By Karen Rock
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age category: Adult
Release Date: 1 December, 2014
He was attractive, talented…and way off limits.
Heather Gadway may have been a world-class college pitcher and a top university coach, but she’s a rank amateur when it comes to managing the Falcons, her father’s struggling minor league team. And when it comes to managing her aggravating attraction to Garrett Wolf, their talented new pitcher. It’s going to be difficult enough to make it as the first female manager in the league and prove to her overly critical father she’s worthy. No distractions. No missteps. And certainly no romances with players. Everything stands between them—including their troubled pasts—even as Heather’s world falls apart and Garrett’s the one who’s there to catch her…
Award-winning author Karen Rock’s romance, A League of Her Own, gives us a peek into the realm of professional baseball via Heather Gadway, a world-class college pitcher and a top university coach. With her whole existence spinning off the sport, she wonders why her father doesn’t give her an opportunity to work with the Falcons–a Minor League team which has been in their family for three generations.
Heather gets her chance, though not in the way she’d hoped, when her father suffers a heart attack. Taking a leave of absence from her position in California, she heads home to Holly Springs, North Carolina. Her father is about to sell the team for an unbelievably low price, since it’s been losing money for several years, and it takes some serious negotiating for Heather to convince her father to allow her to manage the team and bring them back to a winning status. Her relationship with him has always been strained, and she’s tired of his “You-could-do-better” attitude. With a limited time in which to turn the Falcons around, Heather has her work cut out for her, but she must first garner the team’s respect.
When Heather meets Garrett, a new starting pitcher struggling to get back into the game after a bout with alcohol, they both realize a relationship would be a mistake, but they’re undeniably attracted to each other. He thinks dating the owner’s daughter is the last thing he needs, and Heather wonders if Garrett will be an asset or a liability for the Falcons. Growing up in a foster home was difficult for Garrett, but Heather’s home life wasn’t much better. With a mother addicted to medications, she found herself walking on eggshells much of the time, and she’s not sure she can trust Garrett concerning his alcoholism.
The author’s knowledge of baseball is obvious as she deftly intertwines the mechanics of the sport into her story, giving a realistic portrayal of life in a baseball league, as well as relationships and struggles. I highly recommend this well-crafted romance, especially to those interested in a heartfelt story.
About the Author:
Karen Rock is an award-winning YA and adult contemporary romance author. She holds a master’s degree in English and worked as an ELA instructor before becoming a full-time writer. Currently she writes for Harlequin Heartwarming and her first novel for the line, WISH ME TOMORROW, has won the 2014 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, the 2014 Golden Quill Contest and a finalist in the Published Maggie Awards. The first novel in her co-authored YA series, CAMP BOYFRIEND, has been a finalist in the Booksellers Best and Golden Leaf awards.
Garrett’s grumbling teammates filed out of the pre-game meeting, followed by the coaches and Heather’s father. Garrett, however, remained in his seat, watching the lithe young woman as she stood by the door.
At last she turned to him.
“We meet again. Garrett, right?”
He stood and strode to the door. When he stopped, her eyes widened, caution swimming in their depths.
“You mentioned having individual meetings,” he said, keeping his voice even, hiding the irritation shimmering through him. “I thought we’d have ours now.”
She blinked up at him, and her lips moved. Though he strained to hear, he couldn’t make out what she’d said.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that.”
A bright pink suffused her cheeks, and he forced himself not to notice how pretty the color made her.
“I said that I haven’t finished my notes for you yet. I’ll watch you pitch tomorrow. We’ll meet after that.”
He had to give it to her. Soft-spoken or not, she had a direct way about her. He didn’t doubt that she could lead…just not professional baseball players. “That’s what I wanted to talk to you about. I’m requesting to be released from my contract. This isn’t the right place for me to advance in my career.”
Her mobile face stilled. “And why would that be?”
“Look, I’ll be blunt.” He tapped his fingers on the sides of his legs. “This team isn’t hustling, and it’ll be a long time before they come around to supporting you. Things will get worse instead of better. I have a limited window of opportunity to advance. Given these factors, my bottom-line pitching won’t look good with a losing team behind me. I’d like to help you, but selfishly, this is my last shot.”
A speculative gleam entered her eyes. “So you’re asking to be released because you think I can’t help you reach your goals.”
A long breath rushed out of him. She was going to be reasonable. “That’d be great. Thank you.”
She arched an eyebrow. “You’re wrong, and I’ll be as frank with you as you were with me.”
He held his tongue and waited to hear her out.
“I think you’re overvaluing yourself.” She nodded when his mouth dropped open. Guys talked this way to each other. Not women…especially not pretty women…to him.
“Your control isn’t where it should be, and if that’s not addressed, you’ll also be another reason why this team isn’t doing well. But you have potential, and I can help you.”
“Right,” he scoffed. What could a softball pitcher do for him? “No offense, but I need someone with more experience.”
She tapped her chin and angled her head, her eyes flashing up at him. “If I can change your mind about that, will you drop your request and give me your support and a hundred percent effort?”
He held in a laugh. Was she for real? There wasn’t a chance she could change his decision. “What do you have in mind?”
She stepped closer, and her subtle citrus scent curled beneath his nose.
“A contest. If I get more strikes out of twenty pitches than you do, you stay. If you have more, then I’ll release you.”
He stared at her. Processing. She couldn’t be serious. Sure, he had control issues, but he was still better than a college-level player. She was making this easy. But if she was foolish enough to offer him this out, he’d take it.
They eyed each other for a long, tense moment before he jerked his chin at her.