There's something you should know about me: I don't like baseball. Which, I realize, makes me downright un-American. However, since Jill Shalvis's Double Play
has baseball at its core, this fact was important for you to know. (And, please, don't try to convert me. I've tried to like baseball, but there just isn't enough beer in Portland for me to find it interesting.)
Pace Martin is a pitcher for the Pacific Heat, an expansion team based in Santa Barbara. He is only one of several absurdly good-looking players on the team. (Honestly, it's a whole team of hunkaliciousness, which just doesn't seem possible.) Holly Hutchins is a reporter working on a series of stories about the team. She, naturally, is a hottie who is unaware of her own hotness. Pace is fighting an injury that he's trying desperately to hide, which may actually be making said injury worse. Holly is relationship-shy after her last piece of investigative journalism ended up bringing down the guy she was dating. There's a doping scandal, some cute kids from a bad neighborhood whom Pace is mentoring, information leaks that get laid at Holly's feet, etc. There are, on the surface, a lot of clichés, and I wouldn't have picked up this book if I hadn't had a really wonderful experience with one of the author's previous books, Instant Attraction.
But, somehow, in the reading, it doesn't really come across as cliché. The villain? Not really very villain-y. The cute kids? Not always so cute. The misunderstandings? Well, this is where I think Shalvis really shines. She doesn't let any of these bumps in the road turn into roadblocks, because her hero and heroine actually talk to each other and work through things like grown-ups. And then, of course, they have hot, steamy make-up sex. But, they talk to each other. Like people do in the real world. Which doesn't always happen in novels, because where's the drama and angst in that?
Double Play even kind of made me want to go to a baseball game. But, I'll still need a lot of beer.