Cover Image: Team Player

Team Player

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Member Reviews

I was browsing Netgalley when I came across this book and Keyes had me at baseball romance. I'm missing baseball season after the crappy basketball season that I've had to endure with my Lakers so jumping into this baseball romance made me happy and I'm happy to report that the story itself was fun, at the same time that it was sweet and I thought Julianna Keyes wrote a great romance for Ty and Gwen.

Ty Ashe is a baseball player who is really going through it. He's slumping on the field, his fans are blaming him for his team's losing season and his best friend doesn't want to see him so like I said, Ty Ashe is really going through it. When he meets Gwen Scott, he finds an unexpected friend in a world where he doesn't trust anyone.

Gwen Scott grew up on Charleston Thrasher's stats because her grandmother was a huge Thrashers fan. She could spout off stats and throw down some random baseball facts that would impress the biggest baseball person and when her grandmother dies, she applies for a job with the Thrashers organization to try to feel closer to her grandmother any way that she can. So she's landed her dream job, only it's not going as well as she thought it would. Her boss is a dragon that keeps her on her toes and stressed the heck out but when she re-writes talking points for the coach that will actually help him out, she becomes the go-to person for PR talking points and that brings her onto Ty Ashe's radar.

Friendship blossoms between the pair and though they're fighting an attraction that is threatening to explode, friendship is all that they can afford since Gwen would lose her job and that's the last thing Ty wants. I really liked the way that the romance was handled in this one. Julianna Keyes writes sexual tension really well and I believed everything that both Ty and Gwen felt. I thought this was a fun book and I really enjoyed all of the baseball we see. This book was written by someone who has a love of baseball and I felt that. 

I didn't know that this was part of a series until I started writing this review and that makes me happy. I can't wait to read the next book and I'm pretty anxious to find out who the book will be about. There are quite a few of Ty's teammates that I would love to get to know a little more.

Overall, this was a quick but sweet romance between two people who were meant to be together and I really enjoyed Keyes efforts in building a world of characters that readers can root for. This was a good one and I definitely recommend it.

