FicCentral received a free copy of this book from Random House LLC (via NetGalley).
Connor still carries a torch for his old flame Tracy, but she moved on long ago after he left to pursue his baseball dreams. Now he’s back in town, though, newly traded to the local team, and she’s divorced from her husband, making it the perfect opportunity for him to rekindle their romance. He’s just got to convince her that he’s a changed man, one who will put her first and take care of her, not chase after his career. But she’s keeping him at a distance, going out on dates but insisting on getting home early, because when he finds out she’s a package deal with four kids in the mix, he might not be so quick to dive back into a relationship.
The Verdict: Second chance romance plus a hot athlete reduced to all kinds of adorable by a bunch of kids… What’s not to love?
Tracy and Connor didn’t exactly split on bad terms back in the day, but he headed off to pursue his dreams of a career in baseball, and she was left to move on, so that’s exactly what she did. Fast forward several years, and she’s mom to four wonderful children, but their louse of a father is no longer in the picture. He’s off making a new life with the family he had on the side, and it’s up to a now divorced Tracy to raise the kids on her own. But now Connor’s back in the picture, having just been traded to the hometown baseball team, and all those old feelings are coming back strong.
Tracy’s reluctant to rekindle things with Connor for a few reasons. For one, she hasn’t had the best luck with men, and while that hasn’t completely destroyed her faith in happily ever after, it’s definitely made her more cautious. There’s also the fact that Connor is no longer simply a local sports phenom; he’s a famous athlete who’s dated models and actresses — everything Tracy is not. He’s used to an entirely different lifestyle, and while Tracy may be looking pretty damned good for a mom of four, she’s not sure she can measure up or hold his interest, given his usual dates. And of course, there’s also that matter of having four children. Like any good mom, her kids come first, so she doesn’t want them becoming attached to a man who doesn’t intend to stick around for the long haul. She’s also not so sure the hot-shot athlete is willing to take on four kids or adjust to her life that pretty much revolves around them. And so while she gives in and goes on a couple of dates with him, she doesn’t offer up the facts about her family.
Normally when a character keeps a big secret like this, it snowballs like crazy and ends up creating some incredible drama that is so over-the-top and unnecessary that I become frustrated with the whole story. But Tracy doesn’t go to any insane lengths to keep her kids a secret, and Connor is pretty level headed — not to mention dead set on winning Tracy over again. While he doesn’t delude himself into becoming an instant father figure, he takes everything in stride, which is all it took to win me over. And I have to say that I understand where Tracy was coming from. Baggage from a previous marriage is always a potential obstacle, but when it’s four young children, that’s more than most people are willing to take on. Concern for the kids would have me keeping them out of the picture as well, if for no other reason than so they wouldn’t become attached to someone who might not be around all that long.
The Heat is On is a really heartwarming, fun second-chance romance with lots of sweet family moments and some steamy scenes to keep things hot, and the characters are easy to root for and love. I’d say this one is perfect for both sports romance fanatics and second-chance romance junkies, both of whom will be swooning over Connor within just a few chapters.