A copy of this book was provided by the author for an honest review at The Romance Evangelist.
Sometimes you read a sports romance where the romance is great but the sport isn’t represented accurately. Sometimes you read one where the sport is spot-on but the romance is lacking. And then sometimes, if you’re very, very lucky, you read a sports romance where everything is done perfectly. It can’t be a coincidence that during this first week of the new baseball season, I got lucky with PERFECT CATCH, the second book in Sierra Dean’s Boys of Summer series. (I also enjoyed the first book, PITCH PERFECT, but you don’t have to read that book for this one to make sense.)
PERFECT CATCH is the story of a woman who’s had to be everyone else’s rock and how she finally finds the one guy who will be that person for her in return. Alice Darling may have made a huge mistake years before in trusting a professional ballplayer with her heart and her body, but her beloved daughter Liv is worth every sacrifice, even if it means working two jobs and swearing off all baseball players for good. And as a part-time umpire for spring training and minor league games, the last thing Alice needs is to be accused of using her feminine wiles on the players to get ahead. What she never planned on was the likes of Alex Ross crossing her path. It’s easy for Alice to ignore all the guys when she’s hiding behind her umpire’s mask and gear. But it’s harder to pass up a good-looking guy in a broken-down Porsche, especially when you’re the only one who can help him change a flat tire.
Alex Ross thought this would be just another pre-season, just the usual six weeks in Florida needed to make sure his game was up to snuff before Opening Day. When his rental car got a flat, he didn’t expect a beautiful woman with dangerous curves to be his rescuer. But Alex knows he’d like to get to know her better, whatever it might take. Despite how close they quickly become, Alice is sure Alex will be out of her life for good when spring training ends. But he can’t get her out of his head or heart, and when that distraction leads him back to the minors to get back his pre-season form, nothing and nobody will be able to keep Alex from being the guy Alice really needs.
In the interest of full disclosure, you should know that Sierra Dean and I follow each other on Twitter. She’s a diehard Detroit Tigers fan and I’m a lifelong Kansas City Royals fan, but we would never hold that against each other. Thanks to her tweets, I know she would no more confuse the infield fly rule for a ground rule double than she’d assume that any reader new to baseball would be expected to know either one. And that’s what has made me a confident reader for her baseball-themed romance novels. Whether or not the romance ends up working for me, I’m always assured that every moment spent in or around the ballpark will ring true, without the added distraction of easily avoidable errors.
But make no mistake, the romance is just as spot on here as every little baseball-related detail. Alice has been let down by every person in her life except her young daughter: the brother who treats his depression with pills and booze, the mother who only sees someone who refused to diet down to nothing and trusted the wrong men, and that particular wrong man who left them behind on his way to the major leagues. Why shouldn’t Alex be the same? And yet, Alex is as different to the rest as day is to night. He refuses to let Alice paint him with the same brush as everyone else, but he also realizes that he has to go slowly if she’s going to be able to trust in him. Of course, they both make mistakes, but none are too terrible or insurmountable between two adults who love and want to be loved in return. And when Alex and Alice finally find their happy ending together with Liv, everything that happened before just makes it all the more satisfying. Not a moment is wasted in PERFECT CATCH; every scene is essential. And all through the story, Alex and Alice’s shared love of the game adds that special flavor that you can only get with a well-written sports romance. I can’t wait to read the next one in this series.