FicCentral received a free copy of this book from Bewitching Book Tours.
Series: Feeling the Heat #3
Publisher: Carina Press on February 10, 2014
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance (Adult)
Life has taught Angie DeMarco that all baseball players are womanizers, and her incredible one-night stand with sexy San Francisco Blaze back-up catcher J.T. Sawyer seemed to prove it. Determined not to give in to their sizzling chemistry a second time, she’s kept her distance ever since, focusing on her accounting job with the team. But now she’s laid off…and pregnant.
J.T. was hurt by Angie’s rejection, but with one more year with the Blaze, he has no time for love. He needs to spend the off season training hard so he can negotiate a better contract with a new team at the end of the year. But when Angie shows up on his doorstep, he‘s overwhelmed by wanting to not just do right by her but pursue a relationship with her. Hoping for a second chance, he proposes.
Angie agrees to marry J.T. on one condition: the marriage will be purely a business arrangement. But as Angie spends time with him and his family, and J.T. neglects his training to spend time with her, what begins as a union in name only slowly grows into something more—something that looks a whole lot like love and friendship.
Angie DeMarco knows better than to get involved with a professional ballplayer. Players on the field tend to be players off the field, a fact she learned far too young thanks to her philandering father. So when she finds herself waking up next to the epitome of a player, she runs. But she can’t run from the consequences.
Finding herself both pregnant and unemployed in short order, she doesn’t have many options, but she’s determined to figure something out. She’s getting no bites on the job application front, unemployment checks won’t cover her expenses, much less the medical care she’ll certainly need for a health pregnancy, and it won’t be long till she’s unable to pay her rent. But that doesn’t mean she has to attach herself to the very man she was hoping to avoid, does it?
J.T. is more than a little stunned to find out he’s going to be a father, but he’s determined to take responsibility and do the right thing. Angie’s not making it easy, though, first refusing his less-than-romantic proposal, and then accepting it — with a no-sex clause. It’s clear she doesn’t trust him, no matter how often he shows her that he’s a good guy who can take care of her. Getting her to fall for him, to give him a real chance with her, is going to take more work than he expected. But he’s pretty sure she’s worth it.
I don’t know if I’d necessarily call them loose ends, but there were several pieces played up in the story that ended on an odd note…if it can really be considered ending. Take Angie’s mother, for instance. Angie’s entire distrust of ballplayers comes from the way her father betrayed her mother, something her mother never lets her forget. And as expected, her mom’s none too thrilled that Angie’s gotten herself knocked up by exactly the kind of man she’s always warned her about. But after her mom plays a big role in the climax of the story, she sort of drops out. There’s just no closure there at all.
And J.T.’s brother…he’s all kinds of suspicious of Angie and gives her one hell of a hard time. But then after the big scene at the bakery, that bit is kind of brushed away in favor of the happily ever after. Did he have a change of heart? See Angie for who she really was? Decide he really wasn’t concerned after all? Fall into a volcano? I have no idea.
I expected a somewhat standard romance, since the book seemed like it was going to go with a very standard plot, but instead I got some pretty good surprises. For one, Angie and J.T. aren’t your typical characters in the got-knocked-up scenario. He’s not a philandering jerk who has to be convinced to settle down and take responsibility, and for all her troubles, Angie isn’t looking for someone to ride in and save her. While J.T.’s just an incredibly good guy, Angie is wary and independent, and it made for a really fun read.
Theirs is a slow journey, with lots of time spent overcoming their hang-ups and looking deeper into the characters. Also a nice change from typical stories in this vein is that they were both just pretty normal people. Their character flaws added to the story instead of going way over the top, and seeing J.T. work so hard to win her over was just heartwarming. I liked him so much that I started getting a bit annoyed with Angie’s reluctance to give him a chance, but when I thought about it, I really couldn’t blame her. After all, it’s easy to get snowed by someone who may not turn out to be who they seem.
It’s a marriage of convenience, of course, and while I obviously expected it to build up into something more, I like the way it was done — nicely paced, a few steamy moments tossed into the mix, and ultimately a sweet happily ever after.