J.T. was hurt by Angie's rejection, but with one more year with the Blaze, he has no time for love. He needs to spend the off season training hard so he can negotiate a better contract with a new team at the end of the year. But when Angie shows up on his doorstep, he's overwhelmed by wanting to not just do right by her but pursue a relationship with her. Hoping for a second chance, he proposes.
Angie agrees to marry J.T. on one condition: the marriage will be purely a business arrangement. But as Angie spends time with him and his family, and J.T. neglects his training to spend time with her, what begins as a union in name only slowly grows into something more--something that looks a whole lot like love and friendship.
Comment: After having read the book before this one in 2015 and enjoying it, I added the following two (this one and the installment after) to my reading lists and this month I did pick it up. I confess, however, that I was expecting more...
In this story, we have Angie and JT's romance. They were secondary characters in the previous toy, it didn't seem they would have that much in common but a night together has had is consequences and now Angie is pregnant. To top it, she is also out of a job so after some debating she does accept JT's offer of marriage but only for two years so she can find a job and not have to worry about lack of health benefits int he meantime. But deceiving his those around them and dealing with their families can prove to be quite challenging...
As for their personalities, I liked them individually but together they didn't seem to become that much better or stronger or maybe this was just my impression.
I sort of expected more out of this novel, after a slow but promising beginning. The marriage of convenience trope no longer works as well in contemporary romance as it used to but I like it when the situation is told in a way that even if I can't truly accept it, I can suspend belief to see how it's done. I just think that the romance wasn't as "romantic" or "special" as I imagined.
One great way to show the characters are falling for each other and wanting to be together but don't immediately give in for some reason is using sexual tension scenes. Not placing them having sex and stop before things go to far! Just showing scenes where their connection is developing, scenes with them doing things together or looking at one another that it can't be mistaken or letting us know they are thinking or doing something with the other one always in their minds. I think it's usually just easier to make them talk about or act more sexually interested than it was necessary to give us the clue they are hot for one another... that should be supposed to be a given, I, personally, would prefer the subtlety that would increase until it got to the point they couldn't ignore it anymore.
I jut felt their relationship wasn't done well, they were all about the marriage deal, she said no sex but quickly changed her mind... I thought the relationship wasn't a good element of this book.
The bigger conflict, however, comes from Angie's relationship with her mother. The older woman also had a romance with a ballplayer so she doesn't seem to accept how Angie left a stable fiancé to be with this man. I can understand her reasoning based on her experience but she was also clearly made to be the villain so although some plot moves make sense based on her personality, it was also something that could be avoided or dealt with differently...
What I liked the best in this novel was JT's parents. They are lovely, they (and two of his brothers) provided the stability Angie needs so it's no surprise when she and her mother in law connect and the future seems promising to Angie. The HEA is believable enough, I'd say. Just too bad about how everything was done and developed.
Also, for a sports romance there isn't that much talk about the sport JT plays...not that I'd want a list of every single practice or game or preparation but...it felt like it was just an element to suit the plot.
All in all, I thought this book would stronger, considering the previous one, but despite the things I liked less, it was still entertaining and had some cute scenes here and there. I'm curious about the dynamics of the next one and I will read it somewhere in the future...next year, most likely.