From the BLURB
After a woman claims she's pregnant with Wade O'Riley's love child, Major League Baseball's most celebrated catcher and ladies' man is slapped on the wrist by management and ordered to improve his image. His enforcer is the team's publicist, the tough and sexy Samantha McNead.
When Wade needs a date for a celebrity wedding, Sam steps up to the plate as his "girlfriend". But given her secret crush on him and that one awkward night a year ago in a stalled elevator with too much Scotch, the whole thing is an exercise in sexual tension.
Wade is thrilled when the pretense turns into an unexpected night of hot passion. But the next day Sam is back to her cool self. As a catcher, Wade's used to giving the signals, not struggling to read them. Now, to win the love of his "pretend" girlfriend, he needs a home run--even if it involves stealing a few bases...
This is the second book in Jill Shalvis’ ‘Pacific Heat’ series.
The first book, ‘Double Play’, was about pitcher Pace Martin. This second installment is all about catcher Wade O’Riley and his romance with the Heat’s PR officer, Samantha McNead.
I really loved this second book, not *as much* as the first, but loved nonetheless.
One thing I appreciate about this series is a well-executed concept. The idea of a series that follows an American baseball team is a great one – plenty of room for high drama, Alpha males and a certain ‘wow’ appeal. Shalvis definitely delivers. The baseball never takes a backseat to the romance because she effortlessly meshes the two and never leaves the reader feeling like the game descriptions are dragging or getting in the way of the romance. Shalvis also does a great job of imbuing her male characters with a deep-seated love of the game, which is infectious. Even for an Aussie girl like me who has never watched a baseball game in her life, I enjoyed reading the nuts and bolts game descriptions… I also liked the baseball-related quotes at the beginning of each chapter (a consistency carried on from the first book).
Wade and Sam are H-O-T. Whew boy!
“I’m falling for you.”
She went still as stone, then lifted her eyes to his. “I don’t expect you to catch me or anything,” he murmured. “But if you could just keep in mind…” And then he kissed her. It was different from all their previous kisses, which had been hard and deep and wet, and instantaneously hotter than flames.
Not this time. This time it was slow and sweet as he kissed first one side of her mouth, then the other before running his tongue along her lower lip until it trembled open.
Wade and Samantha are quite prickly characters and are a bit of ‘opposites attract’ – which notches up their heat-factor big time.
Sam is the Heat’s PR rep and her father also owns the team. She’s perceived as a bit of a spoilt princess, and because of that she throws herself into her job and is 100% committed to the team and proving everyone’s misconceptions wrong. Working in a male-dominated industry also means Sam is quite the ‘ice’ princess – she has to be. She doesn’t bat an eyelash when she walks through the clubhouse and sees butt-naked ball players. She has been witness to groupie hijinks and knows what her players sometimes get up to with their adoring female fans. She remains cool, calm and collected through it all. But underneath she is a rather fragile woman who still can’t completely please her father, hasn’t been able to keep a man and can’t control her emotional and physical reactions to Wade O’Riley.
Wade grew up on the wrong side of the tracks. His mum skipped out when he was a baby, and his dad was an alcoholic who Wade supported with his McDonalds job throughout his teens. Wade is a ladies-man; with his surfer-boy good looks and laid-back attitude women have always come easy to him. Relationships, less so. Wade is embarrassed by his past, and reluctant to let people get close to him. He has abandonment issues – his mother left him and his father chose the bottle over his son. Regardless, he has a soft spot for Sam McNead… the first woman he’s ever wanted to let get close enough to see his soft underbelly.
I loved this book. Wade and Sam are a great pair – both quite stand offish, except with each other. I loved them and their hot, hot scenes.
My one complaint is to do with the plot-trigger of the book. The whole reason Sam and Wade are forced to ‘pretend’ to be in a relationship is that one of Wade’s crazy fans falsely claims to be pregnant with his love child. This little fact is only ever mentioned in passing by the characters – we never meet the fan (though she appeared, hysterically, in ‘Double Play’) and it’s only mentioned once and then never again. But it seems like a pretty big deal, and could have potentially been a very interesting storyline. Instead its thrown-away.
I loved this book, and I cannot wait to read Shalvis’s next ‘Pacific Heat’ installment (apparently it’s about team manager, Gage).
Thanks to Patti of ‘book addict’ for recommending this fabulous series.