Reviewed: October 31, 2010
Genre: Sports Romance
Series: Richmond Rogues, Book 2
Rating: 4 Stars
Length: 292 Pages
Formats: Mass Market Paperback, Kindle, Nook
The Richmond Rogues baseball team is getting ready for the season, but a brawl between teammates during the organization's Media Day event paints a very unpleasant picture of team chemistry and personnel issues. Instigated by Cody "Psycho" McMillan - though he blames pitcher Chris "Wimbledon" Collier - and backed up by his two musketeers, Chase "Chaser" Tallan and Jesse "Romeo" Bellisaro, the melee injures thirteen people and earns the three men an equally painful thirteen day suspension.
For the Bat Pack, the group nickname for Psycho, Romeo, and Chaser, best friends and the team's heavy hitters, thirteen games at the beginning of a potential World Series season is untenable, unthinkable, and unfortunately...unalterable. They'll be lucky if they don't go crazy before their suspension is up...though it's a pretty short trip for Psycho.
Their punishment - as hated as it is - at least forces them to fill their time in other ways. Psycho has been pushed to renovate his dilapidated colonial home by one skinny but wily, down on her luck and blatantly untruthful interior designer, Keely Douglas. Romeo, ordered to make restitution to female sports reporter Emerson Kent, practically trips over his tongue the first time the reporter smiles at him, but for the first time in his life a woman is not only not throwing herself at his feet and begging all manner of naughty delight, but is actually disdainful and completely disinterested in him. And wooing her to his fan base is going to take some time. Chaser spends some of his free time hanging out with his best friend and life-long next door neighbor, Jen Reid. She's been back in town after giving up a rising career in New York City as a ballerina when her father got sick. Now that he's gone, she owns and runs several concession stands in the Rogue's stadium. They've been buddies forever, but one turned head...one fateful lean in...and their lips accidentally brushed for the first time since they were teens. And suddenly friendship is a lot hotter than it used to be.
Angell's second in the Richmond Rogues series brings a delightful sports triple header romance with a team's worth of charming and endearing characters and a plethora of pleasure reading. We first met the Bat Pack in the first of the series, Squeeze Play (Richmond Rogues, Book 1), and their quirks and egos were nifty treats that aided that book. Now, about five years later, they're hungry for another World Series win and the suspension affects them all. Their playboy reputations are well earned, but it's three women who catch their attention and hold it as they struggle with warming the bench. Three unique women who draw the men like moths to their flame. Watching the Pack fall away from their womanizing ways was a lot of fun.
Definitely a light romance, there's little depth to this fun book, and none of the three relationship pairings get a lot of page time. I didn't count pages, but was left with the impression that Romeo and Emerson's relationship had the most room to develop, with Psycho and Keely a close second. Childhood chums Chaser and Jen were very perfunctorily developed, but their history allowed for that to be more of a feel good short short that still felt complete. I credit Angell for that.
As I said in my review of Squeeze Play, I'm not at all a fan of baseball. While there is more baseball in Curveball than in that first book, it didn't detract from the fun of the romances for me. There's little to complain about, but there's also little to discuss. The strength of the book is the appeal of the characters, and these guys have a lot of appeal. So do their women. I was charmed by feisty Keely and composed Emerson, and Jen seemed perfect for Chaser.
If you don't fret the details and enjoy light sports romances with some comedy, some sexy heat, some sweet poignancy, and even some tender moments, then I can't recommend any better than the Richmond Rogues. Points for seeing Risk and Jacy from Squeeze Play. I love catching up with characters from previous books in the series to see how their HEA is working out for them and I wasn't disappointed here.
I'll be continuing the series with Strike Zone (Richmond Rogues, Book 3) - and have to admit, I'm surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. It's flat out light fun. Not, of course, that I wouldn't be even happier if we were talking about a football team and its players. A girl's gotta be true to her sports.
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