Publisher: Carina Press
Publish Date: Out now
How we got this book: ARC from the publisher via Netgalley
Regan Hunter came to tennis late in life, but she’s worked hard to become one of the world’s top players. Beating the odds has made her unstoppable on the court and neurotically controlling off of it. So when her manager hires a new coach, a has-been who left the sport after a scandal, Regan wants him gone, fast.
Ben Percy, a former Grand Slam winner, is well aware of Regan’s reputation for driving coaches away—usually screaming. But working with the notoriously mercurial Regan could be just the break he needs to take his career to the next level, and he’s never been one to scare easily. He must stick to only one rule: hands off Regan.
Keeping his distance from Regan is more difficult than Ben ever imagined. Behind her tough, sexy exterior is a woman he wants to get to know better. And Regan feels a connection with her patient, easy-on-the-eyes coach that’s hard to ignore. But with the biggest championship of all on the line, romance may be completely out of bounds…
Blurb from Goodreads
MinnChica: The sports romance reviews continue!! I’m not a huge tennis fan, in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever watched a full tennis match in my entire life. However, the blurb of this book was intriguing, and I was willing to take a chance on a sport I know nothing about, and have no real feelings for, because I liked the set up of the romance between Regan and Ben. And I’m glad I decided to take that chance! I liked this story, and thought it was cute.
E: While I enjoy sports romance I am not as obsessed as MinnChica so I stumbled on this during my random browsing. I have started to enjoy watching tennis and this struck me as if it would be intriguing so I decided to give it a try. I am certainly glad that I did because I loved getting to know Regan and Ben, their skeletons in the closet, and watching them trust again. The journey through their romance was sweet, touching, and entertaining at the same time.
MinnChica: I wasn’t too sure how I would feel about Regan, especially since she comes across as a character who has a very large chip on her shoulder. She was defensive and rude, and I was honestly a little worried about whether or not we would get to see a softer side of her. And we did. It might have taken some time, and Regan had quite a few bumps to get over, but once we got the chance to see her, to see past her insecurities, we got to see a complex and fun heroine.
E: I will admit I was also concerned about Regan especially with her introductory scene, but I loved how Ben refused to let Regan get to him and dictate their professional relationship. I think the little insights into Regan’s mind certainly helped me feel more sympathetic towards her character and see her actions as part of the whole not her entire person. The fact that Ben had gone through a trial by fire at a relatively young age meant he was able to recognize some of Regan’s actions as symptoms of a greater issue but that didn’t mean he was going to let her get away with unwarranted diva-ish behavior especially when it was harming her chances at success. I was really touched each time Regan tried to do something nice for others even when it came out misunderstood because she was really attempting to demonstrate her caring; something I think previously was only shown to her family.
MinnChica: I adored Ben, he was so level headed and even-keeled. He didn’t like any of Regan’s temper tantrums get to him, and he took everything in stride. I loved that about him. I also liked that he didn’t immediately fall into bed with Regan, especially after the attraction between them was clear. He valued his position as her coach, and I loved that he didn’t want to jeopardize that in any way. It lent to the strength of his character.
E: Ben was a lot of fun. Like you I was very glad he had goals, standards, and dreams as well as an ethical code. I enjoyed watching him figure out what made Regan tick and how to motivate her to not only play well but to trust that he was there for her so she could just enter the zone of playing instinctively without over-thinking her actions. He was a very strong character and part of what I admired about him was his ability to admit when he was wrong, apologize, and figure out how to fix it. I also really enjoyed seeing him as an emotionally mature hero without getting the feeling it was caused by an obvious age difference.
MinnChica: All in all, I thought this was a great romance, and the book did a wonderful job of keeping me excited about a sport I don’t have much interest in. Crowley has a really engaging way of writing, and I loved the development of not only each of the characters, but the plot and romance overall. I hope that Crowley will continue to write more sports romance books, as I very much enjoyed this one.
I give Love in Straight Sets a B+
E: I really enjoyed reading this romance. I got a taste of the inner workings of a sport but the focus was on the emotional growth of Ben and Regan. I thought the way Crowley didn’t gloss over some of the uglier aspects of the sports world while not allowing it to drag me down while reading was very deftly done. Like MinnChica, I am going to look forward to reading more romances by Crowley.
I give Love in Straight Sets a B+