Gavin King was at the top of his game, but one bad injury may have just ended his career. His team isn’t even willing to give him a chance to recover, and he suddenly finds himself traded to the Sonics. Leaving behind the bright lights of L.A., he’s now stuck in New Jersey, playing for a second rate team, and even his model girlfriend has moved on without him. The one bright spot in all the gloom is Jessica, the physical therapist assigned to get him back in playing shape again.
But... For the most part, I loved this book, but there was one thing about it that was worse than nails on a chalkboard. Jessica has a male friend who is gay. That in and of itself is fine, and I can even deal with him being some kind of fashion diva, given that I’ve known a few myself who have fit that particular stereotype. But I almost ditched the book partway through when Jessica repeatedly referred to him as “girlfriend.” Not “he’s one of my girlfriends,” like he’s just one of the girls, but “Girlfriend knew what he was doing,” and crap like that. Over and over again. It went from being a stereotype to a ridiculous caricature, and while I’m sure I was supposed to read those scenes and appreciate how close these two were, it pretty much ruined that aspect of the story for me.
The Verdict: Jessica has always been one of the guys. She does have a feminine side, but growing up with four brothers left it little room to develop. Now a physical therapist working for the Sonics, she’s completely in her element, dealing with professional athletes and using her sports and psychology knowledge to build a strong career. But after a romance gone completely wrong, she knows better than to get involved with a ball player.
Gavin had everything going for him and then had it all taken away. Pushed relentlessly by his father to be a sports star, he lived the high life in L.A. and had the arm candy girlfriend to prove it. But one injury has changed everything, and while he hates having been traded to a team in New Jersey of all places, he knows it’s his one chance to prove he’s worth something to the sport.
I really loved the relationship between Gavin and Jessica, right from the moment they met. He was certainly attracted to her, and she couldn’t deny to herself how good looking he was, but there was no rush to satisfy that lust. He wasn’t over the woman who dumped him, and she wasn’t about to make the same mistake twice. But once he settled in, accepted his new life, and saw past Jessica’s defenses, he wanted nothing more than to carve out a future with her.
Gavin really surprised me, not that he was a nice guy, but rather the way he proved it in just about everything he did. His ex-girlfriend was some famous model, which certainly fit the lifestyle he once had, but when she dumped him, he was honestly hurt. It wasn’t just a case of his pride being wounded or needing to have some hot young thing on his arm. He was, of course, attracted to Jessica at first sight, but he wasn’t over his ex just yet, and he didn’t go all conceited and immediately put the moves on her. Even his acceptance of the much less glamorous life he now had in Jersey showed just what a good person he was. Sure, he was disappointed, but he wasn’t looking a gift horse in the mouth.
As for Jessica, normally it annoys the hell out of me when someone disregards an entire cross section of people based on the actions of just one. However, in this case, it kind of made sense to me. She’d gone all head over heels for a guy who thought nothing of hooking up with groupies on the road, and it had really done a number on her self-esteem. Given that she was surrounded by men who had the same temptations, I couldn’t blame her for deciding not to risk her heart on any of them. But Gavin was too sincere in his feelings for her to let her dismiss him so easily, and the patient and understanding way in which he worked to win her over made for a wonderful story.
Sports romances tend to follow a pattern, and The Heat of the Moment did so in the best way. With some standard plot points and scenarios, Katie Rose managed to write something fresh and entertaining, and while I figured I would enjoy it, I didn’t have a clue just how much! Jessica was easy to relate to, Gavin was just incredible, and their story didn’t really take the overused turns I expected. The Heat of the Moment is a standout romance for sports fans and anyone who loves a man in a team uniform.