Review: The Winning Season by Alison Packard

The Winning Season by Alison Packard Kelly Maxwell and Matt Scanlon don’t like each other. At all. Her sister and his best friend might be in love, but it was hate at first sight for this pair. Their first meeting didn’t go well, with him calling her names, her telling him that he’s a screw up about to get kicked off his beloved Dodgers and then him storming out of the restaurant. Now it’s months later and Kelly’s prediction has come true. Matt’s outrageous behavior for the past year has led to his trade from the Dodgers to the San Francisco Blaze, the team where Kelly happens to be the publicist.  Matt’s refusal to do any media interviews or publicity for his new team hasn’t brought them any closer. The Blaze is Kelly’s team and to keep her job she is going to have to find a way to get Matt to break down and do what she wants.

Matt Scanlon has had a hard year. No one but his best friend Sean even realizes what set off his self-destructive behavior. After sleeping with cleat chasers, getting into brawls on the field and all around bad conduct he’s been traded to a team he’s always loathed. Now he’s trying to get his life back on track and to do that he has to walk the straight and narrow and focus on the game. That includes no media and he’s not about to let pushy Kelly Maxwell get in his way.

Over their heads, Kelly looked toward the dugout. Their eyes locked and the pure joy on her face ignited a spike of heat low in his gut. He stared at her, stunned.

Just when the hell had Kelly Maxwell turned into the most beautiful woman he’d ever laid eyes on?

I pretty much liked everything about Matt and Kelly’s story. She is a real woman, with real woman body issues. She’s tall, shapely, athletic and has finally learned to accept her body and be comfortable with who she is. She’s battled her way back from bulimia and is strong and set on having the respect of the Blaze organization. He was once the golden boy of baseball. A catcher of extreme talent who almost threw it all away. He and Kelly are connected through the relationship between his best friend and her sister, but they haven’t moved past their initial ideas about each other. Now they are working for the same baseball team and are forced to deal with each other on an everyday basis.

I loved how this couple’s story unfolded so slowly and believably. They move from rancor to a tentative friendship to respect and then onto being lovers and in love. Instead of insta-love the reader actually gets to watch them learn about each other and build a relationship. The trust between them slowly develops until finally Matt is able to confide in Kelly his reasons for going crazy in the previous year and she is able to talk about her past struggles with her body image. Matt might have started out an ass and said some pretty deplorable things, but I had compassion for him after hearing his story and watching him fall for Kelly. Their relationship is helped along because of mutual interests and a relationship with one sick little girl who they both bond with after a charity event. They are continually thrown together until neither actually wants to be apart anymore. The heat level isn’t too high, they do have some nice love scenes, but that was okay with me as the build up of the relationship was what kept and held my attention so fully.

My only complaint was that the ending was rather abrupt and I would have liked to have had an epilogue. Just some glimpse of them in a more settled place in the future. Other than that small request this romance really worked for me and I will definitely be recommending. Final Grade- B+

Favorite Quote:

“What do you want?” he asked, surprised by the need that threatened to consume him.

“I want you.” Her voice was low, hypnotic and unbearably sexy. “Can I have you?”

Rating: B+
The Winning Season by Alison Packard
July 15th 2013 by Carina Press
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  1. says

    Ooh, this one sounds good. I’m not usually much for sports romances but I absolutely love when an author takes the time to show a believable slow progression towards love in a relationship. I’ll have to check this one out. Great review!

    • Angela says

      The romance was very well done. By the end I really felt like this couple were supposed to be together. I love that.

  2. says

    I love baseball romances so I’m definitely checking this one out. It sounds like both Matt and Kelly are intriguing characters and I want to know what set Matt on his self-destruction binge. Thanks for the great review!


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