My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review at Seductive Musings.
STRADDLING THE LINE is the eighth book in Jaci Burton’s popular Play By Play sports romance series, featuring a hero and heroine who briefly appeared as supporting characters in MELTING THE ICE, the story which takes place immediately before this one. Our hero, Trevor Shay, is a college buddy of other characters in the previous books. His heroine, Haven Briscoe, is the daughter of their beloved mentor who has recently died from liver cancer, leaving family and friends bereft.
When Trevor discovers that Haven is going to abandon her new job as a national sports broadcaster after the death of her father, he vows to do whatever it takes to stop her from making such a huge mistake. Haven is surprised to find herself chosen by Trevor as the first person allowed into his daily life to document how he succeeds at playing both professional baseball and football, not realizing his hidden agenda to keep her from throwing away her career before it’s begun. But when Haven’s college crush on Trevor flares into a shared passion, it’s only a matter of time before she gets too close to what he’s kept from nearly everyone in his life. As much as Trevor may need Haven, he needs to protect his secret more, even if it means pushing her away completely. And now it’s Haven who needs to save Trevor from himself and a future without love.
For me, STRADDLING THE LINE clearly established its own identity in the Play By Play series without straying from its established sports romance formula, We got to see how professional baseball differs from professional football beyond what’s already obvious, and how their competing interests were a constant issue for Trevor, even as he continued to excel in both fields. Keeping both teams happy would be an herculean effort for anyone, yet the added strain of Trevor’s big secret didn’t appear to be as much of a problem as I would have expected under the circumstances. For yes, I did figure out what he was hiding fairly quickly, but that’s only because I’ve read a few other romances recently with the same plot twist, including one featuring another baseball player hero. Once I’d guessed Trevor’s secret, all the signs were there like big red flags, and although I tried not to hold it against the book for making it so obvious by the time of Trevor’s big reveal, I did find it all too convenient that Haven was uniquely qualified to help him not only face his problem but also work to help others in a similar situation. But with such an otherwise appealing hero and heroine, and all the familiar characters from the previous books making an appearance to help this latest couple along toward their own HEA, how could I not enjoy how it turned out in the end? It was also great to meet the new family of sports heroes who will be featured in future Play By Play books. This is a series that continues to prove itself worthy with every new installment, and STRADDLING THE LINE is no exception.
Sensuality level: 3