Grade: 4 out of 5
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I had some trepidation picking up this latest book from Julianna Keyes.  Not because I don’t enjoy the author's work - I do.  Not because it’s about baseball, which is boring.  Friends.  It is.  And not because anything about it sounded bad or not good or uninteresting.  I was nervous because I hated Ms. Keyes last book.  Big time.  Happily for me (and you), she’s written a homerun (Hi!  I’m Em.  I’ve never met a sports metaphor I didn’t love).  In Team Player, two lonely, sad souls (keep reading) find the love of their lives where and when they least expect it.  Unlike every baseball game I’ve ever watched, Team Player kept me engaged from start to finish, and I couldn’t put it down.  Funny, sexy and with just enough angsty emotional twists and turns to power the second half, Team Player hopefully marks the start of a new baseball-themed romantic series from this talented writer.  I liked almost everything about it and contemporary romance fans will too.  Even the baseball - which the author clearly loves.Gwen Scott is weighing the pros and cons of making a run for it.  Another Caroline Thrasher (a fictional South Carolina MLB team) loss means someone has to deliver talking points to team manager, Rex Stripley, before he meets with the press.  The last time Gwen was given this job, Rex had just fired his fourth assistant - the same unfortunate person who used to deliver these talking points.  Gwen’s decided to make a run for it when the manager of Public Relations, Promotions & Social Media Strategy finds her, hands over the bulleted list and instructs Gwen to deliver it to Rex.  And even though Gwen isn’t sure she even likes her job - she applied on drunken whim after her aunt Marge, a die-hard Thrasher superfan, had a massive heart attack and died - quitting now feels like an insult to her aunt.  So when Team Player begins, Gwen is on her way down to the clubhouse, death warrant/notes in hand.The visit doesn’t go according to plan.  Awkward and nervous, Gwen flings the talking points out to Rex.   But when he starts reading them out loud, growing angrier with every inane platitude on the paper, Gwen finds herself talking about the game with him instead - and he likes what she has to say.  When he uses her talking points instead of the ones on the paper, Gwen is secretly thrilled - and scared.  But her boss likes what she has to say, and before long, Gwen finds herself responsible for providing the manager with talking points after every game and managing the team twitter feed, along with a ton of new promotional responsibilities.  Gwen isn’t totally surprised - she knows baseball.  Since the moment she was sent to live with her aunt aged nine, MLB and the Charleston Thrashers have been her life.  She knows everything there is to know about the team, their stats... and their players.  Including Tyler Ashe, the team’s handsome and eligible shortstop, who’s been struggling all year and needs some talking points of his own.Tyler has been an MLB all-star player since the start of his career.  But this year, after his closest friend and fellow player, Connor, was sent to jail, Tyler has been off his game.  Lonely, depressed and withdrawn, the last thing Tyler wants to do is talk to the press about any of it, but after skipping out on another post-game interview, Rex benches him in favour of a younger player.  Determined to get back in the starting line-up, Tyler promises not to miss any more interviews and listens when his manager recommends he speak to the latest PR staffer for talking points.  Gwen isn’t what he expects.  Smart, sharp and knowledgeable about the game and his play, she gives him good advice.  She’s also attractive and funny, and Tyler finds himself curious about her - seeking her out whenever she’s in the clubhouse.What follows isn’t quite your standard workplace romcom.  For starters, these two adorkable nerds bond after separately escaping a team publicity event and unexpectedly winding up alone together in the arcade room of a popular bar.  They trade game stats and childhood memories, until Ty winds up taunting/challenging Gwen into racing him in Taxi-Kart (a game they both love).  When the extremely intense and competitive race is over, they’re pressed close together and wind up making out on a nearby pool table.  Just before Gwen nearly has sex with Ty in public, on a pool table, at a bar... they hear another Thrasher player looking for Tyler and separate.   Gwen is quick to regret the incident and her loss of control.  She might be in a dry spell and Ty might be her fantasy come to life, but she knows better.  Ty’s a player, on and off the field, baseball is his one and only love, and she’d be terminated if they got caught.  She flees and makes plans to avoid Tyler.  Oh Gwen.  Good luck with that.Team Player doesn’t quite proceed in a straight-line - mostly because Tyler makes a lot of mistakes and Gwen doesn’t put up with any of his bullshit excuses for treating her poorly or making bad decisions because he’s never been in a relationship before.  Ty wants Gwen and he works hard to woo her; but it’s a battle he’s destined to win, because it's clear she likes him too.  The chemistry between Gwen and Ty is delightful, the sex is steamy and passionate, and their witty back-and-forths are a highlight of their often funny, tender and sexy secret affair.  He works hard to tear down the walls that Gwen keeps between them, and as a couple - friends and lovers - they begin to heal the hurt and loneliness plaguing them both when the story opened.While the romance between Ty and Gwen hits only high notes (even when they’re on the outs), their lives outside of the relationship improve as well.  Gwen’s work in the PR department gains the approval of super scary boss Allison - and although that means she’s given more responsibilities, she’s good at her job, and starts to enjoy it.  Ty works hard to build relationships with his teammates too, and it pays off.  The team starts to gel on and off the field and finally starts winning.  While the romantic relationship is my favorite, the bonds Ty forms with these guys - a quirky, odd, and eclectic group - is also perfectly rendered.  The author never panders to our stereotypical ideas about athletes and sports romances, and Team Player is a fresh, and supremely entertaining take on sports romance.So what doesn’t work?  A couple of things.  Ty’s relationship with Connor might be the reason he’s down when he meets Gwen, but the author doesn’t spend quite enough time showing us why.  He felt more like a convenient plot device than an actual character, and an unnecessary suspense subplot - a saboteur may be working behind the scenes to damage the team - was a ridiculous and unnecessary addition to a novel that was nearly perfect without it.Despite these minor complaints, and the swing-and-a-miss that was her last book, Ms. Keyes hits this one straight out of the park.  #YouLoveMyMetaphorsTooBuy it at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/KoboVisit our Amazon Storefront
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**Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for giving me the ARC in exchange for an honest review#TeamPlayer #NetGalley

