“Love ’em and leave ’em” has been real estate agent Karen Bently’s motto for as long as she can remember. She doesn’t need a man, except to make her toes curl. Or so she thought, until her longtime crush, Ace pitcher Jerry Smutton, sets his sights on her.
After signing one of the largest baseball contracts in history with the Detroit Rockets, Jerry enlists Karen to help him find the house of his dreams. Their connection is instant and electric, but neither of them is the relationship type. When Jerry proposes a friends-with-benefits arrangement, that suits Karen just fine.
Passionate sleepovers soon turn into long, romantic evenings… Still, Karen and Jerry refuse to acknowledge they’re a couple. Karen insists that she’s immune to Jerry’s heart-melting charm. Jerry’s not ready to settle down. Denial is the name of the game, until one pitch changes everything…
*Blurb from Goodreads*
Although I had some mixed feelings about the first book in this series, I was intrigued enough by both Jerry and Karen to give this book a try.
Jerry just signed a deal as the Ace pitcher of the Detroit Rockets, but for some reason, his game starts to suffer. He and his coaches can’t figure out what the problem is, as he hasn’t changed anything with his pitching arm. The only thing in Jerry’s live that has changed is Karen. While he proposes a friends with benefits type situation, little does he realize just how important Karen is to him than more than just a naked buddy.
Karen knows that she could fall in love with Jerry, but she is determined to keep her heart safe behind the wall she built up years ago. She isn’t willing to risk her feelings, so she struggles with her relationship with Jerry, in whatever form it takes. But as things go south in their relationship, Karen realizes that perfection isn’t possible, but they come pretty damn close.
While I thought this book started off strong, it really went downhill for me. It felt like Shaw was trying to add in so many different threads, that I felt like the plot got a bit bogged down with everything that was going on. I really wish she would have focused a bit more on one or two aspects of the plot, instead of throwing multiple different tropes into the book, making it a little convoluted to follow toward the end.
Although I liked Karen’s carefree attitude in the first book, she came across as a bit of a bitch in this one. She was so hurt and let down by her past that she really let that color her view of the present. She would constantly lie to herself, and refuse to see the truth so that she wouldn’t have to face the fact that she and Jerry were in a relationship. While I could understand where she was coming from in the beginning, her reluctance to be an adult really started to get on my nerves as the book continued. Especially since she used her attitude and history as a way to constantly push Jerry away. She needed to do a hell of a lot more groveling than she did.
Thankfully, Jerry was a better character, in my opinion. He was fun and didn’t take life too seriously. Yet when times got tough for him, he tried to deal with it in the best way possible and never tried to just shove his head in the sand and wait for opportunities to pass him by. I liked that about Jerry. Even when he was seriously knocked down, he gave himself some time to throw a pity party, but then he dove back into whatever he needed to do to better himself. In that regard, he was a damn good hero.
The romance, however, fell pretty flat. I don’t know if my feelings toward Karen colored their relationship a bit, but I thought she was extremely immature and childish in the way she treated Jerry. I really wanted her to buck up and act like an adult well before she did, and the one step forward, two giant leaps back romance just didn’t work for me.
All in all, I wasn’t super impressed with the second book in the Men of the Show series. I would have liked to see Karen’s character grow a lot sooner in the book than she did, because she childish ways really started to bother me. While I liked Jerry as a hero, he wasn’t enough to overcome the heroine and the romance that I felt needed more emotional development and less physical.
I give The Ace a C