Publication Date: December 4, 2015
Playing center field for the New York Kings, Jake Woodbury has one of the most prestigious jobs in all of sports. To the world, he's the good-looking, soft-spoken minister's son who’s survived celebrity without a hint of scandal. But, inside, he's reeling from a secret that seems destined to haunt him forever.
Scarlett Moore is one of the biggest pop stars on the planet, famous for singing about her celebrity ex-boyfriends. The CEO of her record label has carefully honed her provocative image since she was fifteen. Sex sells, and Scarlett’s well aware that it takes more than talent to stay on top. One thing is clear: She’s the last thing Jake needs. And he’s the do-gooder jock she should avoid at all costs. But when the game begins, all bets are off.
Mid-smile, I turn my head toward the on-deck circle and catch Jake Woodbury staring in our direction.
He must be looking over at his ex, Roberta, trying to get her attention. What a sucker. Dude, let it go.
But, when Roberta bends down to get something out of her bag, his eyes don’t pull away. In fact, he even grins slightly, and I realize he’s not looking at her. He’s looking at me.
Okay, I'm used to guys checking me out. It's nothing new. But, just as my skin starts to prickle, he looks away.
Maybe he's just trying to make Roberta jealous by coming on to me in front of her. Yeah, that must be it. It's too good of an opportunity to pass up, what with Scarlett Moore, the princess of pop, sitting right next to his ex. But this is neither the time nor the place for him to be openly flirting with me. He has a job to do. A very important job: get on base and kick-start the Kings' lineup. But all he's doing is kick-starting my beating heart.
But, if I'm being totally honest with myself, that's not what this feels like. In fact, it feels like he couldn't care less that his ex is sitting beside me.
And then I know I'm not imagining things when he takes his bat off his shoulder and points the end of the barrel at me.
"This one's for you, Scarlett!" he calls out while confidently striding by.
I smile, despite myself. All right. I’ll play along with you, hot stuff.
Before I can even think twice about it, I raise a hand to my lips and blow him a kiss.
Title: Game Winner
Author: Collette West
Release Date: December 4, 2015
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports
Series or Standalone: Standalone Series (New York Kings #6)
Rating: ★★★★ 1/2 Stars (Rounded to 5 for Goodreads & Amazon)
I’m a little late to the party with this author and more to the point, the New York Kings Series as a whole. Taking this book on, I went in blind to the previous books and their resolutions, and new to the authors writing style.
But as it turns out, neither of them presented the slightest problem here. This book stands alone while in the same universe as the others and the writing style was fantastic. It pulled me in off the first page, especially with the details given in terms of the sport featured heavily within the pages (baseball). I found myself enamoured by the nods to the sport almost as much as I was to the main characters.
Jake presented the way any great book boyfriend does and the more the story went on, we were privy to even more layers. Things that when I’m being swept away in a story make me connect on more than just a base level. I enjoyed the fact that this guy with a heart of absolute gold wasn’t perfection personified. That he had faults and flaws like the rest of the general population, but that at the end of the day, still held firm in the truly good person he was.
Which brings me to Scarlett. The fire engine redheaded singer that wasn’t at all the way the public and even those closest to her wanted her to be. The woman that was a lot stronger then I went in expecting her to be, but with a vulnerability about her that made some of the choices she makes, things she does understandable to me even if I wouldn’t have done the same things in her position. She wanted more. She wanted to break free from what she’d been made into and be herself. But never more so than when she comes across Jake Woodbury.
The game changer.
Jake and Scarlett really aren’t all that different. They’re both dealing with things that have taken a toll on their lives up until that point and are searching for more. And their journey to happiness, both alone and together was not an easy one. There were forks in the road, real misunderstandings and influences from outside forces that worked against them, keeping them from what they both truly wanted and needed. Which, for this reader worked because a lot of it just made sense.
But there were also the influences working against them that were of their own design. Things and instances that had taken place in the past that affected their ability to move on successfully into the future. We are our own worst enemies after all and that was definitely what was taking place here. But that just invested me more in wanting to see the beauty that they could truly be once they faced that head on. Rid themselves of their own issues and those from the outside and focused on what really mattered.
Jake and Scarlett are stubborn and passionate, troubled and misunderstood. Enigmatic yet so very simple at the same time. They came across very real to me, both as individuals and in terms of their relationship and well, they just plain worked. Even if at times they did make me want to pull my hair out from their lack of ability to communicate with one another.
The only thing that could have made this book better for me being the ending. As perfect as it was in terms of giving me what I was after practically from the moment she stood and sang the national anthem that first time, I wanted just a bit more than was given. But I’m greedy, what can I say? Lol
If you’re a fan of sports themed romances, the ones that don’t come easy, inherently good guys that have the ability to make you swoon, and/or stories that are filled with just the right amount of romance and steam, I think you’ll enjoy this.
I know I did.
My thanks to the author and all others involved for letting me read this before its official release.
About The Author
Collette West grew up as somewhat of a jock-nerd hybrid. Entering the world three weeks premature, her dad nearly missed her birth because he had seats behind the dugout for a sold-out, highly-anticipated match-up between two of baseball's biggest rivals. Not to be outdone, her book-loving mom taught her how to read by the time she was three. A love of the game coupled with an appreciation for the written word were instilled in Collette's impressionable brain from a young age. No wonder her characters believe in the philosophy: sports + romance = a little slice of heaven. Splitting her time between the Pocono Mountains and Manhattan, Collette indulges her inner fangirl by going to as many games as she can from hockey to baseball and downloading every sports romance novel in existence onto her iPad. When she's not clicking away on her laptop, she enjoys walking her dog in Central Park, satisfying her caffeine craving at the Starbucks on Broadway and keeping an eye out for Mr. Right. But above all, she loves dishing with her readers. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is the author of the New York Kings series which includes: NIGHT GAMES, GAME CHANGER, GAME ON, PERFECT GAME, INSIDE GAME and GAME WINNER.