"It all started with a kiss and a wink but where does it end up?"
Reviewed by Monique Daoust
Posted September 30, 2018
Romance Sports | Romance Contemporary
Star catcher Connor Hart's knees are bothering him again.
At twenty-seven, he knows he still has a few good years, as
long as those knees hold up. Connor hates reporters, and
publicity of any kind, even his publicist, his older sister
Sophia, can't convince him of the necessary evil. So when a
drunken kiss happens between team publicist Gia Kubic and
Connor, Sophia is wary of Gia. Connor had managed to resist
his attraction to Gia for some time, but when Gia comes up
with a publicity stunt that no one can resist, even Connor,
one kiss then leads to another and more.
The Indianapolis Bobcats are going into the last stretch
with HARD AND FAST, and Kathy Lyons is on a winning streak.
This third book in the fantastic Locker
Room Diaries series shines just as much as the
previous ones, and for those unfortunate who have not read
the other installments, HARD AND FAST stands perfectly on
its own. There is a bit more baseball in this book, but
nothing to deter non-sports fans, as Ms. Lyons delves into
what I could almost call psychological warfare on a personal
level. Connor's backstory is positively fascinating, and
the conflict that occurs in HARD AND FAST is one I had never
seen before; it was utterly realistic and somewhat
unnerving. Connor is a lovely man, but facing a crushing
dilemma, which nearly tears him apart. I loved Gia for her
honesty in declaring where she stands, and she behaves in a
way that is seldom seen for a romance novel heroine. She's
confident in her professional abilities, but not so secure
in her personal life; still, she goes right ahead and tells
Connor where she stands, and what she wants and hopes of
HARD AND FAST has some stellar dialogues: between Connor and
the players, with his sisters, and of course with Gia. Ms.
Lyons' prose is, at times, wonderfully lyrical -- so much
so that I highlighted some sublime passages while reading.
You can almost sense the sparks fly between Connor and Gia,
and the sex scenes are intense, blazing with unbridled
passion, and moving at the same time because of some
intelligent dialogue that occurs, particularly in one
pivotal scene; I also loved Gia's way of thinking of
erudite insults. Ms. Lyons' perceptive insights on the
fragile reality of an athlete's physical condition, where
an injury can cut short a lucrative career, are utterly
fascinating. The perils of family life and romantic
relationships mixed with a sports star's professional life
are treated very realistically, and boy, it's not easy! I
loved that the conflicts happened organically, they were
difficult to navigate, and they were expertly handled by the
author. Kathy Lyons demonstrates once again that steamy
contemporary romance needn't be bland, and that what makes
a truly satisfying happily ever after doesn't come from
miscommunication and misunderstandings but through clever
plotting. Another hit for Kathy Lyons!
Pro veteran catcher Connor Hart has his hands full
keeping the hot-blooded rookies on his team focused on
the ultimate prize—the World Series. Too bad he can’t
seem to concentrate on the game himself. Because every
time publicist Gia Kubic walks out on the field, his
attention goes AWOL, and all he can think about is a New
Years’ Eve kiss that should have gone much further…
As the team publicist, it’s Gia’s job to make heartthrobs
out of every member of the team, but even she can’t
figure out how to make America’s hottest catcher—and her
not-so-secret fantasy—smile for the cameras. She’s
fighting him, and her libido, at every turn.
Neither of them seems capable of saying no forever. But
Connor has a secret, and he knows if he lets the sexy
publicist get too close, his whole world could come
I inhaled the peculiar scent of male sweat and deodorized
carpet that was the Bobcat home stadium. It was three days
after the All-Star Game. We'd won, by the way, and my knees
weren't any worse for wear. Which meant now the team could
get serious about the sport we all loved without the media
distraction. The only thing looming was the trading
deadline, but that was a couple weeks away. Plenty of time
for me to get the Bobcats focused on winning the pennant,
and I was eager to get to it.
I needed a pennant before my knees completely crapped out on me.
But just before I made it to the privacy of the locker room,
a cheerful brunette stepped in front of me—Gia Kubic looking
fierce, which on her tiny frame looked adorable.
