Title: Love of the Game by Lori Wilde
Stardust, Texas Series Book Three
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss
A sexy sports superstar discovers his body isn’t the only thing that needs healing in this newest Stardust, Texas novel from New York Times bestselling author Lori Wilde.
With major league good looks and talent, Dallas Gunslingers relief pitcher Axel Richmond was living the good life. Even if the roar of the crowd could never distract him from the loss of his young son. But now with an injured shoulder and his career on the line, Axel is stuck recuperating at a ranch in Stardust, Texas . . . striking out only with his gorgeous physical therapist.
Kasha Carlyle has one week to get Axel back in action or she can kiss her much-needed job with the Gunslingers goodbye. And any chance to seek custody of the orphaned half-sister she never knew existed. She quickly learns that Axel’s guarded heart also needs healing . . . requiring all kinds of sneaky plays and sexy moves in extra innings.
The third installment in Lori Wilde’s Stardust, TX series, Love of the Game is an endearing romance between an injured baseball player and his physical therapist. With strong professional ethics, plenty of emotional baggage and conflicting priorities, there are numerous obstacles Axel Richmond and Kasha Carlyle must overcome on the road to happily ever after.
Kasha has a lot riding on her new job with the Dallas Gunslingers so she works hard to ensure Axel recovers from a possible career ending shoulder injury. Having recently discovered she has an adult biological half-sister with Down Syndrome, she is doing everything possible to become Emma’s legal guardian. Kasha was adopted as young child after a family tragedy and she is shocked by her strong emotional connection to her sister. Equally stunning is her intense and immediate attraction to Axel and even if her professional relationship with him precludes any type a personal relationship, her need for control would never allow her to give in to her passion for him. Having experienced firsthand the devastating effects of out of control passion, Kasha keeps a tight rein on her emotions and desires.
Axel cannot imagine life without baseball so he is extremely focused on overcoming his injury. Although initially skeptical of Kasha’s treatment plan, he wants to avoid surgery so he reluctantly follows her instructions. Axel is extremely driven and when finds himself at loose ends, he is forced to revisit the very painful memories of the devastating loss of his young son. He is taken off guard by his growing feelings for Kasha but he is willing to explore the possibility of a future with her but she is incredibly resistant to the idea. Having finally breached her formidable defenses, Axel is very conflicted when his long held dream is within reach.
The romance element of the storyline is leisurely paced since Kasha has valid reasons to keep their interactions strictly on a professional level. Despite her efforts to maintain an emotional distance, she and Axel genuinely like and respect one another and friendship naturally grows between them throughout the course of Axel’s treatment. Underlying all of their interactions is a simmering sexual tension that they both try to ignore, but once Kasha decides she has to alter some of her plans regarding Emma, they decide to act on their desire. Not too long after their relationship turns to romance, Axel is faced with a decision that makes Kasha rethink their future together. Will Kasha stop letting the events from her past prevent her from finding happiness?
Love of the Game is an emotional, passion-filled addition to Lori Wilde’s delightfully charming Stardust, TX series. Each of the characters is superbly developed with believable issues to overcome. The storyline is engaging with just a touch of whimsy that perfectly balances the novel’s more serious undertones. It is a heartfelt and beautifully rendered love story that will appeal to old and fans of this wonderful series.