4 🌟! An enjoyable and fun loving read...with a predictable end....but I love sports romance!!! Definitely I would love to read Connor's book ... overall it was a nice read and hopefully it will be a start of Thrashers new series !
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For Julianna Keyes “Team Player” series I'm not sure if it was just me or not but the connection between Gwen and Tyler was just about not existent. I didn't feel any real connection between the two besides sexual so I was somewhat surprised they ended up together as a couple. Despite my feelings on the leads, it was a pleasant read and I enjoyed the overall premise. Moreover, I think I would have rated the series a little higher if the author added that little something something to the story to really intrigued me as a reader. “Team Player” was lacking in excitement, drama and character depth to definitely make it a better reading experience.
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So Gwen and Ty...I liked this book and I like the characters but it was very predictable. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, just makes it very similar to all other sports romances. Some days that’s all I want; a specific, simple, well executed trope, this delivers! I would however change the cover, it’s almost a little misleading because it seems to convey more of a mystery/drama vibe.
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One of my absolute favorite books is Undecided. I can’t even count how many times I have read it. Whenever Julianna Keyes releases a new book, I am anxious to read it. Once I picked up this book, I didn’t want to put it down. I really enjoyed Gwen and Ty and could feel their connection. It didn’t feel forced or their relationship rushed. I also love baseball and enjoyed there was so much of it in the book. I do wish there had been more at the end, maybe an epilogue. It would have helped for the end to not have felt a little rushed. But I am hoping there will be more books in this series and we can see them in future books. I would love to read one with Connor!
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I think that’s as close to happy as I’m currently capable of being. I’m slammed with work, my allergies are crazy, and I can’t get wrapped up in a story. And then I don’t wanna do anything other than read so I get super angry at the book for not being enough to engage me fully. This is not a good look for me. 

I haven’t read anything by Julianna Keyes since Undeclared - which I adored. Now - as then - I enjoyed watching two good people fall in love - mistakes and scrapes and bruises and all. I like that the two books of hers I’ve read have been gentle with the steam (I’m fairly certain there weren’t even any skeevy body-part descriptions in this one) which is just such a happy thing for me. 

Ty and Gwen meet at work. He’s a baseball player. She’s recently started working in PR for the team. I thought it was great that Ty fell for Gwen as he got to know her. I’m sure that Gwen is pretty, but there’s no uncomfortable focus on her looks. There’s no focus on her looks at all. She’s hard-working and kind and helpful and sassy. She has a fun and unique relationship with all the players on the team (this was such a cool aspect - their personalities). I totally get why Ty fell for Gwen. 

There was some silliness. Some bad decisions - but I think that’s sort of part and parcel with these things. They took some (unnecessary) risks. Ty was selfish. All of these things were mostly in keeping with the story although some of them felt a little loose and silly. I think maybe I expected a little more there at the end. Perhaps more explanations and conversations should have happened. 

But nothing really took away from the overall happy vibe I got reading this. I love sports books. I love books where no one mentions penis size. I love books with adorable funky heroines - particularly when the hero falls for said heroine for all the right reasons. I’m not sure I’m out of my reading funk - but I enjoyed the hell out this (mostly) non-cliche baseball romance with fabulous characters. I’ll be on the lookout for the rest of this series. 

