Review: Straddling the Line by Jaci Burton

Review: Straddling the Line by Jaci BurtonStraddling the Line by Jaci Burton

Series: #8 Play By Play
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Sports Romance
Published by Berkley on July 1, 2014
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
four-stars

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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.

About Jaci Burton

Jaci Burton is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling, award-winning author of over 50 books. She lives in Oklahoma and when she isn’t on deadline (which is often), she can usually be found wrestling with her uncooperative garden, wrangling her dogs, watching an unhealthy amount of television, or completely losing track of time reading a great book. She’s a total romantic and longs for the happily ever after in every story, which you’ll find in all her books.. Visit her website at www.jaciburton.com for excerpts, her blog and contest information.

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • LOL Sophia I ended up with a Trevor crush too. ::snort:: I’m with you on the reporters. I was so relieved with how it played out and that she wasn’t “one of those” reporters. I’m so glad you enjoyed your first of the series. It’s been one of my favorites for years. There are some really entertaining ones in there.

    • I can’t wait. I got book three on a clearance sale so I’ll probably continue my bad habit of reading out of order. I liked this one and Shari says the earlier ones are even better.
      Yeah, those reporters…I’ve just read too many books lately where its usually a woman and she tramples through the guy’s life and gets all testy when he doesn’t bare all and then some go so far as to lie and connive to pilfer through his past. Just not my cuppa either.

      • Book one wasn’t my fav but it was pretty good. I think book 2 is my favorite so far but I still have 2 there in the middle to catch up on. But really all have been entertaining 🙂

        Whew the ones that go too far are hard. Did you read Tonya Burrow’s latest? The heroine was a reporter that had really crushed the hero in the media prior to the book starting and after doing so had a life change when she realized what she’d done to him. It was interesting to see play out.

        • Sorry, I was slow to respond. I was on a trip.

          No, I haven’t read that Tonya Burrow’s yet, but I’ve heard about it I think. He was a military guy right?

          • Oh hope you had a good time away!

            Yep he was military. Had been captured and tortured then escaped. Name dragged through the mud and working on recovering while working for a kinda but not exactly black ops group.

            • Okay, yes, I’ve definitely heard of that one. I agree about that reporter. Still want to read the story, but I was leery after hearing bad stuff about her.

              I’m still technically away. Haha! I’ll be away for several weeks visiting relations and camping in Utah. I’ll go web-silent for next week while up at our favorite mountain lake campground, but I’ll be able to check in now and then afterward. Dry heat totally beats humid heat any day, but still can’t wait to get up to the high country where it will be dry and cooler. 😉