Title: Love of the Game
A sexy sports superstar discovers his body isn’t the only thing that needs healing in this newest Stardust, Texas novel from New York Times bestselling author Lori Wilde.
With major league good looks and talent, Dallas Gunslingers relief pitcher Axel Richmond was living the good life. Even if the roar of the crowd could never distract him from the loss of his young son. But now with an injured shoulder and his career on the line, Axel is stuck recuperating at a ranch in Stardust, Texas . . . striking out only with his gorgeous physical therapist.
Kasha Carlyle has one week to get Axel back in action or she can kiss her much-needed job with the Gunslingers goodbye. And any chance to seek custody of the orphaned half-sister she never knew existed. She quickly learns that Axel’s guarded heart also needs healing . . . requiring all kinds of sneaky plays and sexy moves in extra innings.
Author: Lori Wilde
Other books by this author that we've reviewed: Christmas at Twilight, Rules of the Game, I'll Be Home for Christmas, The Christmas Cookie Collection
Series: , Texas #3
Other books in this series that we've reviewed: Christmas at Twilight
Published by Avon Source: Publisher
Published: April 26, 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
See the title at Goodreads
Purchase your copy: Amazon
Visit the Author's Website
Visit the Goodreads Series Page
Lori Wilde delivered big in the third installment of her Stardust, Texas series. Kasha, a reserved, tightly self-controlled physical therapist, is assigned to work with the driven, easygoing relief pitcher of the Gunslingers, Axel Richmond. On the surface, I was sure this was going to be an opposites attract kind of story, and it was…to a point. Wilde took it one step further, though – both Kasha and Axel have serious life heartaches that affects how they live their lives.
It was lovely to see how Kasha and Axel leaned on each other as their trust began to grow, and once their heartaches are revealed (Kasha’s bio parents; Axel’s son), the emotional level of this novel amps up. I felt disconnected from Kasha until her inner conflict is explained – and that was a brilliant move by Wilde. It was such a lightbulb moment for me; I wasn’t supposed to be connected to Kasha, because she was so reserved, so introverted, so very much an island…and it was a powerful moment as a reader.
Axel was a great foil to Kasha’s personality. In his private moments, he still deeply mourned his son, but his heart began the healing process (as much as it can with the loss of a child) by the time we meet him. Watching him grow, seeing him delve into a deeper understanding of himself, gave such credence to the therapeutic changes throughout the novel. Again, I was impressed by Wilde’s ability to draw me in and allow me to see the process he went through.
I have only two criticisms about THE LOVE OF THE GAME. The first is the number of times “sexual tension” was mentioned. They’re in a room, and “there was a sudden sexual tension.” They’re in a car, and “there was a sudden sexual tension.” (Okay, those aren’t direct quotes from the book, but you get what I’m saying, right?) I prefer to be shown sexual tension via a look, a catch of breath, an accidental touch…there was definitely more telling than showing. Also, the smexy scenes were a little cringe-worthy for me. I won’t go into detail, but suffice to say that the erogenous zones on Kasha made me feel all kinds of weird. Not kinky, per say…just weird and not to my taste. I was immediately pulled out of the story, and had to really work to get back into the characters.
That being said, I do look forward to more in this series. I just might skip over the sex scenes.
Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2016/03/love-of-game-stardust-texas-3-by-lori.html
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Lori Wilde has sold seventy-eight works of fiction to four major New York Publishing houses.
Her first NYT bestseller, the third book in her Twilight, Texas series, The First Love Cookie Club has been optioned for a television movie. The town of Granbury, Texas, upon which her fictional town of Twilight, Texas is loosely based, honors Lori with an annual Twilight, Texas weekend each Christmas.
A popular writing instructor, Lori is a two time RITA finalist and has four times been nominated for Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award. She’s won the Colorado Award of Excellence, the Wisconsin Write Touch Award, The Golden Quill, the Lories, and The More than Magic.
Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads |Pinterest
- Lori, thanks for taking the time to chat with us today!
Your new release, LOVE OF THE GAME is the third in the Stardust, Texas Series, which features some very handsome baseball playing heroes. What kind of research goes into writing a new series, especially a series with professional sports involved?
- Hi, thank you for having me. Whenever I start a new book, I do some preliminary research on the setting, the background, and the characters’ occupation. Then I dive into writing. If something comes up during the writing that I don’t know the answer to, I’ll stop and do some quick research. Then once I finish the first draft and jump into revisions, I’ll look for plot hole and missing pieces of research at that point too. Research can involve Internet searches, talking to people in the professions I’m researching, watching TV programs, going to the library, attending an event, or even hands on learning.
- You are probably most well known for your Twilight Texas Series, along with the Jubilee Texas Series (my favorite) and the more recent, Cupid Texas Series. Do you have one series or set of characters that was your favorite to write? Even a couple? Or one title that took the most out of you emotionally to write?
- The most taxing title for me to write was CHRISTMAS AT TWILIGHT, which features characters struggling with mental illness. Several members of my family have struggled with mental disorders. This book took an emotional as I had toput myself back into heart-wrenching situations I’d experienced. But, it was also very cathartic.
- What many readers might not know about you is that you taught a romance course online, which was not only so informative but very personal when it came to feedback and critique. (I took the class and LOVED IT). If you have ONE piece of advice for aspiring romance writers, what would that be?
