love of the game book coverReviewed by Kelly Ferjutz

It’s summertime. Start with baseball, add in a touch of fantasy (of the sort to make every girl’s heart go pitter-patter!) and one can hardly go wrong with Love of the Game, the third volume of Lori Wilde’s Stardust, Texas series. The hero, Axel Richmond is way more macho than he needs to be for his own good, which of course, he refuses to acknowledge or understand, much less admit to. Currently, he is a baseball pitcher with a sore shoulder. Ouch! The female lead, however, is not your standard issue heroine. No, she’s a Ph.D in sports physical therapy, overcoming a tragic childhood, thanks to having been adopted by a great couple who treat all their well-loved adopted girls as their own.

Kasha Carlyle always knew the warm and loving couple really wanted her, as opposed to her birth parents who didn’t. And made no bones about it. She had already achieved her doctorate before discovering the existence of Emma, a slightly younger half-sister (from her birth father) who has Down Syndrome. It makes no difference whatsoever to Kasha. What matters is that Emma is a real, blood relative–the only one known to her, in the whole world. There is a strong family bond between the two sisters right from the start. But while Emma is really in her mid-20s and bright, mentally she will always be eight.

Axel not only has a sore shoulder, which the Dallas Gunslingers baseball team hopes to remedy by hiring Kasha, but he has also suffered the loss of a young son. The two create Texas-sized sparks almost from the get-go, way before the fantasy opens up. It’s the old immovable force (Kasha) meeting up with not one, but two irresistible objects (Axel and Emma), and between them, they’ll derail all of Kasha’s hopes.

If you’ve read previous books by Ms. Wilde, you’ll know that she creates ultra-strong and absolutely believable sexual tension in her stories, and this one is no exception. Real life teaches us that sometimes you have to compromise your hopes and dreams in order to get what you really need and should have. Sometimes, the wish that has propelled you for years isn’t the best one. Fortunately, due to Kasha’s adoptive family and Emma’s foster family, Kasha and Axel find their happy-ever-after ending. This one is a real winner!

First and foremost, Kelly is a reader, then a writer and editor. She adores Regency-set novels, and cozy mysteries. Every now and then, however, she finds something else to enjoy if it has a great premise with characters who belong in there, and fabulous writing! She writes under her own name, as well as her pen-name, Hetty St. James.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Avon. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.