Title: Reading the Signs
Author: Keira Andrews
Publisher: K.A. Books
Release Date: September 23, 2016
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance, Baseball
Page Count: 293
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
This hot-headed rookie needs discipline—on and off the field.
Pitcher Nico Agresta is desperate to live up to his family’s baseball legacy. Since he was a teenager crushing on his big brother’s teammate, he’s known he can’t act on his desires. His father’s made it clear there should be no queers on the field, but if Nico can win Rookie of the Year like his dad and brother did, maybe he can prove he’s worthy after all.
At 34, veteran catcher Jake Fitzgerald just wants to finish out his contract and retire. His team doesn’t have a prayer of making the playoffs, but who needs the stress? Jake lost his passion for the game—and life—after driving away the man he loved, and he swore he’d never risk his heart again.
Then he’s traded to a team that wants a vet behind the plate to tame their new star pitcher. Jake is shocked to find the gangly kid he once knew has grown into a gorgeous young man. But tightly wound Nico’s having trouble controlling his temper in his quest for perfection, and Jake needs to teach him patience and restraint on the mound.
When their push and pull explodes into the bedroom, Nico and Jake will both learn how much they’ll risk for love.
This gay sports romance features men who have been repressing their feelings far too long, light BDSM, an age difference, sweaty locker rooms, and a happy ending. 86,000 words.
Meet Nico Agresta (pitcher) and Jake Fitzgerald (catcher) … for the fictional Ottawa Capitals major league baseball team. Nico’s father and brother Marco both won Rookie of the Year, and the pressure is on for Nico to do the same. Jake Fitzgerald, Marco’s teammate back in Chicago, remembers Nico as an awkward 13-year-old and when Jake is traded to the Caps, he reconnects with Nico who at 22 is a gorgeous man who still has a desperate very lustful crush on Jake.
Their story develops slowly as Jake works with Nico to fine-tune his pitching game through discipline and patience. And frankly Nico is a mess, trying to deny his sexuality (“No queers in baseball. Not allowed.”), needing to win to impress his demanding father, and still struggling with childhood traumas. Jake, on the other hand, quit loving baseball years ago and at age 34, is looking to retire: “Two more seasons after this one. Then I can just fade away and have a normal life. […] He’d find another fuck buddy or two wherever he ended up after retirement, and that would be that. No muss, no fuss.”
But when Nico and Jake connect, everything changes. There is some very light BDSM, i.e. Jake needs to control and to protect, and for Nico giving up control is liberating and freeing from all the demands he internalizes. And it is messy, raw and hotter than fuck:
“I want more than that. […] To fuck you. And I’m not sure if I should, or if that’s what you want right now. What you need. And if you do want it, I’m not sure how to do it.” He tugged at the neck of his tank top. “Should it be rough? Do you want me to spank you tonight? Do you want to see my face the first time? Because I want to see yours. But I could pound you too, get you on your hands and knees to take my cock. Am I going to hurt you? Do you want me to? Or do you want to go slow?” Nico opened and closed his mouth. Finally, he whispered, “Yes.” “Which part?” “All of it.”
The sizzling sex scenes in “Reading the Signs” felt integral to Jake and Nico unearthing their true selves. Andrews also does a great job with the cast of secondary characters (Jake’s mother, Nico’s family, team mates) and the HEA ending was just right. Keira Andrews writes beautifully and passionately about baseball and I would love to read more from her with this setting. The book is a good solid 4.25 stars and I really recommend it!
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