Series: #8 Play By Play
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Sports Romance
Published by Berkley
Released on July 1, 2014
Okay, I put this series off way too long. I’ve been aware of it since the first book came out and just never picked it up and then I topped it off by jumping right in with book eight in the series. Crazy I know! I love sports and this one offers a hero who did the Bo Jackson thing and straddled two different pro sports so I guess that was the push I needed. Fortunately for me, I did alright reading out of order and really enjoyed the story and the peek-ins with the past characters in the series just left me eager to read about them now instead of being confused.
The story opens with Trevor Shay promising the widow of his college mentor that he would help do something about her daughter who was still struggling over her dad’s death and getting ready to throw her career away because she doesn’t care anymore. He knows just the thing. Trevor arranges for Haven Briscoe to be the one who gets the exclusive interview about his life. He has restrictions and doesn’t plan to let her delve completely into his past, but he’s never allowed a reporter to follow him around so this will hopefully really help her get in good with her new job as a sports journalist. His first glimpse of Haven since she was his college tutor makes him wonder why he never noticed her before. His policy of never getting involved in a relationship with a woman is about to be tested as is his ability to keep Haven from nosing out his secret.
Haven misses her dad deeply. He was a good father and her best friend now she can’t seem to move on. She has the job she always wanted and she is on the brink of losing it if she doesn’t pull herself together. The opportunity to write up the story on Trevor is just the break she needs. She had the hugest crush on him in college when he couldn’t see her as more than the tutor who he tried to finagle into doing his work so he could focus on his sports. Now that he does see her as a woman, she doesn’t know what she wants to do with that. She needs to stay objective so she can do her job and she also wants to stay distant so she can keep the detachment she has had in place since her dad’s death, but Trevor has a charming way of being real and honest and bursting right through the walls she puts up. The other gals she has come to know that are associated with Trevor’s baseball team encourage her to stop overthinking things and live. Trevor tells her that too. Living means feeling and now she feels more than she ought to for Trevor who will walk away when her assignment is over.
The story line on this one worked well for me. I enjoyed the challenge of Haven healing from her grief and figuring out Trevor’s secret. I especially enjoyed the relationship that built up between the two of them. It was nice getting the story from their alternating perspectives. The pacing was good and the story wasn’t rushed. I liked that the story spanned days and weeks instead of coming to a head quickly. I have to say that it was the first story with a female reporter in it that I’ve enjoyed. I don’t like the typical attitude that a person’s private life is fair game and the person almost owes them the details, but that’s not how this story rolled out so it was a nice change.
Haven’s mind is a bit of a mess as she tries to sort through her feelings and actions rationally. She gets up a bit of the hot and cold treatment with Trevor, but eventually she opens up and comes clean to herself and to Trevor for the most part. She really goes for it, but that is about the time that Trevor’s issue comes out and he withdraws. It sounds angsty, but it really wasn’t that bad. Neither of them drew it out too long.
Their steamy mutual attraction brought them together physically at first, but then it progressed. Others saw their true chemistry while they’re still oblivious and both tried to deny it mostly to protect themselves. They were good together and I enjoyed that there were a few of those down time scenes that helped authenticate and establish the relationship and the characters.
Trevor was so driven, but not just about sports. He cared about the people in his life, he had outside interests and he always gave back. Due to the fact that he was the interviewee, this led to me feeling better acquainted with his character, not that I minded in the slightest. I totally ended up with a Trevor crush.
The sports aspect was nicely balanced in as was Haven’s work as a journalist. I liked how all that meshed with the romance. So the sports is there, but you don’t have to be into these sports to enjoy the story.
In the end, it was passionate, fun and heartwarming. It was a lighter read that wasn’t overly challenging. I will definitely read more from the series and the author. Sports romance fans or just those who enjoy passionate contemporary romance should give this one a try.
My thanks to Penguin Group for the opportunity to read the book in exchange for an honest review.
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