- Thanks for the compliment. I love to teach writing. I’m actually teaching a class like that again in October through Writers University. https://writeruniv.wordpress.com
My one piece of advice is to get the book done. Just write it. Then write another one and another one. That’s what it takes. Consistent production.
- I read that you are newly certified as a yoga instructor. What have you found to be the biggest benefit by doing yoga? Do you think that it has helped with your creativity when it comes to writing?
- The benefits of yoga have been nothing short of life altering. Yoga has given me my health, sanity and creativity back. I’d lost myself in work and forgotten who I was. Yoga brought me back to me. I’m calmer, healthier, more balanced. It helps me lead a better life.
- What are you working on next? Another Stardust Romance or are you venturing into a new series? Visiting an older series?
- I’m going back to Cupid, Texas to write about four brothers from a ranching dynasty and the four Native American sisters they fall in love with.
It starts like this: an unexpected spark, instant attraction, the jolting jab of oh-so-you-feel-this-too? Flash fire in the belly. A corkscrew twist in the center of the chest. A physical ache that punches low and heavy and spreads out hard and fast through muscles and tendons, blood and bone.
Physical therapist Kasha Carlyle had felt it before, this hot flare, runaway-mine-train-express that stirred fear in the dark recesses of her mind. She’d resisted it then. Resisted it now.
But this? This here? This was something more.
Coal black eyes melted her resistance, seared it to ash. In that stopwatch moment when her gaze struck, and stuck to the steely stare of the Dallas Gunslingers’ most valuable pitcher, Axel Richmond.
He’d just completed a physical therapy session with his trainer, Paul Hernandez, and he was sitting on a bench wearing nothing but red workout pants, his bare chest on display. Every glistening muscle was finely etched. Not a drop of fat on him. He was a splendid specimen of adult male in top physical shape, life and passion oozing from his pores.
The only thing that seemed out of place was the black tattoo over his heart that spelled out
One look and everything and everyone blended and blurred as white-hot need transported them into their own little world far from the sports medicine facility in North Dallas, where baseball coaches, managers, administrators, and sports medicine specialists surrounded them.
For a split second.
Then pure panic set it.
It was Tuesday, May seventeenth, and the second week of Kasha’s three-month probationary period at her new job working with injured major league baseball players.
And she was already falling in lust.
No. No. This simply would not do. Keeping her job was essential.
Now that she had Emma to consider, she urgently needed the bump in salary to pay off the student loans that had gotten her through her PhD. Not to mention the excellent health insurance coverage. Finding out about Emma had changed everything.
Quickly, Kasha peeled her gaze from Axel’s and studied the insignia on the wall above his head—the blue and green Gunslingers crossed dueling pistols logo—but she didn’t see a darn thing. Purposefully, she slowed her breathing, and forced herself to listen to the conversation.
“I wish we had better news,” Dr. Tad Harrison, the lead physician on the team, said to Axel.
Dr. Harrison had been the one to hire Kasha, and the one to caution her that only thirty percent of probationary employees made it past the first three months. “It takes a special breed to work with these ballplayers. They’re long on arrogance and stubbornness and always think they know best.”
“I have a lot of patience,” she’d said because it was true.
“I heard they call you the Exorcist in your current job,” Dr. Harrison had said. “Why is that?”
She couldn’t keep from smiling. “My colleagues say I have a talent for taming difficult clients.”
“And do you?”
“I consider physical therapy a calling.” She folded her hands in her lap, and said without a hint of ego. “I was born for this work.”
Dr. Harrison stroked his chin. “That’s what Rowdy said too.”
Rowdy Blanton was the field manager for the Gunslingers. He was also Kasha’s brother-in-law, married to her younger adoptive sister, Breeanne, and he’d recommended her for the job.
“If I hire you,” Dr. Harrison had continued. “It will be on your own merits, not your relationship to Rowdy. He got you this interview, but that’s as far as nepotism goes.”
“As it should.” Kasha bobbed her head.
The uncertainty of the job was why she hadn’t yet rented an apartment in Dallas. Every day, she made the one hundred and thirty-five mile, one-way trek to the stadium from her hometown of Stardust.
While she was optimistic, she was also practical. She’d learned that fate could derail even the best intentions and you had to be ready to flow whichever way the current took you. For the next three months, until she solidified the job, she would keep making that drive.
Her thoughts took off in a hundred different directions at once. Stalled. Spun. Gathered momentum like an encroaching hurricane. Realizing her mind had wandered, she forcefully shut down the unproductive thoughts and directed her attention back to the patient.
One more look and Kasha was on fire and she hated it. The last thing she wanted right now was to meet a guy, especially this guy. Whose stark dark hair was drenched in the heady sheen of sweat.
He was as sexy as ten kinds of sin, and twice as handsome, and he was studying her through heavily lidded eyes as if she was the most fascinating creature he’d seen in years.
Um . . . yes . . . that’s why her mind had wandered. To keep from dealing with the feelings his hot-to-trot gaze churned inside her.
She let out such a long sigh that everyone in the room swiveled to stare. She kept her face blank and examined her fingernails, pretending she’d discovered a ragged cuticle.
From the moment Axel had strolled into the therapy room with his pro-athlete swagger and princely sense of entitlement, she’d been mesmerized.
Spellbound by the way his fitted T-shirt hugged his intricately muscled body. Then he’d stripped off the shirt, giving her an even more arresting view. A thick head of lush brown hair curled around his ears, and those powerful thighs strained at the seams of his workout pants.