Back in the Game
1, Stardust, Texas - A Stardust, Texas Novel
This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.
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.
Fun & Different
Breeanne is tired of being the one that everyone's so careful with, the one cautiously walking through life instead of running with abandon, the one who still lives with her parents and can't seem to get her writing career off the ground. So when she hears that baseball star and local celebrity Rowdy Blanton is looking to hire a ghostwriter, she's all in.
But... Cheetah print is never acceptable. Never. Also, I now realize there should be a limit on how many vowels are allowed in a name.
Judging Covers: I really like this cover. Well, the big yellow stripe on the side is a little odd, but the composition of the picture is just perfect. I hadn't even planned on requesting a book, but my eyes kept going back to this cover.
The Verdict: First off, I should say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. There were lots of really funny and sweet moments throughout, but at the same time, I'm not sure what to think of it. While still a great read, the plot heads off in several directions, only one of which is thoroughly explored.
First there's the fantasy element. Breeanne sees what appears to be a hope chest at an estate sale, and a creepy old woman nearby drives a hard bargain to sell it to her. The chest has some cryptic notes and several locks but no key. And when Breeanne tries to point out to her sisters the woman who sold her the chest, the woman has vanished. Or maybe she didn't exist in the first place. And then a few days later a mysterious old woman just happens to drop off a key that fits just one of the locks. Unfortunately, that key opens the compartment that contains a fashion crime — a cheetah print scarf — and while Breeanne thinks it's the softest material in the universe, everyone else who touches it finds as silky as burlap. Except Rowdy. Because it's (hideous) magic.
Then there's the romance. This was clearly the strongest theme, based around Breeanne, who has led a sheltered life filled with surgeries and isolation, and Rowdy, who made a name for himself in baseball but may have lost everything if he can't recover from an injury. She's not overly self-conscious of her scars, but she's well aware that her life has been very different from others, and she's not showing them off. Rowdy is a bit lost and angry that his career may be ruined, but he keeps his cool around most people and plays up his local celebrity status to hide how directionless he is.
Then there's the conspiracy/mystery/crime element, since Rowdy didn't injure himself in a game or training; he was attacked by some unknown man with snake tattoo, and his attacker has never been found. Until he ties the attacker to the team manager. Who hates him. And then signs his brother to screw with Rowdy even more. And there might be some doping going on. And Mr. Mean Team Manager is afraid Rowdy will spill the beans in his new autobiography, so of course there's more suspense to be had.
Rowdy hires Breeanne, a struggling author, to ghostwrite his story, and in their spending time with each other to records the details of his life for the book, they get to know each other pretty well. Breeanne is rather plain and nothing like the women who normally surround him, but that seems to be the draw. As their love story unfolds, she tries to seduce him, so she can experience the things most women her age already know well, and they begin to blur the lines between friendship and more. Through it all, you can't help but like the characters, their refusal to fall into any one category of person, their utterly human traits and genuine caring for each other.
Along the way, the fantasy element rears its head from time to time, as does the suspense bit, and it culminates in what appears to be a betrayal. Rowdy gets past it in a way that's altogether atypical for romances, and while I felt that was completely unrealistic, it led to a very sweet happy ending.
The story itself was a lot of fun, and I loved both the main and secondary characters. However, despite the neat wrap-up and the introduction to happily ever after, I'm not sure I was entirely convinced. I liked it, and it was a fun read, but that hideous scarf really didn't belong in the story. It was enough that the Breeanne and Rowdy defined opposites attracting and that they faced the conspiratorial threat to his career, and I'm sure the series could be tied together by the town. There really wasn't a need for the oddly placed element of magic.
***FicCentral received this book from Harper Collins (via Edelweiss) for free in exchange for an honest review.
Not my favorite Lori Wilde book
I have always enjoyed this author's work. While this book is well written, the story was a little juvenile to me. Reads more like a YoungAdult novel. This book was good, just not what I expected.
A Great Start to a New Series
A great start to a new series by Lori Wilde, I absolutely loved this book. The perfect story to get you into the mood for baseball season. Loved how Lori, added the element of magic to the romance.
Rowdy, ex pitcher, is looking for a ghost writer to write his autobiography. It just so happens, Breeanne is looking to write a book. An added bonus is that she has has a love for baseball. Breeanne has led a sheltered life, due to medical problems but is now ready to fly her wings in the romance department even if it for one night.
I highly recommend this book and looking forward to many more books in this series.