Well the best things I can say is that there were some truly funny moments and the secondary couple was interesting enough that I wanted to finish the book just for them. But finishing the book was a near thing. I almost 'DNF' after a particularly gross scene of sex on a public buffet table (a buffet where the food was already set out complete with ice sculptures where a party full of poor unsuspecting people were going to be eating at momentarily). Just...ick.
So I did finish it, but there are some serious flaws in the book for me.
First there is zero baseball. Part of my attraction to the book was that I wanted to read a sports romance that actually included some of the sport. The book begins just as the hero's team wins the World Series on an eye-rolling play. The bulk of the story takes place in the hero's hometown of Frostproof,FL where he plans to stay for the month helping out with a charity benefit. He brings along a bunch of players to tag along.
Second, the characters are all pretty flat. The author uses the repetitive phrases and descriptions to hammer home some very surface characterizations. Jacy like color! Stevie is fat! Zen is smart! Natalie likes public sex! But we very rarely delve beneath to get any more substance.
And third, I wasn't trilled with the main couple.
The book actually focuses on three couples.
The main couple is Jacy and Risk. He is a star baseball player who has known Jacy since they were kids. He's always been her rebound guy and has happily been on speed dial whenever she has a break up with her most recent boyfriend. Except it is a fiction both Jacy and Risk are playing out. They are both in love with each other and want more than a friends with benefits relationship.
The main issue I have with this couple is that there is no real romantic conflict for them. They are in love. The only thing holding them back is they refuse to actually talk to each other. That is it. The cop-out is that Risk has been planning to tell Jacy throughout his stay that he loves her but things kept interrupting him. On the whole I liked Risk better than Jacy.
Jacy for her part rather passively aggressively makes him take Cosmo quizzes to test their compatibility. Which further encapsulated why I really didn't care for the author's characterization of Jacy. She came off as somewhat juvenile. I would have liked to know a lot more about the supposed heroine except the fact that she liked color. The author took pains to let us know that Jacy died her hair a different color each day, we got painstaking descriptions of her eye searing and pattern-mixing (but always colorful!) clothes she wore. And her home which stood out because it had lime-green shutters. We are constantly told what a free-spirit Jacy is, but mainly through how bright her clothes were.
The second couple, Zen and Stevie, was much more interesting mainly because their conflict felt more natural. Stevie is also a long time resident of Frostproof and is in charge of the charity events. Her long time boyfriend and guy she's always know she's been going to marry since they were in high school is a star MLB pitcher, Aaron. But Aaron publicly humiliates Stevie by dumping her for another woman. Zen comes to Stevie's rescue by acting as a support system and quietly falling for her. But Stevie has a hard time letting the long-time dream of Aaron go.
I thought Zen and Stevie were tons more sympathetic and their romance more involving that Risk and Jacy's. I also thought their conflict was a real conflict. Stevie needed to get over her feelings for Aaron before she could move forward with Zen. He was a nicely authoritative beta hero. My only real issue with them was that I wanted Stevie to have more dignity. I would not have wasted my time mooning on some guy who basically dumped me in public.
I also had a huge problem with how the author presented Stevie's weight issues. Stevie always feels fat and out of shape. At one point during sex with Zen she doesn't want to be on top because she'd 'Squish him.' Mind you, Zen is a freaking professional baseball player. Big guy, ripped. So how fat is Stevie you ask? Well she's 136 pounds. Yeah, not a typo. She's 136 pounds. I don't in what universe where a 136 pound woman will squish a grown, athletic man. But ok...I guess. But the other head-scratchier is that supposedly Stevie wears a size 14. So 136 pounds and wears a size 14. What is she 4'2 with big bones?
But still, I liked them. They had a last minute Grand Mis that made me roll my eyes but by then had earned so much goodwill that I let it pass.
The final couple is Aaron and Natalie. I am not going to speak too much about them because they made me want to hork. Natalie is the owner's daughter...rich, skinny, bored, red fingernails. She likes public sex. When she isn't thinking about public, sex she's forcing her fiance Aaron into having public sex, or getting mad at him for not wanting public sex. Aaron doesn't like public sex. He feels fear and 'cold chills' and terror when contemplating the sexual tiger that his his fiancee and her public sex needs. My thought was that Aaron seriously needed to man up. If you don't want public sex then, dude, don't have it. Eventually that does happen and he cures her of her need for public sex with his dominating magic peen.
I disliked them intensely.
This is the first book in a series. But I am not interested in reading the rest. I am hanging up my cleats with this one.