Thrown by a Curve (Play by Play #5)
by Jaci Burton
by Jaci Burton
Publication date: 5 March 2013 by Berkley Publishing
Category: Adult Contemporary Romance
Keywords: Romance, sports
Format: Paperback, eBook
Garrett Scott is facing the biggest challenge to his career - a shoulder injury that isn't healing and the potential that his career as a pitcher for the St. Louis Rivers baseball team is over. Alicia Riley, Sport Medicine Specialist, has finally gotten her dream job working for the St. Louis Rivers. When she boldly speaks her mind about what is holding Scott back from making progress with his shoulder therapy, she suddenly finds herself in charge of his rehab. Both Garrett and Alicia have a lot riding on this, throw in some dynamic chemistry between the two and readers will find things heating up quickly.
*This review may contain spoilers for previous books in the series.*
A few months ago I was on a search for a romance series for my sister. Though I tend to prefer Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance, my sister won't open it if there is a vampire, werewolf, or other supernatural creature hiding between the pages. So, I decided that maybe sports would be a better option. After perusing various titles, I elected to give Jaci Burton's Play by Play series beginning with The Perfect Play a try if for no other reason than it has a great cover. Before I knew it, I had managed to read the first four books in about a week and pre-ordered Thrown by a Curve (Book #5). Apparently, I'm hooked.
The Play by Play series is primarily set in St. Louis with a fictional football, baseball, and hockey team. The first three books (The Perfect Play, Changing the Game, and Taking a Shot) feature the Riley siblings Mick, Gavin, and younger sister Jenna. In Playing to Win, we are introduced to their cousins, Cole and Alicia. Thrown by a Curve (Alicia's & Garrett's story) picks up a several months after the end of Playing to Win (Cole's & Savannah's story).
After reading the excerpt for Thrown by a Curve, I had been eagerly anticipating this book. I started the e-book on the morning of release day and finished it basically in one sitting after I got home from work. The heroine, Alicia, and hero, Garrett, had great chemistry together and I eagerly anticipated the hot, sexy scenes that made for a great romance story.
Of course, there are a few things I have come to expect from a Burton novel. It seems that there is always some forbidden aspect or reason why the heroine of the book shouldn't be with the hero. In Thrown by a Curve, Alicia is Garrett's therapist (Sports Medicine) and she struggles repeatedly with knowing that she shouldn't be having a personal relationship with Garrett while she is working professionally with him. This is one of those mixed things for me. Whereas, I know that this makes for great tension between the main characters, in real life, it would annoy me. I find as I read the story that the heroine's guilt and conflict over her unprofessional behavior towards her client does produce a few eye rolls from me. However, I typically love the chemistry between Burton's couples and continue reading despite the eye rolls.
The other aspect that I know will happen at some point in the story, usually towards the end, is that the hero will do something to emotionally hurt the heroine. It is never something so terrible but you will recognize it when it happens. With Thrown by a Curve, I found myself trying to guess what it would be and when it would happen. It didn't make the story any less enjoyable for me, but I just knew it was coming.
Another thing I love about Burton's Play by Play series is the way the author includes the other characters from the earlier books into the newest book. Readers get updates on Mick and Tara, Gavin and Liz, Jenna and Tyler, and of course, Cole and Savannah. The updates and the integrating the characters from previous books provides readers with a sense that they are coming home to friends that they love spending time with. As a result, it is best to read this series in order.
As with the previous books, Burton provides us with a brief introduction to one of the characters that will be featured in the next book. The sixth Play by Play book, One Sweet Ride, will feature Gray Preston. Preston is Garrett's college roommate and a hot shot race car driver. There is an excerpt from One Sweet Ride at the end of Thrown by a Curve. Though the series will be moving away from St. Louis and the Riley clan, I am hoping Burton continues to provide readers with the updates that I have come to love so much. If you are looking for a fun and somewhat addicting sports romance series, then I would seriously recommend Burton's Play by Play books.
Visit the author online at www.jaciburton.com and follow her on Twitter @jaciburton and facebook https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJaciBurton
Olivia is the psueduonym of a good friend of Nite Lite's. Liv prefers to remain somewhat mysterious, hence the psuedonym. She will be reviewing some juicy romances for us on occasion, and we hope you will give her a very warm welcome. Welcome, Liv!