Professional baseball player Harmon “Hawk” Kiel was a rookie sensation with dazzling talent and an arrogant attitude to match. But he’s hit his sophomore slump, and his natural talent seems to have deserted him, along with the confidence of his team and the media’s approval. During the All Star Break he hits rock bottom, gets careless, and sensational pictures of him at gay clubs go viral. All at once he’s outed, and out of a job.
When he’s dealt to the Loggerheads, a worse-than-terrible expansion team in Charleston, South Carolina, he can’t imagine he’ll get a warm reception—nor does he particularly want one. But it’s the only chance at redemption he has.
There he meets Caleb Jackson, a former player who’s part of the Loggerheads organization, someone who tries to be the friend Harmon so desperately needs. But Caleb has a secret too, one more gut-wrenching than anything Harmon can imagine. Together they try to put the past behind them, rediscover their love of the game—and maybe even find the love of their lives.
Harmon, aka Hawk is a pro-baseball player who ends up violating his contract and outing himself in one fell swoop. He gets traded to anon-name expansion team where he’s to lick his wounds and try to recover his career. In addition to combatting the “gay” thing, he also has to rejuvenate his image as a star player as all his averages have been dropping since his miraculous first year.
Caleb is the catcher for the team, but not really. He can’t play professionally anymore but he can do his best to make his team members the best they possibly can play. He helps Hawk to re-invent himself both as a player and a gay man.
Their relationship is a slow burn but very sexy. When they do come together it’s hot! In the end we are given a pretty strong HFN/HEA though these men are few in the words department.
If you are a fan of baseball you will LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this! Elle Brownlee is a very meticulous writer who obviously knows her subject matter. (I didn’t always understand the baseball but I felt absolutely immersed in the sport!) I really liked how authentic these two MCs felt. Hawk especially seemed very real. His angst sprang honestly from his upbringing by the over-achiever sports-dad who tried to live through his son’s experience. His reluctance to leave the closet and be out and proud felt real and progressed at a believable pace.
The entire expansion team gave me the feel of Major League or Bull Durham in that they all had stories and hopes and dreams and just needed the right combination to “make it big!”
I was less impressed by Caleb – though I liked him quite a bit more than Hawk! – in that I’m not sure anyone can be that open, friendly and sweet given the life he had. But – he was a great foil for Hawk’s crankiness.
I also wish we’d gotten a more “firm” HEA for these guys. I’m not sure if this is in preparation for a sequel or if the author just kept these guys “in character” and not willing to talk about their feelings much.
I recommend this to fans of baseball and coming out stories.
4.25 of 5 stars
Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for an Honest Review