Author ~ Kate McMurray
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Published ~ 16th May 2016
Genre ~ Contemporary Sports M/M Romance
Matt Blanco is a legend on the Brooklyn Eagles, but time and injuries have taken their toll. With his career nearing its end, he’s almost made it to retirement without anyone learning his biggest secret: he’s gay in a profession not particularly known for its tolerance.
Iggy Rodriquez is the hot new rookie in town, landing a position in the starting lineup of the team of his dreams and playing alongside his idol, Matt Blanco. Iggy doesn’t think it can get any better, until an unexpected encounter in the locker room with Matt proves him wrong.
A relationship—and everything it could reveal—has never been in the cards for Matt, but Iggy has him rethinking his priorities. They fall hard for each other, struggling to make it through trades, endorsement deals, and the threat of retirement. Ultimately they will be faced with a choice: love or baseball?
Matt Blanco is the ultimate aging baseball star. He’s loved by the Brooklyn Eagles’ fans and his teammates and is destined for the Hall of Fame. At almost 40 he’s had an amazing career, but he knows his stats aren’t what they were and his time is limited. He’s just hoping that his knee will hold out for a few more seasons.
Iggy Rodriguez is the hot young third baseman. Already expected to be Rookie of the Year he is living his dream of playing major league ball for the Eagles with his idol Matt Blanco. Not only is Iggy in awe of the man’s talent, he’s had a crush on him for years.
Attraction quickly sparks between the two and when they realize they’re both gay, the draw of regular sex and having an ally on the team with just as much to lose quickly trumps the potential for disaster if they are caught. The men think they’ve hit a home run but as it goes in the big leagues, injuries, trades and the business of baseball could change the game in the blink of an eye. The story follows Matt and Iggy over a four year period where their relationship is tested not just by the game they both love, but by all those pesky feelings that develop between them.
Considering baseball is my favorite sport, I’ve read relatively few m/m baseball stories. This is one that was recommended to me and had been on my TBR for ages and I’m glad I finally got the chance to read it. One thing that comes through quite clearly in this book is Kate McMurray’s love of the game. This second edition has been re-edited and updated to reflect the recent steps taken by Major League Baseball with regard to protecting players regardless of their sexual orientation, including the 2014 hiring of openly gay former player Billy Bean to work with teams on inclusion and education.
I don’t want to give any of the story away since I really enjoyed wondering how things would play out. The men face a lot of changes and a lot of ups and downs over the years. I loved having both their points of view and seeing things from the vantage point of the veteran as opposed to the rookie. Matt looks at things differently and fears for Iggy’s career if they are outed. He doesn’t want to be the one that holds Iggy back or drags him down. Iggy doesn’t have the experience yet with handling the media and fans and is a bit more aggressive in wanting more with Matt when it’s clear that “just sex” has morphed into something more.
Both men are in new territory as far as having a real relationship is concerned and it shows, but it is clear that they were made for each other. When Matt finally leaves the sport and realizes baseball is all he knows, that really changes things and throws up a whole new set of potential problems for the couple. The sex is hot, the characters are endearing and the story works well on both the sports angle and the love story. There is plenty of drama and emotion, most of it revolving around staying closeted in a sport not known for acceptance, but also just the everyday difficulties of making a relationship work. Even superstar sports figures get nervous when meeting their boyfriend’s mother for the first time or realizing that they do, in fact, have a boyfriend.
Being a fan of the game is definitely a bonus where the story is concerned, but even if you aren’t, I think you’ll be able to appreciate this as a wonderful romance between two sexy, sweet men who just want to be able to love who they want on their own terms and are willing to fight for it.
Connect with the Author
Kate McMurray is an award-winning romance author and an unabashed romance fan. When she’s not writing, she works as a nonfiction editor, dabbles in various crafts, and is maybe a tiny bit obsessed with baseball. She has served as President of Rainbow Romance Writers and is currently the president of the New York City chapter of RWA. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.