The Player by K. Bromberg
Series: The Player, #1
April 17, 2017
Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “You’re nothing like I expected.”
“I’m never what anyone expects. It’s a blessing and a curse.”
Easten Wylder is baseball royalty with a baseball hall of famer father and a talent that has him in high demand. When an injury sidelines him and the team’s new GM seems to be more about the money then the game, Easten needs the best physical therapist sports medicine has to offer. The team calls on Doc Dalton but it’s his daughter, Scout, who is sent to help. Easten likes the look of Scout but a pretty face and gorgeous body don’t mean he can trust her with his recovery.
Scout Dalton is doing everything she can to prove her skills as a physical therapist are worth a fulltime contract with MLB team-The Austin Aces. Easten Wylder is her ticket in the door but their attraction to one another could prove a problem. Scout’s not here for romance, she’s here to work, and she has very little time in which to work her magic so she and Easten both get what they want.
As tempers flare and tensions rise, Scout and Easten find themselves crossing the line many times. But when the heat gets to be a little too hot, can this couple survive the burn or will their relationship go up in flames?
Bromberg is back and her latest sports romance is surprisingly not on the track but in the dugout and just in time for the beginning of the 2017 baseball season. Bromberg introduces her own baseball team-the Austin Aces-and builds a sexy, humorous, and bittersweet romance between two lonely people who are ready for the next step in their lives whether they realized it or not. Steady pacing with a weighty cast of characters, witty dialogue, and a fluid storyline that is fueled by multiple plot elements.
Bromberg sets the scene and atmosphere early on with one of the most awkward meet-cutes I’ve read in a while. Scout Dalton is the daughter of the popular and much in demand physical therapist, Doc Dalton. Circumstances have her standing in for her father when the Aces call for Doc to come help and get their star catcher, Easten Wylde, back on the roster. When Easten meets Scout, he assumes he’s the victim of yet another team prank and thinks she is really a stripper or prostitute.
“What’s your name?”
“That’s not exactly the type of originally I was expecting. What happened to Star or Trixie Or Kitty? Were those all taken?”
What the hell was he talking about?
After Scout sets Easten straight and he realizes she is indeed the physical therapist hired to help him, things settle down and, a relationship of sorts tries to grow. Though Bromberg starts out on a light-hearted moment, things begin to get serious almost right off the bat as Easten and Scout tumble into bed before addressing the elephant in the room-their respective jobs and the problems this could lead to.
I liked Scout and Easten. Both are genuinely nice, caring people who carry the weight of their father’s dreams on their shoulders. Easten’s reputation as a player on and off the field is well-earned. A cocky, witty, intelligent man whose pretty face, sexy body, and oh so smooth charm has garnered him more than his fair share of the American dream. A recent shoulder injury and some iffy tactics by the team’s GM has him beginning to think beyond his fame to what happens next. Meeting Scout and feeling their connection has him quietly thinking about finding someone he can count on and grow old with.
“I’ve played on grass my whole life, Scout. There’s no need for me to see what’s out there when it’s green beneath my feet.”
Scout is an attractive, intelligent, low-key woman with a strong work ethic and more than her fair share of pain. Growing up following her father around in his job, she needs this long-term contract with the Austin Aces for personal reasons. Her attraction to Easten is a complication she doesn’t want or need but can’t seem to ignore. Since meeting Easten she finds herself dreaming of a life where she can stop and settle down with someone by her side…with Easten by her side.
That hard heart of mine doesn’t seem so hard any more. Not when it comes to Easton Wylder, at least.
Hot and steamy chemistry sparks from their first meeting and the flames only increase as the story progresses. Easten refuses to let Scout run from him and her feelings even though Scout’s trust issues are almost null. He uses plenty of flirting, inventive kisses, and mind-blowing sex to keep Scout on her toes and in his bed.
She’s fucking addictive.
I want her.
Must have her.
The scent of her perfume.
Say yes to this, Scout.
The softness of her lips.
Say yes to me.
The tentativeness of her tongue as she fights her will to dive in.
Let me the fuck in.
Even her temper turns me on.
While I found the story satisfactory, I never fully invested into it. Easten was too perfect and Scout’s indecisiveness became more a plot device than a genuine concern. The world building was lazy and the auxiliary cast of characters were used as props and stayed hyper focused on our protagonists. The promising external conflict that would have given the story more balance and perspective gets buried beneath the romance. At times the narrative between Scout and Easten felt awkward and Bromberg drags out some aspects for the dramatic appeal than actual need. The abrupt and confusing ending with the unnecessary cliffhanger only served to validate my overall misgivings. At least fans won’t have to wait long for book two. The Catch releases on June 29, 2017.
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