Friday, February 6, 2015

review || TOO HOT TO HANDLE { blog tour }


Too Hot to Handle by Katie Rose

Series: Boys of Summer, book
Genre: Sports Romance
Purchase links || amazon | bn || add to goodreads

Rating: ★★

Nikki Case is no fan of baseball. Her ex gambled away a fortune on the sport, and now her PR firm has tasked her with cleaning up the league’s most notorious bad boys. The New Jersey Sonics are known for wild womanizing and booze-fueled brawls, so Nikki expects the worst. Her first stop in the battle to win hearts and minds is star hitter Jake Baldwin—a legendary ladies man so smokin’ he threatens to melt her tough-girl armor.

Although his teammates prank her without mercy, Jake admires the way Nikki gives as good as she gets. She may be the queen of frost, but there’s kindling beneath those sultry curves—and he’s just the man to ignite it. But when a PR nightmare lands the Sonics in headlines across the country, Nikki is ready to walk. Only then does Jake realize how important she is to the Sonics’ success—and that winning the love of a good woman is no game.

{ excerpt } .

“We are going to start with your appearance. Beginning tomorrow, I want to see everyone’s hair cut, nails trimmed, and all of you wearing clean uniforms.” She looked pointedly at Chase’s grass-stained trousers. “No more beards or mustaches. No ink. Like the Yankees, we’re here to project a picture of ourselves as the All-American team. And if you have tattoos and don’t want to have them removed, you’re going to have to wear long-sleeved shirts.”

“What?” It was out of Chase’s mouth immediately. He and Ryan exchanged another disbelieving glance. “For Christ’s sake, we’re playing ball here. Not serving cocktails at the Ritz-Carlton.”

A handful of players laughed, but Ryan wisely kept his thoughts to himself. Pete cracked his gum, and then met Chase’s stare with a firm one of his own.

“You’re dismissed for today.”
When Chase’s mouth dropped, Pete looked at the rest of the players. “Anyone else?”
 The silence was deafening. The players were positively stunned to see their star pitcher tossed out of the game like a misbehaving kindergartner. Chase stormed off the field while the head coach signaled to Jimmy Reilly. As the backup pitcher jogged onto the mound, Pete glanced at the men.
“Where’s Jake?” The head coach looked to the catcher.
“Not here yet.” Cody kept his tone respectful.

“Tell him he’s benched when he shows up. That is something else that’s going to change. No more missing practice, no more lateness, no more lackadaisical play. All of you, each and every one of you, better be prepared to give it your all or find another game.” Pete turned on his heel and walked out of the blazing sunlight into the shaded dugout.

 Jake sauntered into the dugout an hour later, arriving fashionably late. He didn’t bother to even try to conceal his fatigue as he joined his teammates on the bench, stretching out his legs to watch the warm-up.
 “Tough night?” Brian McCauley asked, rubbing the dirt off his hands onto his pants.

“Yep.” Jake tried to speak mid-yawn. “Met a hot girl in Tampa. Had more stamina than I would’ve given her credit for.” His eyes twinkled at the memory.

 “Must be nice to get any girl you want anytime you want,” Brian said enviously, twisting the wedding ring that suddenly seemed to dig into his finger.
“I wouldn’t say I could get any girl,” Jake drawled, obviously pleased with himself. “Just the ones I go after.”
{ review } .
I love my baseball romances. Really, I love sport romances. I love watching these players (pun intended) fall for one woman and realize they're actually one-woman kind of guys. I'll take any sport romance, but my favorites are by far hockey and baseball.
It's been a minute since I've found a great baseball romance...
....but here it is!
Not since my favorite Richmond Rougues story, Kate Angell's SLIDING HOME {amazon}, or Jill Shalvis's SLOW HEAT {amazon}, have I been so engrossed in the story -- and thank goodness my TOO HOT TO HANDLE is in ebook format, because both of my paperback copies of the above books are in (literal) shambles; I'm pretty sure SLIDING HOME is missing about 30 pages because chunks fall out -- I've read it so much that the binding is no longer in tact (and the only other book that is like that of mine, is Nicholas Sparks' THE RESCUE {amazon}, of which I own 3 copies).
These two... my goodness, gracious, these two.
The Sonics have a bad image, so the team hires PR guru Nikki Case to clean up their image. The guys, needless to say, are less than thrilled. The team is out to prank the buttoned up girl, and one of the things they want to do is have Jake go after her -- see above excerpt. When Jake says he can get any girl, the team wagers that he can't get Nikki Case.
So he takes the bet. Granted, he's attracted to her but... a bet's a bet.
However, Nikki finds a bit of an ally in Jake; he warns her that if she changes too many things, the guys are going to push back. He's also always there to help pick up the pieces. And when the team decides to do a semi-mean prank on her? Well, Jake has come to understand Nikki and knows that she's going to see this one as some sort of betrayal... so he goes and tries to fix it.
What I like about Jake, and about the story, is it's almost as if he forgets about the bet. Reading the story, you forget about the bet because Jake is so enamoured with Nikki. When they first kiss, he is the one that senses something is off. I found it odd, and endearing, that he cared that Nikki wasn't completely there, and that he wanted her to be kissing him and not just in a random moment.
There's another time, shortly into their 'relationship', that Nikki is incredibly nervous around him and starts to talk shop -- Jake calmly puts his hand on her clipboard and tells her to stop, that he missed her -- and the thing is, it's true.
Although he'd only known her a couple of months, the thought of her disappearing from his life made him feel as if someone had punched a hold in his stomach.
Does he do things wrong? Absolutely. He's a baseball player and a man at that. But he's still pretty great.
So where I wasn't a big fan of Darcy and Chase's story (but am a huge fan of them as a couple), I am a huge fan of this couple and their story. I can't wait to see glimpses of them in future books!

1 comment:

  1. You are so my kind of reader...I LOVE the Richmond Rogues and SLOW BURN..and the second one Shalvis did as well.....Thanks for hosting!