Genre:Contemporary Sports Romance
Published:Carina Press, April 14, 2014
Regan Hunter came to tennis late in life, but she’s worked hard to become one of the world’s top players. Beating the odds has made her unstoppable on the court and neurotically controlling off of it. So when her manager hires a new coach, a has-been who left the sport after a scandal, Regan wants him gone, fast.
Ben Percy, a former Grand Slam winner, is well aware of Regan’s reputation for driving coaches away—usually screaming. But working with the notoriously mercurial Regan could be just the break he needs to take his career to the next level, and he’s never been one to scare easily. He must stick to only one rule: hands off Regan.
Keeping his distance from Regan is more difficult than Ben ever imagined. Behind her tough, sexy exterior is a woman he wants to get to know better. And Regan feels a connection with her patient, easy-on-the-eyes coach that’s hard to ignore. But with the biggest championship of all on the line, romance may be completely out of bounds…
Just in time for the French Open Tennis Tournament, I finally had a chance to read a romance about a sports I’m so familiar with, and enjoy watching.
I was lucky so far, the authors whose sports romances I’ve read were really good with describing the on field activities, so I never felt left out, but there’s a special kind of pleasure to take out of a book where you know what they’re talking about when they’re on the field. It was one of the reasons why I wanted to read this book.
With a pretty cover and a duo of promising characters-one of whom is now retired, once champion tennis player turned coach, and one is a late bloomer, promising talent- this book seemed to offer a lot from the start. I was determined not to be swayed by my love for tennis though, and I can honestly say that I loved what this book had to offer.
Initially, I admit, I wasn’t very fond of Regan’s character. She seemed to be a control freak, both on and off the court, and though I know the life of a professional athlete is not an easy one, not much room for a personal life or anything outside of the sports they’re interested in, I couldn’t warm up to her cause. But, as I turned page after page, and delved more into the depths of her psyche, I realized that her initial selfishness and the tantrums she threw were all a means for me to see how much she had the potential to grow. And grow, she did. Although by the end of the book I wasn’t one hundred per cent convinced she made that final plunge and reached her utmost level of selflessness and understanding, she was willing to make an effort. Though, one might argue that that’s where her reality lies, and that’s fine, because it worked.
As a late bloomer-thirty years of age is old for a sport like tennis after all- she was extremely disciplined and controlled. There was no room for failure in her life. But an opponent on court wasn’t all she had to battle against, so while reading, and finding out more about her, my respect for her grew along with her character. Without even realizing I found myself liking the woman and respecting the player.
This isn’t all to say she wasn’t without her faults. Apart from having a few hang ups as a heroine, Regan reminded me of a grown up with childish tendencies. Maybe it’s because of her relentless training that left no room for any personal life, and thus no room for a personal growth on a grand scale, but like I said, it wasn’t enough to ruin either her character or the whole story for me. I just personally thought there’s more growing up she needs to do off the pages, after her happy ever after, and with the help of Ben.
As for Ben-I love the name ‘Ben’ for a hero, I swear I have a weakness for Bens-, he was a man with a laid back attitude towards life, especially after getting over his own past struggles. As a coach to aspiring teenagers, this was his first time dealing with a professional, and there was a lot at risk for him, both personally and professionally, if he failed to deliver what he promised signing up to working with Regan.
It was easier to warm up to Ben, though he did find a way to frustrate me at times. His ease around Regan’s fiery and deliberately needling character, and his understanding of her struggles and thus her need for the walls she built up around her made it all too easy for me to like him.
The banter between these two was fun to read, all the more so when things got heated. I liked reading both of them slowly bringing down the defenses of each other without even realizing it. I think the reason why they were so good for, and with, each other was that they were both wounded but willing to heal.
And I can’t go on without saying this, but I loved the tiny reference made to another one of Rebecca Crowley’s sports series, this one about soccer, that yours truly had the opportunity to read and liked. It’s fun when authors play around like that.
My biggest criticism would be for the last two chapters or so, for how the author decided to reconcile the couple after a last minute argument. This is not to say it was bad or unconvincing, just that I would’ve preferred more on page time to work their issues together. I love a good solid argument, laying out facts and feelings so the characters, and of course moi, can have our full closure.
I’m adding four spoonfuls of this sweet romance into my hodgepodge. If you’re a fan of tennis like me, you’d definitely enjoy this story, but don’t go for it just for the awesome sports, go for this one for a sexy romance, for strong, determined characters, and that easy banter you know you love between your heroes and heroines.
More titles from Rebecca Crowley:
- The Striker’s Chance
- Secure Target (Elite Operators #1)