A small town romance with a whole lot of charm, this is a departure from what the author has been writing recently – and I kinda loved that. Layne has mastered “high end” romance set in the city, but I’ve always preferred her everyday heroes and heroines. This one is a new spin on her best trope – friends to lovers – and is distinctly the author’s work while still feeling fresh. It pairs a hometown hero with the girl he overlooked in high school as they reconnect after years apart. It’s a slow burn with the serious tone I’ve come to expect from Layne, and the romance grew on me more and more as the book went on.
The story follows Carter, a pro baseball player whose life has revolved around the sport for as long as he can remember. When an injury takes him out of the game temporarily, Carter’s got some extra time on his hands and soon finds himself returning home for his high school reunion. Fame has made relationships difficult, so Carter half wonders if he can rekindle something with his old high school flame. What Carter doesn’t realize is that there IS a girl who got away in his hometown – but it’s not the one he expects. As Olive and Carter build on the casual friendship they had in high school, the two discover that they may have grown into people who are perfect for each other as adults.
I’ve gotta admit – I was a little worried when I read that Carter was returning home in order to get the girl who got away, only to fall for another woman. So I was very pleasantly surprised to discover that there’s almost no OW drama. Sure, Carter thought he was coming home to win over one girl and ended up with another, but Olive and Carter begin as friends first and it all felt pretty organic. This has a definite laidback, small town vibe that’s different from what new fans of Layne may have come to expect, but that was a major bonus for me. It’s low angst and low on the steam, with a slow burn romance that got better as it went on. All in all, it’s a light, easy read that will certainly satisfy. I received a free copy via NetGalley and am voluntarily leaving a review of this small town romance.
An irresistible baseball star and a resistant hometown girl stumble into love in a flirty romance by New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne.
Pro baseball shortstop Carter Ramsey is about to be Citizen magazine’s Man of the Year, but the only title that matters to him is out of reach: World Series MVP. Benched by a recent injury, Carter retreats to his hometown to recover. His ten-year class reunion and a potential reconciliation with the sweetheart he left behind could be perfect distractions. Until another old acquaintance throws Carter a curveball.
Olive Dunn admits that her former high school science partner is still a handsome charmer. But she wasn’t swayed then, and she won’t be swayed now. Because Olive remembers Carter’s little shortcoming: he tends to bail the moment it suits him, without a backward glance. Best to keep her feelings strictly platonic while he’s in town.
Except the entitled boy she knew is a changed man: solid, reflective, and generous. As they ease back in to their familiar friendship, things take a surprising turn, and Carter and Olive must decide if what they have is a passing flirtation or a real shot at love.