Kate Meader, USA Today bestselling author of SO OVER YOU, shares some of her favorite sports romances—and why she loves them so much.

Let’s face it: most of the sports romances we read and love feature male athletes. Centered around professional team franchises, these stories cater to our appreciation of the built, honed male jock. There’s something about this big strong lug being brought to his knees by a woman he never saw coming that’s so appealing. Plus we have team bromances! We love how the guys rag on each other, how they understand what their fellow athletes are going through like no one else.

Romances with female athlete protagonists aren’t unheard of, but they’re definitely more of a rarity. In SO OVER YOU, the latest Chicago Rebels novel about three half-sisters who inherit a failing hockey franchise, we meet Isobel Chase, middle sister and the daughter who was groomed for athletic greatness. In the absence of a son to carry on his Hall of Famer legacy, Clifford Chase expected great things of Isobel. From the age of three, she was trained for pro glory, and her achievements are a shining beacon to girls everywhere: NCAA champion, silver medalist at the Games, team captain in the inaugural game of the National Women’s Hockey League. Until an injury sidelines her dreams and destroys her hopes for a hockey-playing future.

Faced with the prospect of a new career as a coach, Isobel is still in mourning: for her father, for her lost career, and for the life she imagined was hers as her birthright. Only another athlete can understand her pain, and that player is Vadim Petrov, Russian left-winger, the boy who took her virginity and her heart years ago, now all-round blade in her ass. Isobel isn’t sure who she is without hockey, but Vadim’s on hand to show her just how amazing she is and how awesome they could be.

What are your favorite romances featuring a female athlete? Here are a few of mine:

  1. The Year We Fell Down / Sarina Bowen
    A varsity college player learns about life and love after hockey when an accident takes away the sport she loves—and gives her something else to hope for.
  2. Letters to Nowhere / Julie Cross
    A female gymnast deals with the aftermath of losing her parents in this heart-rending YA.
  3. For the Win / Sara Rider
    Two ultra-competitive soccer stars shoot it out in this Battle of the Sexes that highlights the inequality between men’s and women’s pro soccer without getting preachy. A fun and sexy read.
  4. Kulti / Mariana Zapata
    Female soccer player, asshole German coach, awesome slow-burn romance.
  5. Offside / Juliana Stone
    A hockey phenom returns to her home town and plays in the local men’s league. High jinks and romance ensue!