Series: , Texas #1
Published by Avon Books
Publication Date: February 24th, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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New York Times bestselling author Lori Wilde welcomes you to Stardust, Texas . . . where dreams come true and love is always right around the corner
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.
The old boy sat on his haunches, tail wagging, staring at Rowdy with love and concern shining in his big brown eyes.
At the sight of his bloodhound, the throbbing ebbed, his stomach settled and a helpless smile overtook his face. He scooted onto his side, and patted a spot beside him.
It took the bloodhound a minute to position his aging legs, but he managed the short hop onto the lounger. Rowdy wrapped his arms around his dog, hugged him tight, buried his nose in Nolan’s fur, and for one brief moment felt no pain.
He closed his eyes. Drifted back to sleep.
Found baseball again. Found the lost dream. Touched peace.
The seventh inning stretch. Blue skies. Balmy weather. “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” Hot dogs. Roasted peanuts. Beer. Pretzels. Dot Races. The familiar feel of a leather glove against his right palm, the ball weighted in his left hand. Two hundred and sixteen stitches on a Major League baseball sewn in red cotton thread.
This was his whole world. His life. The ball. The diamond. The game.
A crack of the bat.
So went the duel between pitcher and batter. The declarative noise he both loved and hated.
The batter knocking his left-handed screwball back at him. Line drive? Pop up fly? Foul ball? Home run?
He looked up, following the ball, but the blue skies disappeared, replaced mysteriously by velvet night.
Neon lights spiked the darkness. A woman’s perfume scented his collar. Loud music vibrated the ground. Distant laughter. A Dumpster. The fetid stench of garbage seized his nose. He was on the ground. Fetal position. Right arm held defensively over his face. Left arm separated from his shoulder at the socket, hanging useless at his side.
Pain. Electric. Stunning. Shiny. Blue-white. Razor-toothed. Relentless. So much goddamn pain.
A man stood over him. Fierce. Swarthy. Extravagantly muscled. Thick black hair. Pit-of-hell black eyes. Flaring nostrils. The tattoo of a striking cobra inked on his right forearm. Louisville Slugger cocked over his shoulder. With each swing of the bat the snake undulated in the yellow glow of the alley security lamp.
His attacker yelling with every whack, again, and again, “Stay away from my wife!”
A crack of the bat.
A crush of bone.
And life as he knew it was over.
Welcome to Stardust, Texas where it’s all about baseball, romance and family, with a little bit of magic sprinkled on top!
Breeanne Carlyle has been sheltered and coddled all her life, unable to participate due to major health issues but with a clean bill of health, she is ready to live her dreams. At the top of the list is her writing career and the perfect opportunity arrives in the form of ghostwriting an autobiography for Stardust’s famous son and star baseball pitcher, Rowdy Blanton. Rowdy is back home recovering from a career-threatening injury and taking a breather from the machinations of his team management.
Breeanne may be a plain Jane in looks, but her spunky, fun personality and zest for life eclipses her looks. Rowdy has depths that he keeps hidden underneath his charming smiles and teasing comments. Their mutual attraction intensifies as they spend together and get to know each other. Secrets and fears are shared, blackmail plots and intrigues come to light and bonds are tested.
I really enjoyed reading Breeanne and Rowdy’s story and loved Breeanne’s creative cursing. I also loved her supportive family and look forward to her sisters’ stories. The inclusion of the magical elements of the hope chest and the wishes puts what could have been a run-of-the-mill romance over the top. BACK IN THE GAME is a perfect and sweet small-town romance.
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.