Delay of Game by Catherine Gayle
Series: Portland Storm #4
Publisher: Night Shift Publishing on August 15, 2014
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance (Adult)
With her father’s health in question, Sara Thomas is focused on reducing his anxiety. That’s no small feat considering his high-stress job, not to mention her own distractions. Everyone knows Sara’s single; no one knows she’s pregnant. There’s never a good time to unexpectedly get knocked up, but now is definitely not it. Regardless, she doesn’t want anyone to know—especially not her father—until she has a game plan in place. But when Jonny, one of her father’s players, seeks vigilante justice on the ice, everything gets tossed out the window.
Cam Johnson’s role as a fourth-line winger with the NHL’s Portland Storm entails more than scoring goals. He has to ensure other teams don’t take liberties with the Storm’s star players. The way Cam sees it, that’s the most important aspect of his job. His teammates call him Jonny; opposing fans call him a goon; the media calls him an enforcer. The title’s unimportant. Cam will always fight for his team—even if he has to break the rules. He’s used to taking penalties, but he never meant for anyone else to suffer from his choices.
When Cam’s actions cause Sara’s worst fears to be realized, he blames himself. He’s screwed everything up; now he has to set things right. Mutual attraction leads to lust, and suddenly Cam is taking penalties at every turn…at least where Sara is concerned. He’s got to think on his feet or he’ll end up with a Delay of Game.
This book includes mature subject matter that may not be appropriate for readers under the age of 18.
Sara has always been the one to take care of her father, both when she was a child and now that she’s grown and working as his personal assistant. Now that his health is in some trouble, keeping him stress-free and eating right is more important than ever. So how is she supposed to tell him that she’s pregnant from a one night stand? And that she’s been going out with one of his players?
While I frequently wanted to slap Sara upside the head and point out just how perfect Cam was for her, it was still a great read.
Sara’s love for her father is probably what made the most sense to me. Having been abandoned by her mother when she was just a kid, it’s always been her and her dad against the world, so to speak. However, that abandonment led to her being unable to grow any lasting relationships, whether it came to friends or boyfriends, and until now, she’s been okay with that. But then a one-night stand proved that birth control isn’t always effective, and somehow she’s got to accept and deal with being pregnant at a time that her dad really can’t handle anymore stress.
Cam is used to being alone. It’s not that he’s averse to socializing or relationships, but he’s been putting his mom and his sisters first for so long that he really hasn’t made any time for himself. He cares about the guys on the team with him, though, and he takes his career seriously. He also takes seriously the sexy shoes his coach’s daughter and personal assistant is always wearing. When a game gets out of hand and sends their coach to the hospital with a “heart event”, Cam’s first thought — other than to blame himself — is for Sara. He doesn’t leave her side while she falls apart over her father, and he makes sure he’s there for her afterward.
I was a little surprised at how quickly their relationship progressed, but given how broken down Sara was under the circumstances, it’s no wonder she was looking for some comfort. More surprising, though, in the best way, was Cam’s reaction to her pregnancy. It wasn’t a reaction at all, really, unless you count his wanting to beat the hell out of whatever guy he imagined knocked her up and left her to deal with the consequences. That bit there was the beginning of only about a million ways Cam showed that he loved Sara for who she was rather than whatever idea he might have had of her.
Sara, though, was resistant to the extreme. While she had no problem developing a physical relationship, she wasn’t willing to let down her guard enough to depend on him, and that tended to drive me a bit nuts. It also meant that nearly every other thing Cam did was incredibly sweet and selfless, and after a while I started wondering when Sara was finally going to open her eyes and see it. I kind of wish she’d given in just a little earlier on, so he wouldn’t have had to play the role of white knight quite so completely. But I guess that just does to show that she was messed up from her mom, and he was a better man than she ever could have hoped for.
While Delay of Game, like the other books in the series, had a character who was dealing with issues from her past, it was a much lighter read than how the series started out, and I think that’s went a long way toward my enjoying it more. Don’t get me wrong; the other books had some light moments and some great happily ever afters, but this one was just lighter all around. Even with Scotty in the hospital and Sara pregnant and Cam desperate to prove to her that he would never leave her, it managed to be a bit fluffier than its predecessors, so it’s a nice uptick in what is turning out to be a pretty great sports romance series.