Reviewed by Mandi
Jane from Dear Author recommended this to me. I’ve been on a sports romance kick lately and I’m so glad I read this one. I will say it took me a few chapters for me to warm up to our hero and heroine, but I ended up really enjoying them. The hero especially becomes quite adorable.
Izzy Dalton loves journalism behind the camera, but when her boss and mentor gets pushed into an early retirement, Izzy finds herself being shipped off as a sideline reporter to Portland’s Major League Baseball team, The Pioneers. First, Izzy knows nothing, and I mean nothing about baseball. Second, she is rigid and pretty horrible as a reporter behind the camera, and finally to make this situation even more miserable, the Pioneers are a pretty bad team with about zero interest from the city.
Jack Bennett plays second base for the Pioneers and is a good player; cocky and stubborn, but a very hard worker. He is known to play games with people for his own amusement, so when Izzy’s boss pushes her onto the field for some preseason interviews, he warns her to stay away from Jack until she has some practice under her belt. But she can’t. Jack’s best friend on the team is Noah, who is a ham for the fans and camera, and Jack just happens to tag along and can’t help but notice the sexy new reporter. Izzy may not be great with the camera on her, but that doesn’t mean she lacks journalism skills. She soon has some background dirt on Jack, and has to decide if she should run with that story. It’s a long baseball season – and these two are going to chase each other around the bases, until Jack slides into…home.
Like I said at the beginning of this review, it took me a few chapters to get into this book. But after a while, the flow becomes steadier and I really got into this one. I don’t know if I’d call Jack grumpy, but he is a little surly and unpredictable. He likes Izzy from the beginning, but doesn’t always sugarcoat his words. He has a very fun relationship with his buddy Noah, who pushes him to ask Izzy out, even after she declines since it’s a conflict with her job. Izzy is used to living and breathing work, but being a reporter and traveling with a baseball team really takes it out of her. She is so nervous and uptight about learning the sport of baseball, that Jack just looks at her and shakes his head. She carries around note cards with baseball definitions on them and Jack can barely stand it. So they become friends. He teaches her about the game – the nuances on the field, the atmosphere, the strategy, and ever so slowly, Izzy is enthralled.
The best part is, Jack becomes this adorable hero. It really surprised me. He becomes such a supporting figure for her – giving her confidence around every turn or giving her a hard time to get her to laugh when needed.
“I’m still not great on air. I stumble or ramble and I never look right.”
Jack stopped in front of her and settled back on his heels so he was at her eye level.
“Isabel Dalton, I know you can do this. I know you can beat this. You’re strong and certain and so damn smart.”
The tiniest hint of a smile was beginning to peek out of the corners of her lips, so he continued. He just wanted to see her really smile again. Even the smile that she used to wrap him around her little finger.
And yet Jack is facing some vulnerabilities too with the rumor the team might be sold to a different city. Much weight rides on his shoulders. And of course as the title dictates – the lucky charm. It seems every time Jack talks baseball with Izzy, that night at the game, something crazy good goes his way. He swears he isn’t superstitious, but damn if he can’t shake his luck.
The physical romance is quite slow to build, but the pacing never felt off. It all builds up very well to a romantic ending. Give this one a try.