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An ARC of this book was generously provided to me from the publisher via NetGalley.
Overall Rating: 4 stars
Do I recommend it?: YES!
Genre: Contemporary Romance/ Sports Romance
POV: Dual
Writing: 4 stars. I’ve read books before from Julianna Keyes, and I’ve always enjoyed her writing style. She seems to be getting progressively stronger as a writer, and this book definitely proves that.
Story/Plot: 4 stars. I really enjoyed the overall story and IMO it had a great balance of story, romance, wit and realistic drama. If you‘re a baseball fan, then this should be a win for you! I’m not really, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it.
Characters: REALLY liked Grace’s character. She was vulnerable, yet strong and witty without being naïve, silly or bitchy. Tyler was believable and really likeable. There’s a nice story arc in here of seeing the 2 of them mature and develop in their relationship together, very well done!
Emotions: Nice balance of emotions. Rooting for Grace, for the team, for Tyler, and ultimately for the 2 of them together. There’s some great banter, and no silly drama, just a nice development in their relationship.
Flow/pacing: Perfect, 5 stars
Steam: 4 stars, just a couple of well-placed love scenes, not overdone as some books seem to do.
Will I read this author again?: Definitely, and definitely recommend to all who enjoy contemporary romance!
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Overall, was pretty good book. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, even though I have had my share of sports romances (The Player duet and The Hook-up are my all time favorite). That in no way stopped me from getting caught up in the story and characters’ experiences. The amount of baseball references was just enough to add to the plot and not be boring or overwhelming to a complete baseball noob. Sorry, baseball fans...I'm more of a fútbol fan. It wasn’t bad, but it didn’t ‘wow’ me. I will read the next book at least before I write off the series as not-for-me. Anyways...
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Gwen and Ty were enjoyable and fun loving characters that together created a steamy romance that was hard to put down. Definitely pick this one up and read.
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I chose this book as I had enjoyed Julianna Keyes other books, but found this one a bit lacking. It follows the romance between Gwen Scott, a huge baseball fan who is just coming out of some heavy grieving and struggling to find her place in the world, and Tyler Ashe, a baseball superstar who is starting to realize fame and money aren't worth it if you don't have someone to share it with. 

I thought the chemistry between the two characters was ok, but not sure if I bought the 'drama' in the book around the fact that the players and employees can't date. I feel like the author had to have that in there to have some tension or explanation for why the two characters might need to sneak around.  I don't want to give anything away, but the plot around Gwen when her relationship is discovered also felt deeply unfair and like more story should have been devoted to that. 

It is obvious the author knows her baseball so that aspect of the story always felt real; I especially enjoyed hearing about team dynamics and how all that influences the game. 

But ultimately the book just didn't land in the way that some of Keyes' earlier work does.
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What happens when a hot shot baseball player in the midst of a major slump falls for the teams newest PR employee? Sexy, hot shenanigans and a love story full of heart and depth. 

Tyler Ashe puts the Ashe in Thrashers - the Charleston Thrashers to be more specific. However, he's in a slump. After playing right by his best friend for years, he finds himself alone suddenly, untethered and unsure and definitely not a team player. 

Gwen Scott has had a lifetime of being abandoned and rejected by her missionary parents. When the aunt who took her in and instilled her love of baseball in her passes away, Gwen is devastated by the loss and unable to find joy in anything...until an unexpected meeting with Tyler changes everything.

I really enjoyed this book - I enjoyed the depth of the characters, they were multi-dimensional and flawed and had feelings that were very valid and it was bittersweet seeing them experience their hurts and their joys. Tyler made a lot of stupid mistakes which ultimately resulted in costing Gwen the most and while I didn't love that part, I understood the realistic nature of it. I'm not sure if this is meant to be a series - I did enjoy the side characters a lot and would not mind revisiting this world again.
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Team Player by Julianna Keyes
Rating: 4 Stars ⭐️ 
Description “Gwen Scott wants to love her job with the Charleston Thrashers, the MLB team she’s worshiped since she was a kid, but she can’t. Hateful colleagues and mind-numbing work make her days unbearable—until her head for baseball gets her exclusive access to the Thrashers’ clubhouse and she comes face-to-face with Tyler Ashe, the team’s sexy shortstop and baseball’s most ineligible bachelor. Ty has sworn off relationships in order to focus on his all-star career, but with his best friend gone, his team struggling, and the press blaming him for every loss, the most recognizable man in the majors is in a slump. Until he starts spending his time off the field with a stern blonde who recites baseball stats for kicks and sees through his arrogant façade.
As the Thrashers’ season gets into full swing and Gwen adjusts to her new job, their fun banter and friendly teasing turns into stolen kisses and countless steamy nights. The team’s strict policy against player-staff relationships throws a curve ball into the mix, but they can’t hide from their feelings any more than the most famous man in baseball can hide from the spotlight”

I loved this author’s New Adult books they are funny, romantic, and sexy. I was excited to read this story because I love a good sports romance. The book started off strong, I loved the secondary characters. I liked Gwen but I wasn’t Ty’s biggest fan. You can tell the author knows her baseball and I really enjoyed reading about it. I would love to read Connor’s book. He sounds intriguing. 
I received an ARC via Netgalley
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I'm not sure if this is the beginning of a series or not. It certainly has room to grow into one since the large majority of the minor characters are single. I would love to see each and everyone of their stories especially Connor, Denzel, and Allison's. Allison is super scary to everyone at the Thrasher's camp which just completely intrigues me. I predict that she will fall for someone within the camp and start her own PR firm with Gwen. My personal opinion here. I love, love, loved this book and hope and pray that this is the beginning of a series. Every single character whether minor or main characters were fully developed.  

