Thursday, July 14, 2016

Stealing Home by Nicole Williams: Blog Tour Review & Excerpt


Being the only woman working for a professional baseball team isn’t easy. As the San Diego Shock’s newest athletic trainer, Allie knows all about long hours, endless travel, and warding off players’ advances. Given she’s already the subject of a handful of rumors about how “lucky” she was to have earned such a coveted position, she can’t so much as flutter an eyelash a player’s way if she wants to be taken seriously.

But number eleven is doing more than fluttering eyelashes Allie’s way. Far more. Luke Archer is at the top of his game and doesn’t let the fear of striking out keep him from swinging. This is a motto he applies both on and off the field, but Allie appears immune, seeming to view Luke as nothing more than caution tape on legs.

He’s a player, and in Allie’s experience, they’re all the same. She won’t risk her job or her heart to another one, no matter how different this one claims to be. But as Allie gets to know him, she discovers the number eleven the public thinks they know is very different from the real Luke Archer. He seems too good to be true.

And maybe he is.

Allie will have to confront the stories attached to a player of Luke Archer’s stature and decide who she’ll put her faith in—The man she’s falling for? Or the rumors?

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Review by Michelle:

There's a new love in my life and his name is Luke Archer! When I heard Nicole Williams, the very author who brought me my beloved Jude Ryder, one of my first book boyfriends and my favorite sports hero to date, was releasing a new sports romance, I was definitely on board. When I found out it was a sports romance about baseball I was even more elated as I've been a wannabe baseball groupie since before I was old enough to know what that meant. Once I read the synopsis though and discovered that Allie, our heroine in Stealing Home, is a female athletic trainer for a major league team, I was counting down the days until I could dig in and see where this ride would take me.

Not a whole lot of cat and mouse in this one as Luke Archer knows what he wants and has no qualms telling it like it is. The only problem is getting Allie on board. Of course this doesn't take long once Allie sees the kind and considerate man behind the jersey. Not quite insta-love, just a bit quick and pretty hard hitting, but what do you expect when you are dealing with a man who isn't afraid to swing for the fences both on and off the field?

I love all Nicole Williams books but her sports heroes get me every single time. Luke is the star and the heart of his team with all the speed, power, and determination of a leader and before you know it he will be the star of your heart with all the charisma, passion, and persistence of the swooniest of men. So sweet and thoughtful, he will make you melt with his keen observation skills and both the smallest and grandest of gestures. So giving and selfless, the way Luke cares for his loved ones will have you clutching your heart in admiration and in order to keep Mr. Archer from up and running away with it completely. So humble and grounded, you may at first think it all an act as it seems virtually impossible that such a hot commodity and celebrity of his caliber doesn't possess an overinflated ego and extravagant tastes to match. That's when you realize, with a heart near bursting with devotion and adoration, he's really just an incredibly good guy and all hopes of keeping that heart in your own hands goes completely out the window.

Unfortunately Allie takes a bit of a back seat to Luke, but only because he is so incredibly alluring it is hard to turn your attention away most of the time. Allie though, is admirable in her own right. She worked her butt off to get her position on the team, she definitely knows her stuff, she is tough, spunky, and can certainly hold her own. And while I just knew going in that number eleven was going be hot, the heat between Allie and Luke is nothing short of incendiary. The perfect match both in and out of the bedroom, their banter is playful and fun, they both know the lifestyle and pressures of professional baseball, and the connection and steam factor is off the charts.

With a bit of a gasp worthy surprise and just the right touch of angst, there isn't a lot of unnecessary drama in this story which I actually really loved. A story that also sends a powerful and meaningful message about letting love in your life and how your world can open up when you let your guard down, believe, and trust.

Stealing Home is sweet and steamy and swoony and satisfying. If you love baseball you are going to fall head over heels for this sexy slugger. If you aren't a big sports fan, or perhaps just aren't a baseball lover, you are sure to fall head over heels for this sweet and selfless man. Nicole Williams not only knows her way around a beautiful and touching love story, she also knows how to infuse just the right amount of complication and drama in her stories all while gifting us with impossibly good, magnetic, and breathtaking heroes that consume and excite. A straightforward, down to earth, heartwarming love story that will plaster a big cheesy grin on your face and leave you sighing in contentment.

