As a fan of sports-themed romances I'm excited to start the week off with this endearing and sensual older woman/younger man tale. Keep reading to get a glimpse of Rookie Season by V.K. Robbins, along with my impressions of it. Learn even more about it by visiting the other blogs hosting this tour as well as the author's thoughts on why readers are drawn to sports romances. Make sure to fill out the form below for the chance to win a $25 bookstore GC too!
Sports are the perfect companion for romance, so it's no wonder that so many people enjoy sports-themed romances. Think about it for a moment. Sports are filled with suspense. We often don't know who's going to win until the very last moment of the game. We love the competition, the back and forth achievements during a game, and cheering for our favorites. Our collective hearts get caught up in games. We love our favorite teams and players.
The setting for sports is also sometimes inherently romantic. This is particularly true for baseball. The aroma of freshly cut grass, the sound of the crowd and the crack of the bat, the warmth of the sun on your skin - for most of us, these sensations take us back to a simpler, happier time. I remember going to baseball games with my brothers, my grandfather, various boyfriends in high school and college, my husband, and my sons. The memory of those experiences is saturated with nostalgia and love of all varieties. As Rose Lasting, the protagonist in my novel Rookie Season says, "Nothing, absolutely nothing, is more romantic than baseball."
The world of sports is also filled with good looking, fit, talented young (and sometimes not-so-young) men who make perfect characters and heroes. We already desire them, so it's not very much of a leap to imagine them at the center of a romantic scenario.
Their stories are also romantic. Many professional players come from humble beginnings, aspiring toward the goal of someday playing in the big stadiums under the lights, listening to the roar of the crowd cheering them on. When they are successful, it can seem like a fairy tale, much like a romance novel.
Finally, professional athletes are a relatable type of celebrity, not untouchable like movie stars can seem. In spite of the fact that they must have extraordinary discipline and talent to achieve professional status, we still think of them as a sort of everyman. We may know someone who is a professional athlete or we know someone who knows one. Most of us played sports of some kind as children so we think of them as regular people who "got lucky," even though it took much more than luck, and we can relate to them. It's this dual image of celebrity/regular guy that makes them perfect for romance stories.
When a reader chooses a sports-themed romance, s/he comes to it with all of theromantic and suspenseful mindset and expectation that come naturally with a love for sports. Even readers who don't love sports can intuitively understand the connection between sports and romance. As a result, sports-themed romances rarely disappoint their readers.
Talented young ballplayer Clay Love has just been called up from the minors to play major league baseball. Freelance writer and divorcée Rose Lasting, the world's biggest baseball fan, wasn't expecting to fall in love when she fell into Clay's arms, but fall in love she did. Now they are caught up in a whirlwind romance complicated by the paparazzi, Clay's ex-girlfriend, Rose's ex-husband, and a stalker who puts Rose's life in grave danger. Saving her life and catching her attacker takes you on a roller coaster of emotion and intrigue that you won't soon forget.
Rookie Season is the first book in the Love in the Ballpark Series, by V.K. Robbins. This adult erotic romance tale sizzles with romantic and sexual chemistry, emotion, and suspense. Once you start reading, you won't be able to put it down.
He shared about missing his mother's last days because he had been out on the road with his AA team, and how he regretted it. I thought about telling him about my grandfather, but I didn't. I knew I would cry and there was no way I wanted to cry right then. I did tell him, though, about how my dad left when I was six, and I was raised by my mother and her father, my grandfather.
And we talked about baseball - how it was my first love, how he only really felt comfortable and at home out on the field, how I hadn't missed a Giants home game in 10 years, how excited he was to finally be playing in the majors.
There was a pause again and we were silently looking at each other. I was thinking how comfortable it was just to be quiet with him, how I didn't feel like I needed to entertain him...when he leaned forward and kissed me.
It was gentle and tentative at first, then it became more aggressive and forceful. My mind went blank for a moment. I leaned toward him and he wrapped his arm around me, pulling me closer. His kiss just pulled me in. Any hesitance I'd had about him evaporated, and I knew I'd never be the same.
MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS BOOK:
Into the crowded field of sports romances comes Rookie Season, a fast-paced and steamy story full of twists and turns that's a bit rough around the edges and a bit predictable but shows great promise. With its large cast of memorable characters and endearing moments of camaraderie there's a sense of family that leaves you wanting to know more about the characters long after the final page is turned.
Rosie is an older woman obsessed with baseball and the hot young player recently added to the roster. After their memorable first meeting ends with her skirt over her head their burgeoning relationship goes into overdrive in a mix of sweetness and eroticism. Playing out in front of the public eye leads to self-doubts for her about her age and their compatibility that he works overtime to assuage. When the ex who left her for a younger woman comes back to try to win her over her life becomes even more complicated. It becomes downright dangerous when a stalker threatens her and her relationship with Clay. It all leads to intense melodrama that almost becomes a distraction. As the threats intensify, along with personal dramas, it all careens over the top and diminishes the intended impact. Through it all though Rosie remains strong. She's not the kind of woman to back down which is an admirable quality that had me rooting for her HEA.
Clay is the epitome of romantic and sexy. His blushes, paired with impressive talents in bed, made for an intriguing dichotomy that made him delectable. He's never bothered by their age difference and goes out of his way to show her how good they are together in numerous scorching interludes. His interactions with his teammates were fun with a brotherly bond very apparent which introduced us to players who could easily helm their own story in the future. He's a trusting young man too, too trusting, which brings danger to their doorstep time and again which kept me on edge as well as frustrated.
From start to finish this was a good story. It had a good mix of vividly depicted sports play along with a steamy romance that was also heartwarming. The mystery, and it's villain, was obvious to me from the start but Ms. Robbins threw in some plausible red herrings to keep readers guessing. Along with its two likable leads were the entertaining secondary characters of Sam and Hunter. Sam's the kindly old gentleman befriended by Rosie whose fatherly guidance she depends on. Hunter's the teammate of Clay and very sexy and playful and someone I'd love to see more of. Once the final page is turned readers looking for an exciting read with likable characters will find exactly that here.
My rating for this is a C.
*I got this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.
Veronica Robbins is a published author of both fiction and nonfiction who has been writing professionally for the last 20 years. In addition to writing fiction and poetry (her first love), she is also an expert grant writer and copy writer. When she's not writing, she's watching baseball, enjoying her children, reading, and trying to train her dog, Handsome, who so far has been very successful at training her.
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