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This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Maggie Jameson grew up knowing that she would run the New York Saints one day. She's been preparing for that since childhood and has just finished up a degree tailored towards that goal. The she gets thrown for a loop when she learns that her dad has sold the Saints. She's furious and has no problem telling Alex Winters, the new owner, that in person. How could this happen? The Saints are her life, baseball is her life, and she's a bit lost without it. Alex, on the other hand, knows he needs Maggie's help. He bought the Saints knowing he'd need her help to win the guys on the team over. No one can say no to the great Saint Maggie. But instead of a complacent girl, he finds a fiery spirit who is determined to show Alex just how angry she is. The big problem, besides the obvious? They are both hot as hell for each other and fighting it gets continually harder. But dating is a bad idea, right? The longer they spend in each other's company, the more they question that. Can they make this crazy thing work? Or will the baseball deal and Maggie's ire get in the way?
Maggie was that character you sympathize with instantly. How can you not? Her dream is literally taken right out from under her with no warning what-so-ever. She has just gotten finished with her college degree and her dreams are set, then just like that, the team is gone. Alex offers her a job, but she's in no mood to tolerate him. He actually makes a good offer, but she was supposed to be CEO, the shot-caller and that's not going to happen now. This sends her in a bit of a tail-spin. What's she going to do now? All she ever wanted was to work for the Saints. That's it. There was no back-burner plan or other forgotten dreams. I think she takes it a damn sight better than I would have. I would have spent a month hiding in my apartment, not just a day or two. I'd have cried and cried and cried some more and buried my problems in great ice cream and even better fictional worlds. Not Maggie, though, she bravely faces the world and tries to figure out what to do next. That decision would have been a bit easier if Alex wasn't so damned <s>pretty</s> attractive. He is smart and charming and he gets to Maggie no matter how hard she tries to fight it. After she agrees to work for him, she is even more certain that sleeping with the boss is a bad idea. It is, right? There is no way they could make that work....no matter how much she wants to, right?
Alex was a character I was unsure about to start out with. This is the man that ruthlessly yanks Maggie's dreams away. We have to hate him, right? But he quickly wins you over. He's witty and charming and just plain fun. Not to mention he's smart as hell. You don't get to where he is without a hell of a lot of brain power. Plus, he's head-over-heels for Maggie and it's obvious before even he knows it. I love a guy who is totally smitten with the heroine. That guy who'll go far out of his way to make sure she's cared for, but who doesn't compromise on what he needs. I also can't help but love a guy who tells it like it is. There is more than one scene where he says something that he knows Maggie won't want to hear, but he says it anyway. Cold hard truth over candy-coated lies.
I'll admit that I love the story line that starts off as hate and then turns into love. It's a fine line or so they say. Watching Maggie become so irritated at Alex was amusing as hell and a bit endearing. Watching that morph into unwilling attraction and then possibly more? Even better. It's the type of story you can't help falling in love with. The writing is great. The smut is just the right level of smutty, if that makes sense. It's not over the top like in erotica or some of the worse new adults, but it's not quite as understated as in young adult. I think most contemporary romances are, but it's been so long since I read one that I honestly don't remember. Either way, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. I used any possible excuse to fire up my Audible app just to get a few more minutes in. Just one more hour....two....three....damn, am I done already?
This was narrated by Eileen Stevens, who I wasn't the biggest fan of. She also does the narration of Wilde's Army and Wilde's Meadow by Krystal Wade and I didn't particularly care for her when I listened to those. Here, however, she is excellent. I think this is proof that sometimes even a skilled reader can't improve a poor story. So, not to self, make sure to never judge the narrator of a poor story too harshly because there is only so much they can do. ANYWAY, she handles this perfectly, seamlessly switching between the male and female perspectives and always making it obvious which character is speaking. She makes a point to differentiate speakers and, trust me, that makes all the difference in the world. When you read a book, it's always obvious who is speaking, but when you lose the punctuation marks, it because tricky sometimes to know when a sentence ends and things can run together with bad narrators. None of that here! Eileen does a wonderful job and I'll keep my eyes open for more of her work.
****Thank you to Esther Bochner at Audible for providing me with an audio in exchange for an honest review****