"Connor, you're looking happy this morning." It was the
opening salvo in her perky war, and I wasn't having any of it.
"Because I was about to go bond with my team. Practice is in
thirty minutes." I started to go around her, but she slipped
right in front of me again. Impressive how she did that
while teetering in those heels.
"I'm part of your team," she said, smiling. "Come bond with
me for a few minutes."
Not a chance. Not with her ginger spice scent teasing my
nostrils. Little Connor was joining her in the perky
department, and I had no desire to go down that road.
"Sorry. Baseball stuff to do." I was going to throw the ball
around a bit before the practice started. That was my plan,
in any case.
Then she set her hand on my arm. "Sounds good to me," she
said, her ever-present smile in place.
I glared at her hand because it was making my muscles
clench. There was nothing lovelier than a woman's hand. It
heated just the right amount. It gave just enough pressure
without being firm. And I could throw it off, whenever I
wanted. Apparently, I didn't want to, so I just glared at it
until she pulled it back. And I—stupid ass that I
was—regretted the loss. And then she kept talking.
"I've been on the phone with your agent all morning."
"Because he wants me to do more to promote you." She rolled
her eyes as if that were something she had to deal with
"I'm sorry I skipped out on those interviews. Thank you for
covering for me. Rob did a good job with the extra attention."
She blinked in surprise and then flashed a mega-watt smile.
"Thank you. It helped that he won the Home Run Derby."
Apparently she hadn't expected anyone to appreciate how well
she'd handled damage control after I'd bailed. But I'd
noticed, and I'd been very grateful to have gotten back
early enough to spend time with my younger sister, Cassie,
before the regular season games started up again. Seeing
that she was okay had allowed me to come back to work today,
ready to focus.
"Don't worry about Charlie."
"He wants me to make you into a media darling," she huffed,
the first sign that the perkiness was slipping.
"I'll talk to him—" I offered, but she waved it off.
"And Joe DeLuce agrees. He'd like publicity to spend some
time focusing on the Bobcats' more stable, mature players."
Jesus, I was only twenty-seven! Hardly old enough to be
talked about in those terms. "What happened to Jake and Ellie?"
Her jaw tightened, and I saw that there was trouble in that
I grimaced. "I'll talk to Jake."
Her eyes widened. No doubt she remembered the last time I'd
"talked" to Jake—I'd nearly put him through a wall.
"No, no! Whatever is going on with them is their business.
We don't need it in the media."
Which is exactly what I thought about my life. Damn it, I
just wanted to play baseball. I had enough balls in the air.
I didn't need the complication of publicity, but she just
"So here's your choice. I could pick the promotion I want
you to do and get Joe to sign off on it."
"In which case, I'd have no say in the matter."
She grinned as if I were an especially perceptive student.
"Or you can be part of the discussion. Right now. With me."
I stared at her. I think I might have growled low in my
throat. She just met my displeasure with determined cheer.
"The more time we stand in the hall trying to stare each
other down, the less input you'll have into your own future."
"I pick my future," I said. "Joe can't force me to do any
bullshit I don't like."
She wrinkled her nose and looked up at the ceiling as if she
was trying to remember something. "Very true. But as I
recall, your contract requires you to participate in all
She was right. "I think our definitions of reasonable are
"Probably," she said with a laugh. The sound teased through
my chest. "You won't know unless you join me in my office,"
she quipped, then she stepped around me and walked down the
Right now, I still had a choice. I could go into the locker
room and get on with the business of winning the pennant, or
I could turn around and head into that infuriating woman's
office to fight over publicity bullshit. I knew what I
wanted to do—play baseball. And not think about how I felt
her laugh on a visceral level. Or notice that her ginger
spice scent lingered long after she'd left. Regardless, my
feet were already following her down to her office.
What do you think about this review?
1 comment posted.
Re: It all started with a kiss and a wink but where does it end up?
What a fabulous review! I've been wanting to read this
series and this cements my resolve! Thanks.
(Kathleen Bylsma 6:55pm October 2)
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