Reading the Signs

Reading the Signs - Keira Andrews Review originally posted at Sinfully.

When I saw Keira Andrews wrote a book with baseball, an age gap and BDSM, there was no way I wasn’t going to read it! Here the matchup is between a jaded veteran and an intense rookie with a past connection and enough baggage to fill a team bus.

Of course Nico Agresta is going to explode every once in a while… the man bottles up every real emotion he has in his quest to be the perfect son and the perfect legacy to his father’s and brother’s stellar baseball careers. He already has Rookie of the Year potential and though his career is just starting the high expectations, both his own and his father’s, have been there all his life. His father is quick to criticize, spews bigoted comments left and right and can’t imagine gay players sullying the game he’s devoted his life to. Deep in the closet with a lot of misplaced guilt, self-loathing and secrets that make him physically ill, Nico will do anything he can to change who he knows he is, including parading women through his bedroom, hoping to find the one that will fix him.

Jake Fitzgerald is a well-respected veteran catcher who, at 34, has just a few years left on his contract and he plans to ride them out in San Francisco then retire. He lost his passion for the game when things went bad with his teammate and best friend Brandon years ago and now he’s just going through the motions. He’s taken by surprise when he is traded to Ottawa in that team’s bid for a wild card playoff spot and an attempt to tame their star pitcher. He’s gay and out to his family and a few very close friends, but has never considered coming out publicly while playing. Why should he? He’s not looking for a relationship; he thought he loved someone once and that turned into a mess. He’s done.

Jake is the man of Nico’s dreams. Nico’s lusted after him since he was 13 when Jake was his older brother Marco’s teammate and spent the summer hanging around their house. The battery of Agresta and Fitzgerald could be just what Ottawa needs to take them to the playoffs as Jake seems to be able to center Nico and keep his pitches and temper under control, but an outburst during a game drives Jake to take matters into his own hands, unleashing something in Nico that he’s helpless to rein back in and doesn’t really want to.

There was little reason for either man to expect that they would be anything but teammates and Jake is oblivious to Nico’s lust. There is a slow bonding at first but then the heat between them explodes. They quickly find a shared kink that brings Nico peace and Jake the control he needs. The sex is hot and the talk is dirty but the BDSM is light so don’t let that deter you. It’s about Jake being in control and Nico being able to let go of everyone’s expectations and pressures, especially his own, and just be in the moment.

For me there were no slow spots in this story as the men deal with their own internalized issues, their families and their teammates. Being a baseball fan will help since the game is a huge part of the story and there are a lot of on field and clubhouse scenes, but it’s not necessary as I think the love story will work without knowledge of the game and even if you decide to skim through some of the sports scenes. I love the game so I was very glad to see that it wasn’t just background scenery here.

There are good secondary characters including teammates and friends, but the ones that have the most effect are Nico’s family. From supportive to unlikeable, each has a different personality and set of experiences that make for some unexpected revelations. Jake’s mother is lovely and just wants her son to be happy and once again find some enjoyment in baseball and life. There is drama and a bit of angst, but all of it was very well balanced, though towards the end things happened a bit quickly and some of them a bit too easily. I really enjoyed seeing Nico become his own man and Jake rediscover his love of the game.

Whether your team is currently out of contention or gearing up for the post-season, you can live out your fantasy, butt slapping, one true baseball pairing here. Even if you don’t love the game but you want a low-angst love story with romance, passion, steamy sex and a bit of kink that guarantees a happy ending you’ll do well to pick up this story.