Better Than Perfect by Kristina Mathews
Series: More Than a Game #1
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Publication Date: April 7th 2014
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More Than A Game, #1
The woman he left behind and the son he never knew are tougher opponents than any he's met on the field.
Pitcher Johnny "The Monk" Scottsdale has won awards, been named an All-star and has a perfect game to his credit. Known for his legendary control both on and off the field, his pristine public image makes him the ideal person to work with youth players in a preseason minicamp. Except the camp is run by the one woman he can't forget. . .the woman who made him a "monk."
Alice Harrison's three strikes include an unexpected pregnancy, a marriage of convenience and young widowhood. She once traded her dreams so Johnny could have a chance at making it to the Majors. Johnny comes back into her life just as she's ready to resign as foundation director and pursue her own dreams of finally earning her teaching credential. Her plans may go on hold, though, depending on the reaction when she confesses she may have kept a major league secret from Johnny and her son.
With the minutes ticking by until Johnny will leave for spring training, they'll need to let go of the past and work together in order to win the game of love.
CONTENT WARNING: Some strong language, consummated love scenes
I have a confession to make: I’m a sucker for sports-themed books. I like sports, but I’m not obsessive about them (with maybe the exception of Football – the only sport worth obsessing over) so I don’t know why I go crazy for these.
This book was reminiscent of Rachel Gibson’s Daisy’s Back in Town, with the added bonus of having a MLB backdrop.
There were a lot of misunderstandings and the secret baby plot was frustrating, but there were a lot of things I liked. It was refreshing to read about a professional athlete who wasn’t a giant man-whore or a complete ass. In fact, Johnny was just the opposite.
Growing up without a father really did a number on him, as did his mother’s profession. After Alice left him he didn’t go crazy and sleep around, but instead focused on the game. His nickname “The Monk” didn’t come just from his focus on the mound, but his quiet lifestyle.
Alice’s insecurities made sense given her background, but it felt like there was too much going on at times; Alice raising a son alone, Johnny dealing with his feelings about Alice and her marriage, his concerns about his career, her jealousy, her leaving him initially, her son’s concerns about their relationship, her in-laws…it was a lot. Add into it crazy fans and reporters and, well, I think some of it could have been culled.
Still, I liked the easy friendship between Johnny and Alice. I also like the way she was with her son, Zach, and how Johnny related to him. I expected the in-laws to be the villains of the piece, but they were actually wonderful. The baseball backdrop worked well. It didn’t take the focus away from Alice and Johnny, but instead flowed through the plot seamlessly.
3.5 out of 5
3.5 out of 5