Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Review: Double Play

Title: Double Play
Author: Jill Shalvis
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Pacific Heat/Book 1
Published: July 2009

From the back cover ~

Getting to first base is a cinch...

But getting home will take a grand slam...

Pace Martin is the ace pitcher for he Pacific Heat. He's got the arm, the experience, and the wins. He's also got the pain, the pressure, and the possible end of his career looming over him. The last thing he needs now is a distraction, even if it comes in the form of a tough, beautiful, tell-it-like-it-is writer who sees past his defenses.

Holly Hutchins knows a good story when she sees one, and the tall, dark, and slightly attitude-challenged Pace Martin fits the bill. But when she realizes there's more at stake than just a win, she starts to see the handsome, broad-shouldered jock in a different light.
Pace and Holly begin a seductive game, but in the face of unexpected betrayal and challenges, they'll have to find the courage to swing for the fences...

I've gotten to the point with Jill Shalvis that she has become a sure thing. I've come to count on her ability to tell a story about people falling in love and making me believe in that story. Shalvis writes such real romances. Her characters are flawed and genuine. You get to know them and care about them. Such was the case with Pace and Holly.

Pace Martin is a baseball player who makes millions but would play for peanuts. He loves the game, it's his life. But an injury could prove to be more serious than what his career can handle. Pace is a man that I easily and quickly came to care about. Sure he's a famous baseball player that makes millions of dollars and he's got good looks too. But underneath all that is a guy that loves the game and shares his love for the game. He spends time with kids who might be spending time in juvenile detention if it wasn't for Pace's positive influence. He does because he cares, not for the publicity since he keeps that part of his personal life private.

Holly Hutchins has been given an ultimatum - write about the Santa Barbara Heat baseball team or quit. Holly doesn't have much choice, she wants to keep her job. She writes a weekly blog about one specific subject for three months, this time it's baseball. She picks Pace Martin to focus on for her first posts. Holly appreciates Pace's good looks, she is female after all, but she's after what's underneath all those gorgeous muscles. She's looking for secrets. That's her angle for her articles. She's received awards and recognition by digging beneath the surface of her subjects and finding out the truth.

Pace and Holly are wonderful together. I loved when they were on the page. Their banter, both spoken and unspoken, left me laughing and wanting more of these two. The attraction between them and their attempted denial of that attraction built up the tension. Then when they do give in Shalvis comes through with her exceptional ability to make the sex scenes more than just sex. They are steamy hot, with lots of passion and just plain down and dirty, I need you right now -any way - any how, sex.

The story itself doesn't get lost in all the steam. Pace and Holly are under a lot of pressure. They've both enjoyed success in their careers which means they have some high expectations to live up to. The way that Shalvis combined the romance with the demands of baseball and publishing made for some interesting reading. I like the fact that once Holly and Pace became intimate their careers didn't take a backseat. Instead, Shalvis had these two career minded individuals trying to combine their passion for their careers with their passion for each other.

The team of secondary characters added another dimension to the ins and outs of baseball and the reports who cover it. It was a treat to go into the locker room and discover the superstitions that the players had and watch Holly become part of those superstitions. LOL I've never been much of a baseball fan, got dragged to Cubs, Brewers and the occasional Sox games when I was a kid, so you don't need to like baseball to enjoy Double Play.

This was a fun, sweet, sexy read with likable characters and an interesting plot. The secondary characters of star catcher Wade O'Riley and Samantha McNead will be next up to bat in the book Slow Heat, excerpt, due out in February. From the bits and pieces we got of Wade and Sam in Double Play, I'm definitely looking forward to reading their story.

Jill Shalvis and her considerable back list can be found on her website. Shalvis also has a daily blog about life as a writer in the beautiful Sierras.

Rating: A


  1. Ohhh, I have this one on my TBB list, Leslie. Definitely! So glad you loved it. Another Shalvis for my growing pile, lol!

  2. Hils ~ Shalvis has become an auto-read for me. Love her characters. :)

  3. I'm not a fan of Jill Shalvis, but I thought this one was pretty good and cute :D Looking forward to the second one :)

    As sport romance goes, this one is pretty realistic - or as realistic as it needs for me :)

  4. nath ~ I thought there was just the right amount of baseball in the story, enough to make it believable but not overwhelming. :)

  5. I was reading this one and it's one I put aside for Kindred in Death. But I'm afraid it's not going to get as good of marks from me. I have some real issues - but I'll get more into them when I finish reading it.

  6. Kristie ~ sorry to hear you have issues with the book. I'll look forward to reading your review. :)