I adore sports romances, but I have to admit, Hardball was a little different than what I expected. Going in, I thought it’d be something light-hearted and fun, like a ton of other sports romances I’ve read, but I should’ve known C.D. Reiss would turn up the heat in Hardball and give it an intensity I wasn’t used to in typical sports romances. It’s fast-paced, sexy as hell, and a very enjoyable read. I didn’t LOVE it – there was something missing in the book that prevented me from fully loving the characters, but I would still recommend Hardball for those who love sports and sexytimes.
Vivian is a school librarian and a huge baseball fan. During a school trip, she meets Dash Wallace, a famous player both on and off the baseball field. Vivian feels that Dash is completely out of her league, but circumstances bring them together and the chemistry and tension between them explodes before they know it. Hardball is seriously HAWT. Dash gets down and dirty with the woman he can’t stop thinking about, and these two are seriously smokin’ in bed. What starts off as a sex-only relationship leads to so much more as they get to know each other, but how can a relationship work out when Dash is the kind of person who doesn’t like change?
“You,” he said. “You threw it all in the fire. Things started collapsing right before you, and when you came, everything went to hell. It’s you. I denied it, because if I let you in, I had to start over. I tried to bend it around to not want you. But I can’t deny it anymore. There’s no center without you.”
Vivian is a sweetheart of a heroine, very down-to-earth and relatable. Being with one of the most famous baseball players ever is like a dream come true for her, but falling for one is so much more daunting. Thankfully, she’s the kind of woman who follows her heart. Dash, on the other hand, is a bit frustrating with his push-and-pull attitude with Vivian. You can see how much he wants her and grows to care for her, but it takes a while for him to fully commit to the idea of a long-lasting relationship. He has vulnerabilities that I didn’t expect, and even though I wasn’t too into him during the first half, I was sold on his character by the end of the book.
“I’m telling myself it’s okay to doubt the purpose of my life. … I thought I’d built something stable, but I didn’t. It was shit, because what we have is forever. It can’t be shut down. I can doubt everything, but I don’t doubt that I love you.”
Fast-paced and sexy would be the perfect words to describe Hardball. There’s seriously never a dull moment in the story, and almost every scene is filled with tension. C.D. Reiss wrote the perfect balance of reality and fairytale in Hardball, and I really did enjoy it. It wasn’t perfect, but it’s an entertaining read, and if you love dirty books, I’d recommend this one!
Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.