It's been awhile since I've read a short story anthology so I immediately requested Take Me Out on NetGalley when I saw it listed. I was really interested in this one because I'm a baseball fan and I've read and enjoyed other Crimson Romance anthologies in the past. I devoured the book in one day because it was so much fun!
Here's the description for this anthology:
The crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd… Four rising star authors celebrate the love of the game with these sweet and seductive baseball romances.With all anthologies, there is always a story that stands out as the best, in my opinion. In this collection, I think my favourite was Trade Off (though it's hard to tell since it was the first one I read). There was just something about that one that stuck with me and kept me turning the pages (well, technically pressing the button on my Kobo...). All the stories were pretty good but that one was particularly enjoyable. I think it was the history between the two characters that made it stand out.
Trade Off by Elley Arden: Traded and jaded, catcher Ben Border is considering stepping out from behind the plate. Then he runs into former flame Scarlett Dare. Turns out the sexy marketing executive still sends him into a fever pitch. But is she willing to trade Fortune 500 success for a happily ever after?
Slugger Gone South by Alicia Hunter Pace: When New York Yankee Marc MacNeal comes to Merritt, Alabama, for a charity golf tournament, he’s shocked to be reunited with his ex-fiancee Bailey Watkins. It could be the perfect chance to get some long-awaited closure—or the start of a whole new ball game…
That Ol’ Team Spirit by Bea Moon: Someone’s haunting the Sharks’ stadium and creating some major league mischief. So psychic Peg Noonan and her granddaughter Trish are determined to discover who’s menacing their concessions stand. With the help of Trish’s high school love, sportswriter Rob Hanks, they just might have a ghost of a (second) chance.
Safe at Home by Leslie P. García: Amanda Warner hates baseball, but knows it’ll take a swing for the fences to save her dad’s hardware store. Hoping his star power will bring the crowds in, she sets her sights on Scorpions’ All-Star Josh “Hotstuff” Arrevalos. But is her heart ready to play ball again?
I found it interesting that three of the four stories featured couples that actually used to be a couple. I think that really helped when reading about the romances because things always move so quickly in short stories. Which I think was one of the issues I had with Safe at Home - I just couldn't quite understand where the attraction was coming from because there weren't many typical romance indicators. Not only were most of the couples former lovers but they had all been apart for different amounts of time. If I remember correctly, Ben and Scarlett had been apart for twenty years, Marc and Bailey for eight, and Trish and Rob for five. That really helped make the stories different since all couples were different ages and at different stages in their lives.
I mentioned in my intro that I'm a baseball fan. I've always played sports (basketball was my sport of choice) so when I started dating someone whose first love was baseball, I figured I should probably pay attention to the specifics of the sport. I've learned a lot in the past eight years (nine ball seasons) so I'm probably way more into the sport than the average romance reader. I tried to make sure that didn't affect how I read the stories and it didn't, for the most part. Terms were used correctly, the feel of the sport and the players were right. There were two instances, however, that had me shaking my head. One was the use of the acronym for Major League Baseball. Well, it was supposed to be the acronym. It was actually MBL. Say oops. I really hope the editors caught that before the official published copy went out (remember, I was just reading an advanced e-copy). Another issue popped up in the final story, That Ol' Team Spirit. Rob, a former ball player and currently a sports journalist, has written a story about a former pitcher who was involved in some sketchy dealings fifty years previous. Rob said the pitcher had "pitched a perfect no-hitter game." That, my friends, is a redundant term. You can pitch a no-hitter or a perfect game but you wouldn't say perfect no-hitter. This really wouldn't bother many readers but it irked me so I wanted to include it.
Take Me Out was a really enjoyable anthology. I liked that it was sports focused, not too common in romances, and that it included four great stories. I would still recommend this one to romance readers even if they're not a baseball fan, or even a sports fan. I do have to say that was also nice to read about the ball season now that I'm gearing up for winter. Is it April yet? :)
Happy reading :)
*A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*