Kelly Maxwell has finally landed her dream job as publicist for the San Francisco Blaze. But the team’s newest member, handsome bad boy catcher Matt Scanlon, is refusing every interview. She’s got to get him to open up before the season ends, or she may not be back next year. And after everything she overcame to achieve her dream, Kelly’s not about to let that happen.
Matt Scanlon just wants to be left alone to rebuild his life and his career. After a year of masking the pain of a recent loss with hard partying and fast women, he finally hit rock bottom and was traded to a team he’s loathed his entire life—a team with little to no chance at the post-season.
Butting heads is getting Kelly and Matt nowhere but annoyed, and with the team’s schedule on the road, they can’t avoid close quarters—or their surprising attraction to one another. As the season winds down, Matt finds his growing feelings for Kelly have brought his numbed emotions back to life. But when betrayal shatters their fragile trust, winning it all seems more impossible than ever.
Those who know me know I love a good sports-themed romance. There is just something about the fit, hot athlete hero that I adore – that and I do love watching sport as well.
Kelly and Matt don’t exactly have the best memories of each other – having butted heads and saying some fairly harsh words. Both probably would have been glad to never have to see the other again – but fate (and Matt’s behaviour) has other plans for them.
When Matt’s seemingly self-destructive life choices become all too much for his team to handle, they trade him to the San Francisco Blaze – the team Kelly just happens to handle the publicity for. Let’s just say neither is happy about the move.
Working together day-in, day-out, the old animosities come to the surface. Then things begin to change. Each begins to discover that their first impressions were completely off the mark.
The sport aspect of The Winning Season was what drew me to it initially – the shirtless dude on the cover didn’t hurt either – but what kept me engaged in the story was the romance. The whole “I hate you, I love you” thing between Kelly and Matt was really well done. Electricity crackled between them all through the book – the chemistry both intense and believable.
I really loved these two as characters as well as them as a couple. Both of them have been through so much, more than each allows many people to see. Another thing I really appreciated was that their pasts weren’t used purely as an excuse for who they now are – particularly with Matt – but as part of explaining why they are.
When I requested this book for review, I wasn’t aware that it was the second in a series, so I’ve got my hands on a copy of Love in the Afternoon to check out Kayla and Sean’s story, and to catch another glimpse of Kelly and Matt.
After checking out The Winning Season, I am very much looking forward to reading more stories from the world of the San Francisco Blaze. Alison Packard has such a wonderful style and voice, and I can’t wait to see what she does with JT and Angie, who I believe are the next in line for the series.
I’d definitely recommend this to those who enjoy sports romance.
My rating: 4 out of 5
Release date: 15 July 2013
Note: I was provided with an advanced reader copy of this book by Carina Press via NetGalley in return for an honest review.