Risk Kincaid and Jacy Grayson have known each other since high school, when, after seeing her crying because her prom date dumped her, Risk volunteered to be her rebound guy. Whenever she broke up with someone, she could call him, and wherever he was, he'd show up for a few days to "console" her.
Years later, Risk, now a team captain of a World Series-winning baseball team, returns to their hometown of Frostproof, Florida, for a benefit. He has seen eccentric Jacy every six months or so for years, and he now plans on asking her to marry him. Jacy has never had anyone in her bed but Risk, her true love. All those boyfriends were just a way to keep him in her life. But now she is afraid of changing the status quo.
Let me begin by saying that I am a huge sports fan: basketball, baseball, football, soccer, you name it. If it is broadcast on ESPN or part of the Olympics, I will probably watch it and try to learn everything I can about it. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that I absolutely adore sports romances. I have enjoyed the escapades of Susan Elizabeth Phillips's Chicago Stars and Rachel Gibson's Seattle Chinooks so I was excited to venture into the world of baseball with Angell's Richmond Rogues.
Squeeze Play is vibrant and funny book that gives readers three sexy love stories. I am usually not a fan of multiple romances going on at once in the same book, but Angell does a fine job balancing everything out. I really enjoyed two of the couples while the other annoyed me for a very specific reason.
Risk and Jacy's story is the primary romance of the book and the one mentioned in the summary above. At first, I was a little hesitant about the concept of their past as rebound lovers. What made me get on board with this couple is the fact that, despite their unconventional history, they both secretly love each other. Both Risk and Jacy are determined to spend as much time with the other without revealing their true feelings. Risk is a typical sports romance hero who is handsome, sweet, and funny. Jacy is a breath of fresh air for contemporary romance heroines with her Cyndi Lauper-esque style and flirty personality.
The next love story is between Zen, Risk's teammate, and Stevie, Jacy's childhood best friend. Zen has been "kidnapped" by Risk to help with a Frostproof charity event which Stevie is helping coordinate. This was my personal favorite of the three stories in Squeeze Play. Zen is my ideal guy with athleticism and intelligence along with good looks. He falls for Stevie from the moment he met her and just wants to make her happy for most of the book even if it opposes what he wants. Stevie is going through a difficult breakup with her long-time boyfriend and is struggling with her self-image. This love story is quick, but very sweet.
Stevie's ex-boyfriend, Aaron, and his fiancee Natalie are the last love story and the one that really interrupted my overall enjoyment of the book. Aaron is a major league pitcher who just lost the World Series to Risk and Zen's team. He is also from Frostproof, Florida and is in town to help with the charity event. Natalie is the daughter of Aaron's boss and is a difficult character. She comes from money and has a very dominating personality. I enjoy strong women, but Natalie's treatment of Aaron and the people of Frostproof often seemed to go into the realm of bitchiness rather than just being opinionated. There is a small attempt at redeeming Natalie near the end, but it just didn't feel realistic to me.
Besides the love stories, I enjoyed the small-town setting that Angell utilized in Squeeze Play. The people and sites of Frostproof were unique and full of life without taking away from the main storylines. I especially loved the atmosphere at Jacy's coffeeshop. All in all, this was a light, frothy, and funny romance with two great couples, intriguing side characters (love the Bat Pack!), and plenty of sweet moments. I will definitely check out more in this series!
"Outer beauty attracts, but inner beauty captivates."
1. Squeeze Play
3. Strike Zone
4. Sliding Home
5. "Ho, Humbug, Ho" from Santa, Honey anthology
6. Sweet Spot (To Be Released 2012)