Reviewed by Bel
Passion dominates the diamond in the second novel in this fun and flirty baseball romance series by the author of High Heat.
Paul Dudley, president of the Plainview Thrashers, is spinning out of control. Preserving his family’s baseball legacy in these tough times takes everything he’s got, and constant clashes with his father have left him struggling for authority over the team and even his own future. So when sports reporter Willow Bourne, a one-night-stand from a year ago, walks back into his life, he knows he can’t give into his feelings for her—no matter how strong they are.
Willow never expected to see Paul again, and she’s got her reasons for keeping her distance. Except the more time she spends around Paul, the harder it is to hide her secrets—or stop herself from falling head over heels.
As the sparks between them fly, Paul discovers what Willow has been concealing from him, leaving him with a difficult choice—keep the team his top priority or make his own legacy by following his heart…
I was skeptical initially about another reporter-meets-sports-star romance because there are so many of them, but this one is told from a slightly different perspective with the hero, Paul being the owner of a local team.
Willow's latest assignment for the sports blog she works for has her covering a local Indiana baseball franchise, the Plainvew Thrashers. Little does she expect to be hit with a blast from her past. Paul and Willow have met previously a year ago when they had a one-night stand in Florida and neither has forgotten that encounter. In Willow’s case it was really hard because that brief union left her with a memento of their hot, passionate night. They went their separate ways after that and it looked like they’d never run into each other again. Then Willow gets this assignment which is a good career opportunity and a chance to make something good come of it for herself and her child. When they meet again, it’s as if all the stars aligned to make it happen. This brings up mixed feelings for Willow who wants to maintain professionalism and keep her private life to herself. She doesn’t even want to bring it up to Paul that he’s a dad. Paul on the other hand wants nothing more than to to have what he's been yearning for for the past year – to be with the girl that he let slip away.
Since they have to work on this article together and be on their best behaviour, they maneuver around each other rather awkwardly. Paul tries to get close but Willow tends to make excuses to push him away. She'd like nothing more than to throw herself into his arms but will Paul want the same thing once he finds out they share more than that one night? And as if things aren't complicated enough, there seems to be an interesting back story regarding the Plainview Thrashers and the team’s ownership which could propel the story in a far different direction. Will Paul be so amenable to the idea of them as a couple if she does her job right and exposes some unsavory details about the club?
Screwball was fun to read and I really enjoyed the setting. Like I said at the beginning, I felt it had a different tone since this time there’s no dealing with athletes’ egos (well, maybe the unruly team manager’s but he’s fun!). There's not a whole lot of angst –just two adults working out their problems and making compromises. Screwball is the second in the Hard Hitters series and since I’ve not read the first one, High Heat, I plan on correcting that soon!