absolutely adore how she writes.
Slow burners at it's best. She is just one of a kind. If you have not listened to Marian before, I highly recommend that you do.
She makes you feel everything.
My top 4
1. The Wall of Winnipeg and Me
2. Hands Down
3. From Lukov With love
4. Kulti

One word: AMAZING
With love from Sweden :D

3 people found this helpful

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Another one!

I love Zapata books so much! she tells great heart grabbers. And the guys are always the best! My only thought is how much the women always put up with, so many times Bianca was disrespected and just smiled on and I could NEVER, I don't think I know anyone that would EVER put up with such BS. But i feel so much for them😭

3 people found this helpful

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Adorbs! Super cute story.

There are inconsistencies in this book just like in The Wall of Winnipeg and I that the editors really should have caught.
But really my only complaint is that I would love to hear/read the men’s point of views too. If anyone could do it Zapata could. 💗💗💗

2 people found this helpful

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whyyyyy the dual narration?!

the dual narration ruined this audiobook unfortunately. why change whats not broken? 😩
callie dalton did a great job solo on the others. please please make this a once off.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Can’t wait to listen to it again!

I feel like I waited a lifetime for the audiobook to come out. It was worth the wait. Mariana is amazing, per usual!

2 people found this helpful

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Zapata writes the best all the feels stories

If you’ve read Zapata before you will know it starts slower and then BOOM you see all the ways that the characters show they love each other. She’s funny and can hit you right in the feels. I’ve enjoyed reading every story that she has written and she picks the best actors/narrators for her audiobooks. Zapata is a one click buy for me and has yet to disappoint.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Chrissy’s Book Shelf
  • 10-26-21

Friend’s To Lovers Slow Burn Romance

Mariana Zapata is the queen of the slow burn romance. She also writes incredibly good sports romances in a way that doesn’t glamourise the lives of elite atheletes, but reveals the sheer hard work that it takes to perform at the highest levels, including the support networks required when you live life travelling to games (in this case) and live contract to contract, praying you don’t get an injury.

We first met Zac ‘Big Texas’ Travis in The Wall of Winnipeg. I’ve always loved this character and giving him his own book made me very happy. Zac has a heart of gold. He is funny, gentle and kind, unerringly polite and charming though sometimes a little prone to being overwhelmed when things go wrong. It takes him time to dig himself out of the doldrums and other people’s opinions sometimes matter a little bit too much. At age 34 he is no longer the young newcomers we met in The Wall of Winnipeg, he’s a seasoned QB, though he’s had little success with the teams he’s played for. He’s currently in Houston where he’s training in the off season, living at Trevor, his manager’s house with another of Trevor’s football player clients, CJ. Unsure of where he will be playing next season, life is unsettled and he’s trying to distract himself with a party, when a blast from his past walks in.

Bianca ‘Little Texas’ Brannen, knew Zac The Snack Pack when he was a scrawny kid. It was her that named him Big Texas after he took to calling her Little Texas. They met when she was just 3 years old. Zac, though 7 years older was always kind to Bianca. He was best friends with her favourite cousin, who is more like a brother and her grandmother used to watch out for Zac when his mother was working. Up until she was 17, she was close to Zac, visiting him at college with her cousin and going to see his matches. Despite the age difference they were good friends. Then when she was 17 Zac dropped out of her life. He carried on his friendship with her cousin but he stopped answering her calls and texts. Her heart was broken that the man she adored with all her heart was done with her.

When Zac’s grandfather becomes ill, and no one can reach him, her cousin asks Bianca to go to where he is staying to tell him what is going on, because she lives in Houston too. Hating the idea of having to face the man she crushed hard on as teenager, she knows that she has to tell him about his grandfather. When they come face to face, 10 years after their last meeting, Zac doesn’t even recognise Bianca, but when he knows who it is he is delighted, until she tells him why she’s there. But once, Zac has Bianca back in his life he doesn’t seem to want to let her disappear back out of it and Bianca can’t understand it.

I liked Bianca, she has trust issues (cheating ex-boyfriend), abandonment issues (absentee parents) and self-esteem issues (see previous). However, she is determined and ambitious. She is funny, loyal, honest and loving. Her family are tremendously important to her and she is really close to her cousin and sister. Despite losing touch with Zac, she still follows him on social media and and the news because she only wants what is best for him, even if he really hurt her.

In some way most people can appreciate what it’s like to have a crush on someone older when you are teenager, especially if they are around a lot and are friendly. Most people also know what it’s like to be hurt when rejected by your first love as a teenager. It’s devasting at the time, but you get over it. This story is at some level almost familiar and believable. Lots of people in the days of social media get back in touch with people from their past and resume friendships/relationships that ended years ago. We all know someone who has done that, or have even done it ourselves. Having someone from the past who shared in a so much from his childhood is what Zac needs at a difficult time in his life. He knows that Bianca cared about him before he was successful and rich. He can trust her motives, whereas it’s hard to do the same with other people. This basic trust and history allows them to quickly drop back into a friendship that Zac and also Bianca needs.

