Monday, April 22, 2013


Liza and Cole knew each other as kids at her father’s baseball camp for underprivileged children. Her father and mother are now part owners of the Orioles, a team he’d hoped to play for after he graduated. Now, he’s a hunky famous baseball player for the Nationals and she wins a date with him at a charity auction. His renewed association with her comes at an opportune time, according to his sports agent, Frank. Cole’s up for a new contract and team management isn’t pleased with his recent publicized flings. Wholesome and pretty, Liza is just the type of woman that Frank would have chosen to show Cole as settling down with to ease the worries of the team.

After the death of her fiancé, Liza isn’t interested in getting into a relationship. The only reason she won the date is that her mother bid on her behalf. She enjoys their date, but the end of it is unsettling it with the appearance of reporters, saying they heard he’s considering settling down with Liza and his demonstrating how he’d propose. Spooked, the next day, she focuses on a dilemma at work. Part of the team who manages the foundation that sponsors the camps, she’s responsible for meeting a quota in the amount of donations she obtains and she’s running out of time, nowhere near the amount she needs. Frank approaches her and offers to make a half million dollar donation if she dates Cole for two months and doesn’t fall for him. Per the terms of the agreement (for which he presents a written contract), she has to be herself and there are to be “no shenanigans.” She initially declines, but then thinks about it as being an opportunity to spend time with Cole and there being no risk of her falling for him because of her devotion to her deceased fiancé. Then she thinks about the boys who would benefit from her organization’s program, who would get a chance to pursue their dream of playing baseball. Then she signs the agreement.

The readers are treated to a ringside seat (page-side seat?) of the relationship. We see an incredibly imaginative and fun date (their Baseball Pie War), a kiss that throws Liza’s world careening, and an incredibly sweet tweet (A girl without freckles is like a night without stars. Wish you were here…). Then, of course, there’s the speed bump of a tweet to Cole by an ex-fling that almost throws a monkey wrench into things. They make it past that pseudo-obstacle and sleep together. I mean really sleep together. Liza admits she’s not ready and Cole respects that (making me fall a little in love with him myself). Their relationship progresses and, with Cole’s help, Liza overcomes internal barriers to their romance. Both of their teams, the Orioles and the Nationals, make it to the World Series. During the seventh inning stretch, there’s a super-surprising proposal and Liza’s on top of the world. Then it comes crashing down when she overhears Frank and Cole talking after the game and finds out why he started dating her. She returns the ring and goes home, crushed. A heart-to-heart with her best friend, Paige, and an intervention by the people who love her bring the two of them back together again.

As I revealed in a prior review, I’m a sucker for a happy ending. I had tears in my eyes at the end of this one.

The character development was on point. We find out about Cole’s background and how he got where his is now. Events in the story lead to a revelation concerning him that was an utter surprise to him. (I was floored by it too. I didn’t see that coming at all.) A memorable injection of something I found comedic in the book was in this scene and it made me snort a little. Sorry, it’s a spoiler, so don’t read the next few lines if you don’t want the secret revealed.

Cole had been relieved he hadn’t been conceived in a casino hotel room, only to find out it happened in a car in a rickety abandoned barn. “What kind of car was it?” he asked.
Frank smiled a little. “A red eight-banger Ford Mustang.”
At least there was that.

Through her conversations with Paige and Cole, we see Liza’s opening herself to love again, accepting the loss of her fiancé, Wes. The other characters were also developed and intriguing. I’d love to see a story about Paige. (Hint, hint, Ms. March. J)

I give this read five stars and recommend it to anyone who likes a solid story line with a happily ever after.

Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book from the author for review. No compensation was received, financial or otherwise.

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