Playing center field for the New York Kings, Jake Woodbury has one of the most prestigious jobs in all of sports. To the world, he’s the good-looking, soft-spoken minister’s son who’s survived celebrity without a hint of scandal. But, inside, he’s reeling from a secret that seems destined to haunt him forever.
Scarlett Moore is one of the biggest pop stars on the planet, famous for singing about her celebrity ex-boyfriends. The CEO of her record label has carefully honed her provocative image since she was fifteen. Sex sells, and Scarlett’s well aware that it takes more than talent to stay on top.
One thing is clear: She’s the last thing Jake needs. And he’s the do-gooder jock she should avoid at all costs. But when the game begins, all bets are off.
“Hey! Where are you going?” Scarlett cries when I hastily start pulling on my clothes. “You can’t leave. Not now. Please, Jake. Don’t run away from me.”
But I don’t stop. I shove one leg into my boxers and then the other before hoisting them up and over my butt. My cheeks burn because I know she’s watching me, and after what we just did, it shouldn’t matter that she’s seeing me naked, but I feel embarrassed all of a sudden. I let her get too close, let her see too much of me. The dark parts, the ugly parts, the parts no one should ever have to see. That’s why I have to get out of here. I don’t know what came over me, spilling my guts to her about things my teammates don’t even know about. I was horny, and I acted on impulse, something I really have to stop doing.
I slide my shirt over my arms, buttoning the cuffs around my wrists, and only now do I begin to breathe a little easier. I always take great care in keeping my tats covered, wearing wristbands out on the field and, for the most part, long-sleeve shirts whenever I’m out of uniform. The guys think it’s because I’m all about presenting a put-together appearance to the world that I’d never be caught dead in anything but my Sunday best.
But on the days I do forgo my usual dress code and don a polo shirt or ratty, old tee, I stack on at least three inches’ worth of charity bracelets on both wrists, showing my support for every cause imaginable, from autistic children to breast cancer survivors, my thick, black crosses hidden beneath a rainbow of colored plastic.
That’s just who everyone expects me to be: the good guy, the one who’s always there for everyone else. But when you’re that guy, it turns out more often than not that no one’s ever there for you. Not even God.
A super good-guy, preacher’s son hottie baseball player and a Taylor-Swift-like pop singer–sounds like a grand slam, right?
There was a lot to like about this one–Jake really is a great guy, giving his all on the field, to his fans, and for those he cares about. Scarlett is a heroine to root for–she’s trying to take her career back from the slime ball who’s been controlling it since she was essentially forced to trade her v-card for stardom, getting out from under his thumb and finally having the chance to play the music she wants to play.
All good things.
What didn’t work as well for me: I didn’t really feel their relationship. It went from zero to about a million in a millisecond; even the bit leading up to the epilogue didn’t feel completely genuine. I also had a hard time with the speed with which Zack went from chastity guy to I need to have sex before every game or I’ll stink up the field man.
Though kudos to him for having super alpha sperm, that’s for sure. I’m still scratching my head over his bizarre relationship with his ex, though. Even after the explanation…
Game Winner is the sixth in the series, but it worked well as a standalone. It’s clear that there’s plenty of backstories with the other couples on the team, but I didn’t feel as if I missed out on anything major not having read them yet.
Rating: 3 stars / C+
I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
ABOUT COLLETTE WEST:
Collette West grew up as somewhat of a jock-nerd hybrid. Entering the world three weeks premature, her dad nearly missed her birth because he had seats behind the dugout for a sold-out, highly-anticipated match-up between two of baseball’s biggest rivals. Not to be outdone, her book-loving mom taught her how to read by the time she was three. A love of the game coupled with an appreciation for the written word were instilled in Collette’s impressionable brain from a young age. No wonder her characters believe in the philosophy: sports + romance = a little slice of heaven.
Splitting her time between the Pocono Mountains and Manhattan, Collette indulges her inner fangirl by going to as many games as she can from hockey to baseball and downloading every sports romance novel in existence onto her iPad. When she’s not clicking away on her laptop, she enjoys walking her dog in Central Park, satisfying her caffeine craving at the Starbucks on Broadway and keeping an eye out for Mr. Right. But above all, she loves dishing with her readers. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
She is the author of the New York Kings series which includes: NIGHT GAMES, GAME CHANGER, GAME ON, PERFECT GAME, INSIDE GAME and GAME WINNER.