Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for newly released M/M sports romance from Keira Andrews. I’ve always admired Ms. Andrews’ contemporary romances, be they Amish (A FORBIDDEN RUMSPRINGA) or disaster-related (BEYOND THE SEA), but I really fell hard for the yummy older/younger, slightly kinky, love affair that bloomed between pitcher and catcher in READING THE SIGNS.
About the book:
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.
I absolutely loved this delicious, slightly kinky, M/M baseball romance.
Jake Fitzgerald is a seasoned veteran catcher in the big leagues, and he’s got a comfortable life playing for a team that’s never in contention come October. While closeted, Jake has a casual arrangement with a married couple who enjoy a third now and again. He never has to worry about the only man he ever loved, his ex-best friend Brandon, who was long ago traded to Toronto. He doesn’t have to worry at all, really. His mother has long encouraged him to come out and find a suitable life partner, but Jake doesn’t want to get hurt, not like when Brandon found the love of his life and married her. Jake wants to go through the motions of life, hiding his heart and his true self from the limelight until he retires in a couple seasons.
Until he’s traded to Ottawa. To a young expansion team hungry to make the playoffs and needing a cool head behind the plate to guide their hot-shot pitchers, especially Nico Agresta.
Nico is a rookie, having a stellar season on the mound, except for his temper. Once he loses control, even for a moment, he piles all his mistakes into an unscalable mountain. And, his casually homophobic father never lets up on Nico. A retired Hall of Famer, Al Agresta is ready with six comments on how Nico can improve his performance the second Nico steps off the mound. Nico’s quietly grateful that he plays in Ottawa, and not Chicago like his elder brother, just so he gets a break from their father’s scrutiny. Not that Nico ever stops berating himself. For not being straight, or for being the reason his mother died. He’s only more unsettled when Jake joins the team and begins working with him regularly. Jake was Nico’s first crush–years ago Jake and Nico’s brother played together, and Jake spent many a Sunday dinner at their house. It was natural for Jake to take Nico under his wing and help him with his fastball. Now, Nico’s ashamed of all the fantasies he’d built around Jake as a horny teen–and he’s mortified to find himself only more attracted as a grown, and sexually unsatisfied, man. He’s been with lots of women, hoping to find one that would spark more than just a perfunctory release, but one smile from Jake has him panting. He can’t escape his lust–which turns Nioc’s anxiety setting up to 20.
Jake and Nico reconnect, and Jake can’t help finding this all-grown version of Nico completely enticing. That he’s a brat in the clubhouse isn’t appealing however, and one incendiary moment burns both of their better sense to ashes. Nico’s attitude needs immediate correction, and Jake’s dominant hackles have been raised. The rest is whoa.
They know they can’t mess around near the team, but the peace Nico gains when Jake takes control is more than he can give up. Expect a little bit of kink. Spanking, dominating, a little bondage. Reminded me of BULL DURHAM, how Annie gets Nuke to think of other things on the mound so he can just throw the ball. Jake doesn’t make him “respect the streak” or anything. They develop a closeness that neither man had ever experienced before, even if it’s all behind closed doors. Even if it means Jake putting up with Al’s homophobic tripe at a home-cooked dinner when Ottawa comes to Chi-Town.
I absolutely loved the slow burn, and multi-layered characters. Al’s not a bad guy–he’s antiquated and old school, think Yogi Berra with a chip on his shoulder. But, when he learns the truth of Nico and his sexuality, Al reconsiders. Al measures his words, and the impact they had on his youngest child. Al…changes. It’s not miraculous, but there is improvement. And, when news breaks regarding Nico and Jake, well, Nico has his dad’s love and fierce protection in a way he’d never dreamed possible. People talk about mama bears–Al Agresta is freaking grizzly. I also loved how Jake came to terms with his past mistakes, and mends the friendships he’d wounded in silence, and intent. I also really liked how his attitude changed regarding baseball. He started out jaded and willing to coast, but the season in Ottawa sparked his love of the game again.
I loved the book, because it felt real and wild. I do hope the MLB would support it’s out players in the way Nico and Jake were, and fans would be as spectacular IRL as in fiction.
About the Author:
After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, paranormal and fantasy fiction, and—although she loves delicious angst along the way—Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said, “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.”
Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!