Title: Playing Hard
Author: Melanie Scott
My Rating: A-
Genre: Sports Romance
Series: New York Saints #4
Main Characters: Oliver and Amelia
Release Date: February 2015
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot
Baseball fanatic Oliver Shields has had his eye on the ball since he was a kid. Playing for the New York Saints is a dream come true, and making the play-offs is a reason to celebrate years of dedicated field work and batting practice. The season isn't over yet, but meeting gorgeous Amelia Graham seems like a bonus grand slam—until one night of partying threatens to take Oliver out of the game for good…
UNTIL SHE THROWS HIM A CURVEBALL…
All work and no play has always been Amelia's motto, earning her a coveted job on Wall Street job and the professional clout she's always longed for. Oliver is a real player—in more ways than one—and a distraction she doesn't need, especially given her dating record. When flirtation turns to attraction so fierce neither one of them can say good-bye, will Oliver and Amelia step up to the plate—and give love a chance?
I was so excited when I saw this book on my review site. I loved the first three books in the New York Saints series and had no idea that the series would be moving past the initial trilogy about the three owners of the team. YES!! It is...and there's another one after this, too. I love that.
And, yes, this one is about Oliver. Oliver is Maggie's best friend (she was the heroine in book #1 of the series.) Once upon a time they dated and he always kind of thought they would end up together, but then she fell for the new owner of the baseball team and he was out. That all happened in a previous book, but I've always had a soft spot for Ollie. He's just such a nice guy. In this book he meets, Amelia....but it's not as easy as all that.
See when Amelia met Oliver, she was at the Saints party with her pseudo-brother, Finn. Finn is the backup 1st baseman. He's backup to Oliver. Finn has just been traded to the team. He's young, brash, and cocky...and all about taking Oliver's spot as the starter...and he's not afraid to let Oliver know it. Through a series of circumstances, the two end up in a car wreck. Finn has a concussion, but Oliver is in much more serious condition...a totally messed up catching hand and a screwed up ankle. He's out of baseball for the season, maybe for life.
And it's after this life changing that Oliver and Amelia really start to connect, but Finn's having enough issues. She doesn't want to throw this relationship in his face on top of everything else.
I loved this story. Oliver is in such a rotten place right now. For the first time in the 15 years since he's played for the Saints, they are in the playoffs and he's missing it. It's not a good time, but Amelia ends up being his distraction and so much more. I love that they played Friends with Words at first to pass the time. I loved how she could cheer him up and read his moods, even his grumpy ones even though they don't know each other all that well.
Amelia is an extremely stressed economist that works at a high-pressured job on Wall Street, but she MAKES time to be with Oliver. For the first time in her career, she leaves work a tiny bit earlier. She's still climbing the ladder at her job whereas Oliver is facing possible retirement. They are at very different places, but they still managed to make it work. I love how Maggie played into all that too...just brilliant.
I always enjoy sports romances because they are simply fun entertainment. This whole series falls under that heading. I've loved every book in the series so far and can't wait to read more. Each book tells the story of a new couple, so while the other couples make appearances, it's very easy to read each book as it's own stand-alone. You don't have to read the entire series, but after reading one, I bet you'll want to. And all the covers are scrumptious!
I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.