Melanie Scott returns to her New York Saints sports romance series with a tale of unlikely love between a baseball player and a Wall Street economist. Full of heat and heart, Playing Hard is a lesson in being selfish when it comes to taking a chance on love.
First baseman Oliver Shields is nearing retirement after nearly 15 years of playing with the New York Saints. The cocky, young upstart, Finn Castro, is poised to take his place, and he’s making more enemies than friends on the team. Finn has a penchant for partying, and Oliver is tasked with escorting Finn home after one too many at a team function. Heartbreakingly, the ride home ends in an accident that leaves Oliver with a season-ending injury, one that could quite possibly force him into early retirement.
Amelia Graham has had her nose to the grindstone for as long as she can remember. Taken in by Finn and his family after her mother got sick, she’s lived her life for other people and set aside her dreams of traveling the world. With a 6-year plan in place to climb the Wall Street ladder, Amelia doesn’t have much time for fun and games, let alone love. She certainly doesn’t plan on being attracted to Oliver Shields, the very man who jeopardizes her surrogate brother’s shot at sports stardom.
The attraction between Amelia and Oliver sizzles off the page, and it’s impossible not to be whisked away by their whirlwind romance. Though Amelia feels as if she’s sleeping with the enemy, she can’t help herself around Oliver. However, as the two become more serious, she finds herself wondering if she’s just a convenient distraction while he recovers from his injury. And when a once in a lifetime opportunity is offered at work, one that requires relocating across the globe, Amelia just might take the advice everyone’s been giving her and do something for herself for a change.
Scott does a wonderful job of creating a couple that complements one another. Watching Amelia grow from people pleaser to a woman who takes charge of her own life is a beautiful and at times emotional journey, and Oliver proves himself to be an ultimate beta hero: caring, supportive and genuine. With their relationship threatened by Finn’s disapproval and Amelia’s promotion at work, the pair discovers that there are things worth fighting for, and a once-in-a-lifetime love is certainly one of them.