Sunday, July 20, 2014

Book Review of Game Changer by Collette West

Young, rich, and unaware of how seriously hot he is, Brooks Davison is tearing it up as the latest shortstop for the New York Kings, despite his tendency to blush whenever girls scream his name. 
When a health scare forces his best friend, Kyle Roberts, off the team, no one can stomach the thought of replacing him, especially so close to the playoffs.
Until Kyle's sister, Sasha, steps in, convincing management to let her take his place. The idea of signing the first female player in Major League history proves too tempting for the Kings to resist.
Nevertheless, Brooks doesn't want any part of it. Sasha is Kyle's little sister, not some sideshow.
Yet when Kyle takes a turn for the worse, Brooks promises to do everything in his power to help Sasha win a championship for him. Because there's no way he's letting either of them down. Not now, not ever.


After reading Ms. West's previous baseball romance, Night Games, I was left with great promise for her future and future books showcasing the other enticing players of the New York Kings.  With Game Changer we revisit this sexy and compelling group of players as their world, and the world of baseball, is thrown for a loop when Sasha Roberts steps up to the plate to save her brother's job as he wages a life or death battle while awaiting a heart transplant.  From start to finish Ms. West nicely balances action-packed baseball scenes with a romance full of unrelenting sexual tension that unfurls with tantalizingly slowness.  Throw in issues of organ donation and the emotional intensity of the story further immerses readers in the heartbreaking struggle Kyle goes through and the effect it has on his family and team mates that keeps you on the edge of your seat waiting for the outcome.

Brooks has been a part of the Roberts family since he was young, and as his father is nasty and unsupportive, he counts on them for encouragement as he makes his way to the big leagues.  He's always been drawn to Sasha but kept her at arm's length per Kyle's request.  Seeing everyone around him happy in love has him wanting to reconnect with Sasha after a memorable and sensual evening in Jamaica years ago.  Kyle's health brings her back into town and into his arms as he's her rock when she needs him most.  They're put in even closer quarters when she joins the team, but team policy keeps them from fully connecting and keeps readers frustrated as they get oh so close to doing the deed numerous times.  Brooks is a true Southern gentleman though and wants to do right by Sasha, so there's no jumping into bed fully until they both commit to a future together.  He's wholeheartedly supportive of her playing alongside him as he knows the difficulty she'll have being accepted.  He's an open book when it comes to his emotions which gave us great insight into the truly good man he is.  He's honorable and doesn't tolerate anything less from others and is a true protector of Sasha which sometimes causes his jealousy to come out.  When push comes to shove though Brooks steps up to the plate and proves to everyone his love for Sasha.

Sasha was a gangly teenager who never expected to win the sexy Brooks as he always treated her like a sister.  She always knew she loved him though, and after a memorably romantic night in Jamaica years ago, thought the time was finally right to claim him.  Her brother's failing health puts a damper on that as she concocts a crazy plan to take his place on the team to save his job.  Being one of the boys though keeps her away from Brooks with only stolen moments to assuage their love.  With the weight of trying to live up to her brother's reputation and with fear of his dying constantly surrounding her I ached for her and was impressed by her fortitude.  She always did what needed to be done even with a crowd of people booing her, and this was helped by Brooks' support.  Sasha was a strong-willed woman but wasn't afraid to admit she needed him.  She did get frustrated by his moments of jealousy and his worry of fully committing at such a traumatic time, but instead of letting these issues keep them apart they talked and made an even deeper commitment.  I found Sasha a delightful character, admirable and realistic in her thoughts and feelings, and was rooting for her every step of the way.

Ms. West crafted a story emotionally intense on a personal level with the struggles of organ donation vividly depicted.  Kyle's struggles brought tears to my eyes and kept me on the edge of my seat hoping he lived to play another day and the author kept us twisting with a heartbreaking journey full of ups and downs.  The world of baseball is equally well-depicted with all it's energy and male egos on display.  We got reintroduced to Chase from Night Games as he became a big part of Sasha and Brooks success and was almost a fatherly figure for them in his support of them as players and as a couple.  Numerous other team mates were introduced with three of them immensely memorable.  I fell in love with the soft-spoken Jilly and the sweet crush he had on Sasha and applauded his protectiveness of her.  Scott is a charming playboy who flirted with Sasha early on to egg on Brooks in claiming her, but as the story progressed he became more brotherly which endeared himself to me even more.  With so many good guys there always has to be a bad guy and in this story it's Drake, an unrepentant male chauvinist pig who's overpaid and cracks in high pressure situations.  He tries to sabotage Brooks and Sasha's relationship at every turn and tries to shake her confidence by making her question everyone around her.  He's thoroughly unlikable and it will be a true test of Ms. West's talent to redeem him.  With so many enticing characters and action-packed sports sequences this book kept me engrossed in not only Kyle's outcome but that of the team itself as they play in the World Series.  It's books like this that have made me obsessed with sports romances and I look forward to which player comes up to bat next and highly recommend it to all lovers of romance!

My rating for this is an A-

*I received this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.

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