I really enjoyed the slow journey these two people take towards falling in love. Each step along the path to the HEA is believable. The banter between friends and family is funny and the stories of their shared childhood are amusing as such stories normally are. Both Zac and Bianca are very loveable characters and seeing them get together is rewarding and satisfying, because the good guys should always get their HEA in a romance. Despite some mistakes, these two characters are really good guys. They deserve their happiness.

The narrators are good. Callie Dalton has narrated all (I think) of Mariana Zapata’s audio books. Chris Brinkley reads the parts that Zac speaks and Callie reads the rest of the book. I like this technique and the most recent books from this author are done the same. It gives conversations between the MMC and MFC much more clarity. The back and forth of dialogue doesn’t become confused like it can if it’s all done with one narrator. Both narrators bring warmth and humour to the book.

Mariana Zapata may not write ‘great works of fiction’ but she does write warm, interesting and funny books that present intriguing and believeable characters that take us on a journey towards a HEA. This book is a great example of her work.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Olive oil
  • 08-21-21

Was just ok

I usually find mariana zapatas books fantastic but this one was just ok, not alot of substance to the story which was a shame, but a nice easy listening experience

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ioana
  • 11-07-21

Not Ms Zapata's best

Maybe I wasn't in the right mood for this book when I listed to it, but it's not for me. It wasn't terrible, just... boring and at times frustrating. I was ready to give up after the first couple of hours, Bianca was such a door mat and I really struggled to connect with her. I persevered only because I'm a huge fan of Zapata's books and I was hoping it will improve. I guess it did get a bit better, but only a bit. It felt too flat and too long, there was no chemistry between the main characters, the nicknames were ridiculous and overused, and frankly I found both protagonists whiny and annoying.

I listened to "The wall of Winnipeg and me" at least 5 times, and probably will again in a year or two. This one? Not a chance.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • n young
  • 09-30-21

amazing audio!!!

Ok so I loved Zac when reading this story but hearing Marianas stories brought to life is just perfect!!
Zac makes me swoon so so hard! and Bianca is your usual MZ heroine..strong kick ass and full of humour!
These guys had such intense chemistry and deserved their HEA together.
Listening to this just makes me want to read/listen to all Mariana has ever written.
would DEFINITELY recommend this.

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  • Merethe Sørensen
  • 09-24-21

The voice of Zack. OMG. But..

Tooo long. To many words. And I would have loved full chapters with the male character, to hear his version of the story.

But. Otherwise. Very sweet, very comforting.

But if you wish for a more steamy lovestory, find another book: this was 90% foreplay.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 08-23-21

LOVED

omg where do i start! she is one of the best slow burn romance authors!! the book is 15hrs not a second was boring, not a second was wasted, if anything I needed more!!!!! the narration!!!!! callie is PERFECT !! She belongs in Marianas books! I hope she never changes who narrates them. Chris was a first time listen for me.......LOVE HIM!!!!! they both REALLY REALLY brought the book to life. I felt the emotions everything!!!! This book is faultless!! I loved it. HIGHLY recommend. 10/10

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-22-21

A good listen

I love how Mariana’s books pull you in, get you invested in the characters. It’s all very gentle but I never want it to end. I enjoyed this but got frustrated at times with the lead. It’s not as good as The Wall of Winnipeg and Me, but still a lovely listen.

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  • Debbie
  • 08-03-21

Brilliant

Mariana Zapata is on of my favourite authors. Her stories are a brilliant mix of feel good humour and hot guy romances. I usually listen to the audiobooks and go back to them time and again. Callie Dalton is a brilliant narrator, not heard Chris Brinkley narration before but his voice….. oh my gawd!!!!! Fair to say I will be searching for more audiobooks read by him stat!!! 🔥🤩

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 08-01-21

Anytime Darlin’

I loved the book about Zac and Bianca but Oh good god…. I love the audio version sooooo much more. That deep male ‘Darlin’ was enough to make my ovaries grow back ; )

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  • Madgerama
  • 08-01-21

Worth the wait

I thoroughly recommend this duet style performance of Hands Down. The narrators were both perfectly cast. I always look forward to Mariana Zapata’s next creation. I love the slow burn. Fantastic

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 09-17-21

love/not love relationship with Zapata novels

I do like the way a moment can be unpacked in so much detail, but the overthinking main character can cause anxiety. I also don't need to know about refilling drinks or stacking dishwashers. The minor characters needed more attention to round out the narrative too. But it reads like a usual Zapata novel and the slow burn relationship is always an easy read for pleasure.

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  • Leirre
  • 09-04-21

On the fence.

I enjoyed this book, but I feel this book lacked depth. Although it was a slow burn at times I just wanted to speed it up or skip parts. It was still a good book and if you are after just a light romance this is it.