Gwen Scott has been in a rut since her aunt died. She quit hanging out with her friends, bought a new house, and works for Charleston Thrashers baseball team in the PR department. A job that her aunt would have died for since her aunt is/was a die-hard Thrashers fanatic is killing Gwen. She hate it--no loathes it. Her co-workers especially Chad hate baseball. They know very little about the sport unlike Gwen who was spoonfed stats from the moment she arrived on her aunts doorstep. Literally, her aunt used to soothe her to sleep by reading Thrasher's stats to Gwen. Oh, and now she has to take talking points down to the clubhouse and deliver them to Strip the manager who fires and verbally abuses the assistants from PR. He has chased away every one of them. Now, Gwen is that goofer who has to deliver the talking points. She just needs to get in and get out with as little contact with Strip as possible. 

Strip continues to ask her for advice--advice that pays off for him. Allison keeps adding more and more to Gwen including being their mole and getting the players more involved with PR and the club. Somehow, Gwen accomplishes this. The more the season moves forward, the more she loves her job. The more she lusts after their star player.

Tyler Ashe has been alone most of his life. Until Connor. His best friend. They bonded in the foster system. Connor is gone. Now, he has to get along with Connor's replacement, Denzel Reed. He realizes how much he hates going out. The socializing, partying, and womanizing is old. He wants someone special. But he's also worried that he's getting old at 32. The PR gal, Gwen catches his eye. He knows he should stay away, but she understands him. They have so many things in common. Yet, they both know that a relationship is against the club rules. She has more to lose than he does. She reminds him of what it's like to feel love. 

Can they overcome every issue between them?

Will the media ever leave Ty alone?

Can he win Gwen back after he screwed up?
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I thoroughly enjoyed this sports romance, even though I am not a fan of baseball and know almost nothing about it. That in no way stopped me from getting caught up in the story and characters’ experiences. The amount of baseball references was just enough to add to the plot and  not be boring or overwhelming to a complete baseball noob (like me).  

I was really curious how the story will end, with Gwen having to chose between following her heart, which meant trusting a man not exactly known for commitment in his relationship history, and concentrating on a job she was finally starting to enjoy and getting praised for.
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Gwen Scott wants to love her job with the Charleston Thrashers, the MLB team she’s worshiped since she was a kid, but she can’t. Hateful colleagues and mind-numbing work make her days.When I started reading I couldn't put it down.Julianna Keyes is magnifysent and amazing writer.I cannot wait to read more of there books.Keep up the great work.You should definitely read this book.Can't wait for the next book.
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You guys!! Julianna Keyes is my drop everything and devour author. I seriously have read everything she has written and cannot jump on her stuff fast enough. Her Time Served series is my absolute favorite. But when I saw that she had a new sports romance coming out, I knew Team Player needed to be on my kindle stat!! I enjoyed this story but while Gwen and Tyler were sexy and funny, I found that their connection was a little awkward and lukewarm at times.

Don't get me wrong, separately Ty and Gwen were fantastic. They had personality in spades, but together I found their connection to be somewhat lacking at times in the beginning until about halfway through the story where it picked up speed. I loved the detailed baseball references and felt like I was right alongside Ty and Gwen. All in all, while this wasn't my favorite story from this author, I look forward to more from Keyes in the future. Bravo, 3.5 stars! ~Ratula
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Team Player is a classic contemporary sports romance. It's written in third person dual point of view. While that's not my favorite type of narration, it was well done. I almost didn't notice it was third instead. I loved how each chapter started off with a fun Tweet that applied to what was coming up.

