Back in the Game by Lori Wilde

Back in the Game by Lori Wilde
Publisher: Avon Books
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (280 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Hawthorn

Wanted: ghostwriter. Must be female, a baseball fan, and have a great pair of legs.

Ex-pitcher Rowdy Blanton never saw a woman he couldn’t conquer or a team he couldn’t beat. And now that he’s off the field he’s ready to tell all about when he played the field. So he chooses Breeanne Carlyle to do the job—she’s got the requirements, but more important, there’s something about her that makes him want to be a better man.

Convinced there’s more to Rowdy than a good fastball, a wicked smile, and a tight pair of pants, Breeanne can’t help but be tempted. After all, it’s boring always being the good girl, and Rowdy dares her to be just a little bad. The stakes are high, but win or lose, this time Breeanne’s breaking all the rules playing the game of love.

A man who’s convinced his successful sport life is over, and a woman who hasn’t had the chance to start living yet make magic together. Their romance, as unexpected and unlikely as it is, is sweet and hopeful.

Perhaps the attraction Rowdy feels for Breeanne at first seems unbelievable. He is used to the attention of the prettiest women on the planet, so him finding the very average and inexperienced girl a huge temptation seems far-fetched. However, as we get to know her (and him, for that matter), it all begins to make sense. She turns out to be genuine, spunky and intelligent and her beauty doesn’t lie in her looks, but rather in what a great character she is.

Rowdy, too, shows us various layers of his personality as we follow his journey after a severe injury that ended his career. He’s got depth that he usually hides behind teasing remarks and a disarming smile. As for the attraction he feels for Breeanne – it’s easy to understand it once we compare her to his previous lovers.

Although we see little of Breeanne’s family, the short cameos of her sisters are strong enough to make me want to read their stories too. Their relationships are genuine and strong, and the author uses them wonderfully to show their individual and very distinct characters. Warwick was another favorite of mine with his silent ways and towering presence.

The quotes at the beginning of chapters were a nice addition that I’m sure every baseball fan would appreciate, and they were a great introduction into the chapters themselves.

The story as a whole flows nicely, never stalling as it’s always full of surprises and twists. Most of those stem out of Breeanne’s inexperience and quirky character, so they don’t just propel the story forward but also reveal a lot about her character.

Both protagonists of Back in the Game have gone through hard times, but they came out stronger than they thought possible. The book portrays them and their relationship nicely, showing us that there’s hope even when things seem bleak.

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