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The Winning Season by Alison Packard

The Winning Season

by Alison Packard

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354321,274 (3.79)1



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I loved about 75-80% of this book: watching Matt and Kelly go from two people who can barely stand to be in the same room to two people who can't be apart for the space of a road trip was fantastic. Great chemistry, and fabulous dialogue galore! Both hero and heroine have issues in their past that they end up sharing with each other--again, awesome--and if you've read Love in the Afternoon , Kelly's Kayla's sister and Matt's Sean's best friends, so you'll appreciate seeing them pop up in this story too.


The relationship's "black moment" really rubbed me the wrong way. Okay, it was an issue Matt was extremely sensitive about, I get that. And yeah, he'd only shared it with a very select few people. But why on earth he'd immediately suspect Kelly of causing the problem made zero sense to me. Nothing she'd done up to that point indicated that she'd be capable of doing anything even in remotely the same neighborhood as what he accused her of doing, and that bothered me to no end that he was so quick to assume and acted so hatefully. It was pretty obvious to the reader what had happened, but it felt like Matt was just looking for the easy way out and that was aggravating.

Cute ending, but he should have done waaaaaaaay more grovelling to make up for his asinine accusations. On the strength of the majority of the book, though, I'm continuing with the series--for the most part, I do enjoy Ms. Packard's writing.

Rating: 4 stars / B ( )
  beckymmoe | Feb 15, 2016 |
Kelly Maxwell was a great heroine with many layers to her personality. As the person who handled all aspects off public relations for the San Francisco Blaze MLB team, she had a reputation to upkeep. She was tough as nails, she was very dedicated to her job and she loved the game itself. She even played on a softball team, and she was damn good at it. On a more personal level, she had quite a temper when riled up, she could swear like a sailor, she was competitive and she was four years along in her recovery from an eating disorder. For the most part, her body image wasn't that much of an issue for her, but once in a while an old insecurity would rear its ugly head. The mentions served to show just how far she'd come, but it also showed the her continuous struggle not to fall off the wagon. I liked that strength in her.

Matt Scanlon wasn't a hero I instantly fell in love with. At least, not at first. Getting traded from his beloved L.A. Dodgers to the rival team was just the tip of the iceberg that made him come across as a jerk. From poster boy to bad boy. A tragedy, a secret kept out of the media's eye, caused him to hit rock bottom. It was when he was at his worst that he met Kelly for the first time, and the sparks went flying, but not in a good way. A few choice insults back and forth, and it was a match made in hell. I liked the contrasting portrayal of his character throughout the story, especially with the hints that he hadn't always been self-destructive. On a good day, he was cocky, confident, and he was learning to accept his place within his new team.

I absolutely loved Kelly and Matt as a couple. This couple invoked so many laugh out loud moments with their dialogues and great lines. He loved riling her up, and she gave back as good a she got. It wasn't always a form of verbal foreplay but rather two incredibly stubborn individuals not willing to give an inch. Finding a reason to call a tentative truce seemed almost impossible, until Matt was chosen by a precious little girl, Lily, as her hero. The relationship eventually morphed from animosity into attraction, and I loved that Matt began to see her in a different light after watching her play. Their bond continued to grow and strengthened over their mutual concern for Lily, and with the awareness of the sexual tension between them. When they finally came together, it was so worth the struggle to get to that point. There were so many lovely moments between them, but what really stood out to me where the times when they didn't beat around the bush when it came to opening up. That was a sign of maturity I often find lacking in other books.

The story and the development of their relationship was nicely and evenly paced. There were a lot of other things happening on the side, but I never got the feeling that they slowed the story down in any way. In fact, they served to provide a more well-rounded view of Kelly and Matt's lives in the business as well as in their personal lives. The glimpses of Kelly's family were a really sweet addition. The drama portion of the story was a little predictable, but in the end, I loved how our couple came by their epiphanies on their own.

I will undoubtedly be reaching for this book repeatedly in the future.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the publisher for the purpose of an honest review. ( )
  MsRomanticReads | Jan 22, 2016 |
I'm kind of a sucker for sports romances. This was a pretty good one. I enjoyed both main characters and the baseball setting. ( )
  cranberrytarts | Sep 22, 2013 |
4.5 stars

Lovely sports romance about a heroine with some serious body issues and a hero who comes out of a dark place in his life. ( )
  ClaudiaGC | Sep 21, 2013 |
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