On the field and off the field, bartender Jeanine Jewell plays, collecting one-night stands like baseball cards. She doesn’t need a man, except to curl her toes and make her scream. She’s learned the hard way that the one who cares more is the one who gets hurt—and the last thing she can handle is getting hurt, or having anyone discover her shameful secret.
Scoring women is easy for catcher Kirk Kennedy—they don’t call him “Catch and Release” for nothing. He never goes back for a repeat performance. Being traded to a new city is an opportunity for new adventures—until he runs into Jeanine and she refuses to go home with him.
Intrigued, Kirk is determined to catch the elusive blonde and keep her to himself. When he proposes a wingman to wingwoman friends without benefits relationship, he’s surprised she accepts.
The no benefits clause soon falls by the wayside when neither Jeanine or Kirk can resist their explosive chemistry together. But despite the sparks between the sheets, they both refuse to acknowledge they’re anything more than friends.
Everything changes when Kirk discovers his past is the one Jeanine is hiding from.
Trigger Warning: The heroine was sexually abused by her foster father and has flashbacks.
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"A truly extraordinary story that fearlessly demonstrates the transforming power and the breathless wonder that love can bring to a life in need.” - Amber on Goodreads
"I couldn't put down this serious story about love overcoming all." - Chantel on Goodreads
I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.
This is my second time reading Rachelle Ayala’s work. Now when I compare this experience with my first I can say without a doubt that there is no comparison. My first experience did not leave a lasting impression. However, Playing Catch will stay with me for a long time to come. It is not your typical love story. This story is gripping, emotional and engaging. I should warn you though it is not for the faint-hearted. If you are unable to deal with the topic of abuse, be it physical, emotional or sexual then this book is not for you.
Playing Catch tells the story of two damaged souls who paths became intertwined with love. Falling in love was never on their agenda. However, love had other plans. It goes to show that love will find you no matter your circumstances and in the least unexpected place. You just have to be mentally and emotionally prepared to embrace it.
The protagonists, Kirk, and Jeanine both suffered issues of sexual addiction, trust, and love. They were both abused at the hands of the person whom they had placed their trust in. Their circumstances were different, but the end result was the same. Despite their childhood being damaged, they both grew to become successful persons as far as their careers are concerned. They both displayed an air of confidence, but beneath the masks lay two emotionally damaged and scarred individuals. To dull the pain of their past, they indulged in the risky behaviour of having one night stands with unknown individuals. It was during one of their escapades that their paths crossed. Little did they know that this meeting would forever change their lives.
The characters were well developed. One can’t help but feel their pain and anguish. There is no way you can read this book and not feel everything that they have been through. I believed the author did a fantastic job of portraying the lives of both characters. Jeanine was my favourite of the two. I enjoyed watching her rise from the ashes like a phoenix as she overcame the obstacles of her past. I was glad to see them both come to the realization that they were not to be blamed for what happened in their past. It was great to see them finally acknowledging they had a problem and taking the necessary steps needed. You can’t help but root for Jeanine and Kirk as you follow them on their journey of self-discovery, healing, and forgiveness.
The story was unique and well written. I was pulled in from the very first page. I had a difficult time putting this one down. It’s not easy explaining what this story did to me. One thing I can say is that after reading Playing Catch, you will never be the same. Be prepared to be bowled over. This story is just about love, it’s filled with pain, anger, anguish and tears. This story is filled with twists that blew my mind. I will not say what they are, as I don’t want to spoil the story. You will have to read the book to discover what I am referring to.
After such glowing remarks, you may be wondering why not five stars. Well, there was a particular aspect of the story that I could not come to terms with. I found it weird that they went away for therapy for sexual addiction at the same location and not only that, there were opportunities for them to have sex. How would that help them to overcome their problems? I would want to think that such a place would have better ways of monitoring their patients. I could be wrong, but that’s just my take on it.
I loved this book. I can’t wait to see what next the author has in her repertoire. If you love romance that will take you on an emotional roller coaster, then I recommend that you get a copy of Playing Catch. Trust me, you will not regret it.
About the author
Rachelle is the founder of an online writing group, Romance in a Month, an active member of the California Writer’s Club, Fremont Chapter, and a volunteer for the World Literary Cafe. She is a very happy woman and lives in California with her husband. She has won awards in multicultural and historical romance.
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