*complimentary copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review

Rating: 5 Stars

About the Author:

I'm the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the CRASH series (HarperTeen, S&S UK), LOST & FOUND series, UP IN FLAMES (S&S UK), The EDEN TRILOGY, and a handful of others. I write stories about everyday kinds of people who find themselves in extraordinary kinds of situations. I tell love stories with happy endings because I believe in making the world a better place, and that's one tiny way I can make it so. I'm one of those people who still believe in true love and soul mates, and would rather keep my head in the clouds any day over having my feet firmly on the ground.

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“Shouldn’t you buy me dinner first or something?” Archer smirked at me when he lifted up onto his elbows as I tugged his sweats down his legs.

“Tell you what,” I replied after I gave one last pull, freeing the dark gray sweats from him. After handing him a towel, I waited for him to drape it over his lap. Instead he curled it up and tossed it across the hotel room. “How about I draw you a nice, soothing, relaxing bath? Full of ice.”

As I came around the side of his bed, it took all of my concentration to focus on the compress I needed to unwrap instead of what was resting just a little higher. At least he had underwear on, but it wasn’t like they provided much coverage. Especially when what was tucked inside them looked about ready to burst free.

And dammit. I’d looked. From the way I could feel him watching me, he knew I’d looked too.

“Another ice bath. Sounds perfect. Since my balls aren’t already blue enough.” Archer spread his legs open farther as I reached down to unwind the compress circling his upper right thigh.

“Yeah, well, that’s what you get for not listening to the recommendation of your athletic trainer to take it easy.” I unwound the bandage slowly, not wanting to further inflame the area. “Every three hours, we’ll alternate fifteen minutes of ice and heat.”

“Yay.” He cleared his throat when my fingers brushed his inner thigh as I unwound the last of the compress Shepherd had wrapped back in the locker room after his first ice bath. “Since you got to decide on the ice option, how about I decide on the heat option?”

From the low notes in his voice, I knew exactly what he meant. “The plan is to calm the tear. Not further aggravate it.”

“Okay. I can work with that.” When I exhaled, he added, “I’ve got ideas.”

“Ideas that involve what you have in mind and not using your groin muscles?” My gaze wandered back to that part of his anatomy. Right before moving onto a different part of it. Holy shit. Something about knowing he wanted me and wasn’t concerned with hiding that desire made me dizzy. “Good luck with that.”

Archer watched me as I disappeared into the bathroom to turn off the water filling the tub. “Never underestimate the ingenuity of a desperate man.”

After testing the temperature of the bath, I grabbed one more bag of ice and dumped it in. I’d arranged to have four new bags arrive every few hours through the night so I could mitigate the damage Archer’s pulled groin muscle would have on his season.

The team doctor had done an exam in the locker room and assured Coach Beckett that with aggressive care these first twenty-four hours, Archer should be able to play the game in New Orleans three days from now.

From my own exam, I knew the doctor was giving Coach a serious case of lip service. The only way Archer would be able to play the Shock’s next game was if we injected him with every illegal substance in this sport and on the market in general. It was a class two pull—no amount of walking off would fix this in a couple days’ time.

“Are you hungry, Doc?” Archer called from the other room.

“That depends on the context of that question.”

His laugh carried into the bathroom. “You know me too well. However, in this instance, I’m referring to hunger as in for food. The room service type specifically. I can order something for us so we can eat once you’re done cryogenically freezing my gonads.”

Wandering back into his room, I dried off my hands with a towel. “Hey, this isn’t my fault—I warned you to take it easy.”

I ceremoniously waved my arms toward the bathroom, feeling nervous. I’d given so many ice baths I could have filled an entire ocean with them, but this one was different. It was for Luke Archer. In his hotel room instead of the locker room. Plus, back there, the entire coaching and medical staff had been present, pow-wowing a plan of treatment. No one else was here now though.

Just me. Just him. And a locked door.

“Dinner?” Archer waved the room service menu at me.

“I’ll order it for us. We need to get you in the tub before you get any more swollen.”

Archer’s gaze swept down his body, landing on the very part of him I was trying not to inspect. “I can think of something to help with the ‘swelling.’”

Crossing my arms, I gave him an unfazed look. “I’m here to see to your leg. Not your dick.”

“I think that by taking care of one, you’ll be taking care of the other.”

“True. Ice baths are up to the task of tending to torn muscles and swollen dicks. So let’s get started.”

Archer lay stretched out in bed for another minute, calling my bluff, but when I made no move to throw myself at him, he sighed. “The ice bath it is.”

“Good choice.”

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