Happy... Morning? Evening? Whichever it is, I hope it's a happy one for you. I cannot believe that I'm getting into sports romances. I can't stand sports in real life but put a talented author like Katie Rose in front of me and I'm all for it!
Format: .epub (provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review)
Publisher: Random House - Loveswept
Release Date: January 27, 2015
Nikki Case is no fan of baseball. Her ex gambled away a fortune on the sport, and now her PR firm has tasked her with cleaning up the league’s most notorious bad boys. The New Jersey Sonics are known for wild womanizing and booze-fueled brawls, so Nikki expects the worst. Her first stop in the battle to win hearts and minds is star hitter Jake Baldwin—a legendary ladies man so smokin’ he threatens to melt her tough-girl armor.
Although his teammates prank her without mercy, Jake admires the way Nikki gives as good as she gets. She may be the queen of frost, but there’s kindling beneath those sultry curves—and he’s just the man to ignite it. But when a PR nightmare lands the Sonics in headlines across the country, Nikki is ready to walk. Only then does Jake realize how important she is to the Sonics’ success—and that winning the love of a good woman is no game.
More known for their womanizing and brawls than for the sport they play, the New Jersey Sonics are in desperate need of an image makeover and PR Agent Nikki Case has just landed the job. Too bad she’s not a fan of baseball. To make matters more difficult, Nikki finds herself attracted to star hitter Jake Baldwin, the first member of the team that she needs to “makeover.”
Jake admires Nikki’s backbone, especially as the team pranks her mercilessly. She doesn’t intimidate and she doesn’t back down, except when it comes to her attraction to him. But when the Sonics land in some hot water and end up in the headlines, Nikki is ready to give up on the team and on Jake.
There are certain “Do’s” that will make me fall hard and fast for a fictional athlete and Katie Rose definitely lured me in with the sexy Jake Baldwin! Sure, he had the typical athlete’s arrogance but he also had a generous heart and a wicked sense of humor. I loved how the author made Jake’s profession part of who he was without making it his whole world. It gives sports romance fans what they want in the sports department, without alienating non-sports fans like me.
The same goes for Nikki. She becomes the PR Agent for a sports team, so she’s going to be dealing with a lot of sports realated promo yet the author didn’t go on and on about what she was doing. It was enough to make it real but stopped just before it started to bore me. I do love when female characters take on jobs where they’re working with mostly men, it gives them a chance to become the type of characters I love: Ball busting, strong, independent, give-as-good-as-they-get women. You can keep your wimpy watering pots, I love characters like Nikki who can look a grown man in the eye and tell him to cut his crap and mean it. She knew when to sit back and let the team blow off steam and when to rein them in. She wasn’t controlling but she wasn’t a doormat either. I loved her intelligence and her spirit. If an author is going to write a sports romance, then the heroine had better be able to keep up with the hero and even outdo him. That’s what Nikki did all while still being a woman of strong emotions.
Most of the “game” scenes in Too Hot To Handle were brief or just mentioned on the side because really, this is a romance, not a sports play by play. I appreciated that since my eyes would have glazed over. The main focus was of course on Jake and Nikki’s one step forward and two steps back relationship. It wasn’t an easy fall for Jake, he was a womanizer so he needed plenty of time to get to know Nikki and fall for her. The pace and timing of their relationship felt right and had so much passion, I believed in these two from the beginning.
Too Hot To Handle is one of those few sports romances that can be read and enjoyed by fans of the sub genre as well as those of us who want a passionate romance but don’t care much for sports. I found myself fully engaged in the story and its characters, so much so that I am adding Katie Rose to my list of sports romance authors I’ll read.
Final Verdict: Author Katie Rose has been added to my list of sports romance authors I'll read. She's #3 of 3 which tells you how finicky I can be about those sports romances!