Release Date: February 2, 2010
After a woman claims she’s pregnant with Wade O’Riley’s love child, Major League Baseball’s most celebrated catcher and ladies’ man is slapped on the wrist by management and ordered to improve his image. His enforcer is the team’s publicist, the tough and sexy Samantha McNead.
When Wade needs a date for a celebrity wedding, Sam steps up to the plate as his “girlfriend.” But given her secret crush on him and that one awkward night a year ago in a stuck elevator with too much scotch, the whole thing is an exercise in sexual tension.
Wade is thrilled when the pretense turns into an unexpected night of hot passion. But the next day Sam is back to her cool self. As a catcher, Wade’s used to giving the signals, not struggling to read them. Now, to win the love of his “pretend” girlfriend, he needs a homerun–even it involves stealing a few bases…
When a publicity scandal surrounding Wade threatens the Heat’s endorsements, Sam and Wade are forced to form a couple for a month to keep any more rumors at bay and generate good press for the Heat. But pretend soon feels pretty real and when family members are thrown in the mix, the pretend-relationship propels into a real one, with all the struggles, insecurities and emotions that accompany any true relationship.
Wade is the Heat’s catcher. He’s laid-back and easygoing, sharp-witted, and underneath his charming veneer there’s a vulnerable, loyal man who’s had to struggle to get where he is now. He’s hiding a lot of hurt behind the surface of a dumb jock. He’s stubborn and a smart-ass and there’s a lot more substance to him than he lets on. Wade is afraid of commitment because he’s been let down, hurt and disappointed every time he’s offered it, and his playboy image plays right into it. He’s afraid to take his budding feelings for Sam further because he’s afraid she wants commitment and he doesn’t know how to offer it to her, afraid to let her down as he’s been let down.
Sam is the Heat’s publicist. She’s a woman in a man’s world; growing up with dominant males she is used to insensitive alpha males and comfortable with men. She is sexy, tough-as-nails and the epitome of a strong, confident woman. She is comfortable in her own skin yet afraid to give herself to the man she wants. Afraid he can’t offer her the commitment she wants and needs. Afraid to give in to her feelings and watch him walk away and leave her broken-hearted.
The supporting cast was big, but they were never too much and comprised of mostly family members and players and staff of the Heat. I absolutely loved seeing Pace and Holly again and their interactions (offering advice and support) with Wade and Sam. But the same way Wade made an impression in DOUBLE PLAY, Gage made himself known too in that one too and in SLOW HEAT my fascination with him has grown even more! I want Gage now. And I am ecstatic to find out that Jill is writing his book next in this series!
It was hard not to have a good time with Gage. He was a mix of his Latino father and supermodel mother, and within the confines of baseball, possessed a will of sheer steel that served him well. Outside the sport, like today, he let loose a little bit, and attracted nearly as many women as his players did.
And there were more secondary characters I loved, if not in another, more endearing way. Tag, Sam’s nephew, was a great addition to the story. His whole situation gave the story a turn I wasn’t expecting and made it just a tad more profound than light-hearted. And then there was Wade’s dad, I didn’t expect him to make an actual appearance but he did and I wouldn’t have wanted to miss his role in the story either.
I just loved SLOW HEAT. If there was ever a book I read that is funny on one page and heart-breaking emotional the next, it’s this one. Ever since I read DOUBLE PLAY I was longing for the story between Wade and Sam. Both of them made an impression with just the hint that was dropped subtly by Jill Shalvis in that book and now that I have gotten my wish granted I can say I my expectations were met and exceeded. And let me tell you, if the first chapter doesn’t have female readers drooling all over Wade, I don’t know what will. It definitely had me wiping the drool of my e-reader…but then again, I fell for Wade from the moment he showed up in DOUBLE PLAY. If you don’t end up loving Wade after SLOW HEAT, something is definitely wrong with you. Seriously wrong.
I love Jill Shalvis’ writing! It flows easily and smoothly. Before you know it you’re entranced and before I knew it I was captivated by the story of Sam and Wade. The humor is subtle and charming, the banter between Sam and Wade is exhilarating and the chemistry between them is hot and spine tingling sensual. The love scenes are a great mix of intensity and fun and they’re hot, really hot. Sam and Wade get it on in a bathroom, a car, on the couch, on the beach, in the shower…really anywhere but in a bed. That was quite remarkable and fun to read. And like in DOUBLE PLAY there was a case of underwear napping again. A different piece of underwear this time, but it was just as funny.
Next to the romance and the hot scenes, Jill Shalvis again proved to be my teacher of all things baseball. With the Pacific Heat books she makes baseball interesting, exciting and even hot! And she makes me look up more sports (baseball) romances out there. The baseball quotes at the beginning of every chapter were great and some were very amusing. But I also loved seeing the baseball games through Sam’s eyes. Those scenes were amazing and fun, and the “Powder-puff” inning at the charity baseball game was hilariously entertaining.
What could have been a clichéd kind of a rich, pampered, girl born with silver spoon in her mouth and a boy from wrong side of the track story is lifted to something much more by Jill Shalvis’ witty writing and her ability to convey emotions and portray character depth in a story with true to life and extremely likeable characters. Slowly and thoroughly, through dialogue and action, the reader gets to know the Wade and Sam hiding behind their outer masks. SLOW HEAT was perfectly balanced and it was fun and witty with the right amount of emotional stuff. And the end was just wonderful! It made me tear up and my romantic heart just soared!
Wade smiled. It was his professional smile, the one that could melt a woman’s panties at ﬁfty paces and make men wish that they had half his athletic prowess, and it was a charmer. She knew its potency, braced herself for it, and still felt her panties begin to melt.
His hair was still damp, and because he was on the wrong side of a haircut, it lay against the nape of his neck. He smelled like himself, which was to say amazing, and his opened shirt kept giving her a peek-a-boo glimpse of those rock-hard pecs and eight-pack abs that could make a grown woman weep with wanting. The muscles bunched as he reached out to tug on her hand. Though she wanted to remain far, far away so that she didn’t actually fall to her knees and try to lick him like a lollipop, she allowed him to pull her down next to him.
“Funny thing about ten-year-olds. It’s hard to keep your distance.”
“Yeah, especially with that one. He’s got a way of worming right in.” He pressed a hand over his heart. “Here.”
She worked at not melting and failed miserably. “Are you just trying to butter me up?”
“No, I’m not crazy about butter. I’ll whip-cream you up though. Anytime.” She shook her head even as her knees wobbled at the thought.
Rating: 9 out of 10