There was a lot of stuff going on in this book. Gwen was dealing with her aunt's death and trying to hold onto her job with the Thrashers. Her attraction to Ty wasn't something she was ready to face. Ty wasn't quite ready for Gwen either. His baseball career hasn't been the same since his best friend abandoned him. Despite all of this, they don't want to fight their attraction and start to secretly see each other. The secrecy of their relationship adds a bunch of other things for Gwen and Ty to deal with.

Gwen and Tyler were both similar and completely opposite people. Gwen was quiet and spent a lot of time trying to fly under the radar. Tyler was a cocky athlete who was always in the spotlight. Surprisingly, both of them were loners. Neither had a good support system or friends. I thought that was weird and a little too convenient, but it was one of the things that helped them connect to each other. They had great chemistry. I loved their quiet moments together -- especially how they watched a baking show together.

I think what shocked me most about Team Player was that it wasn't the couple or the romance that was my favorite thing about the book. I loved other stuff more. I thought Gwen and Ty's backstories were really good and important. I wish they had gotten a little more focus. I loved reading about Gwen's relationship with Marge and how it shaped her life -- especially when it came to her job with the Thrashers. The dynamic in Gwen's office was fun and fresh. I loved how smart she was when it came to her job. I adored all of the Thrashers' players. Ty's teammates were hilarious. They made his character feel more "real". I would love books about a couple of them. (Preferably in first person...) 

Overall, Team Player was a fun contemporary sports romance.
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Gwen Scott, rabid baseball fan has got a dream job in PR for her favourite team, the Charleston Thrashers. The only problem is her boss is super-scary, the Thrashers are having an appalling season, her colleagues loathe baseball and she has just been given a hospital pass to deliver the 'talking points' to Rax Stripper, the team's manager - a job that got the last person fired. Luckily Gwen's encyclopaedic knowledge of baseball allows her to make some better suggestions for comments to the press and suddenly she has an in to the team manager.

Tyler Ashe was the star player for the Thrashers until his best friend went to jail, now he can't seem to get a break and everyone is blaming him for the team's poor performance, including the sassy new PR girl who doesn't pull her punches.

Gwen can't believe her childhood pin-up Tyler Ashe is someone she gets to speak to on a regular basis, but she can't allow him to slide out of press conferences or duck his team commitments. As the season progresses teasing and banter turn into flirting and forbidden kisses. But with the team's reputation on the line, can Gwen and Tyler keep their budding romance a secret, especially when an old sex tape from eight years ago threatens to surface?

I recently read another ARC of a sports romance and while I liked it I wasn't blown away, in fact I had almost completely forgotten the book within a few days. This was different, more nuanced characters, more plot, more baseball, more emotions, more heart. In the blurb at the back Julianna Keyes outs herself as a lifelong baseball fan and it really shows.

This had everything, romance, bromance, suspense, humour, sport and I loved it.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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*I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion. 

How incredibly adorable is this book?! It literally has just about everything a sports romance novel should, and I thoroughly enjoyed every page. 

Gwen has had a rough go for the past year. After her aunt died, she needed something to pick up her spirits. So she applied and now works for the one and only professional baseball team that made them both happy. But she’s not exactly liking her job right now. Especially since she’s been asked to do the one job everyone before her has been fired for doing. That is until she goes off script and changes the game. 

Ty is the “star” baseball player. Well, he WAS the star player. Now the team has brought in younger players, his playing time has been cut short and he has to do all of this alone now that his bestie was thrown in jail. This is gonna be a very long season. That is until the new PR worker walks through the doors and challenges everything. 

Did I mention how cute this was?! First of all, let me start by mentioning that I love baseball. So reading a story that details both play by plays AND romance and I’m in heaven. 

I absolutely loved how natural the relationship between Gwen and Ty evolved. It wasn’t a lust at first sight or wham bam, thank you ma’am. It genuinely grew in to a very healthy relationship that of course was tested along the way. Gwen is a strong woman who wasn’t afraid to step outside her comfort zone. Ty is a pro athlete who was reminded that there’s more to life than his profession. 

Is this a series? Geez, I really hope so. I need more of those men in the locker room!!!!
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