Daily Archives: 27/05/2016
Posted by Book Loving Pixies
Readers looking for something a little different will love The Change Up by Elley Arden,
a twist on the traditional billionaire romance.
The Change Up
(Arlington Aces #1)
by Elley Arden
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Title: The Change Up
Series: Arlington Aces #1
Author: Elley Arden
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 16, 2016
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Length: 66k words
Digital ISBN: 978-1-4405-9151-8
Commercial real estate mogul Rachel Reed is the one person her father can depend on, so when he walks into her Philadelphia office two weeks shy of her fortieth birthday to drop a personal and professional bomb, she rises to the occasion. She will help get his independent professional baseball team up and running before the inaugural season, and then … she will sell the team to recoup his substantial investment. It’s a tall order, but Rachel knows one thing for sure: a sexy nuisance from her past and a few acres of trees won’t stand in her way.
Former minor-leaguer-turned-landscaper Sam Sutter is surprised to find his brother’s ex in the woods behind the house he bought when he cashed out his signing bonus and said so long to baseball. He’s even more surprised to learn “his” trees are on her chopping block. There’s no way he’ll desecrate his nature-loving mother’s memory by letting that happen. But butting heads with the beautiful business woman is a tricky task that leads Sam to accept a position as head groundskeeper at her father’s stadium. Working under Rachel’s watchful, smoldering eyes might be Sam’s undoing.
She doesn’t know a thing about baseball. He swore off the sport ten years ago. But strange things happen when field dust gets in your veins.
He didn’t trust her, and that was even before she tilted her head and regarded him through narrowed eyes. “You of all people must be excited about my father bringing professional baseball to Arlington.”
Here we go. Sam shrugged. “I don’t really follow baseball these days.”
“That’s a shame. Sam used to play for the …” she looked from Wes back to Sam, “The Cubs, right?”
Sam nodded once and added, “Never made it out of the minors.” Why sugarcoat it? Chasing “the bigs” in a rusty bus, believing he was the next big thing, caused him to miss out on a lot of things. He was still trying to make up for some of that.
Again he thought of his mother, and this time the guilt was almost too much to swallow.
“What are you doing now?” Rachel asked, surprising him, not because he expected her to keep tabs on his career, but because she’d never been the kind to care much about other people—at least that had been his experience when she’d labeled him “whiny little Sammy” who was always trying to come between her and Luke.
“I’m working for my dad,” he said with little genuine interest in keeping this conversation going.
“Just like me.”
Except he wasn’t like her, and he couldn’t leave that assumption hanging between them. “We’re nothing alike, Rachel. For starters, I would never even think about cutting down these trees. That would be a really shitty thing to do.”
She shrugged. “What can I say, Sammy? Progress can be painful, but in the end, it’s the best thing for everyone.”
“Because the best thing for you is the best thing for everyone?” He scoffed. She hadn’t changed one bit in twenty years. “Try telling that to the birds.” Sam looked at the wide-eyed man taking this all in beside her, and nodded curtly. “Nice to meet you.”
But that was a lie. It would only be nice if the guy drove back to Pittsburgh without touching a single tree. If one trunk fell … Sam hated to even think about it. Thank God his nature-loving mother wasn’t alive to see this.
He wandered off with Babe beside him and the warbler overhead, craving the usual Sunday peace and quiet, but he kept hearing phantom chainsaws and wood chippers. How much parking did the Reeds need? Surely they wouldn’t cut down all of this. He reached out and let almond-shaped leaves tickle his palm. But what if they did? What if he had to say goodbye to Sunday walks and evening fireside chats with his dad? And what if he had to look out his kitchen window and see a baseball stadium every damn day. He stopped. Babe stopped, too.
That was not going to happen.
BLP REVIEW ~ Tracy
I really enjoyed The Change Up. It was a good, fun, well written read and I’m looking forward to more in the series. Even though I know next to nothing about baseball, I did find that element of the book entertaining and the story thread around the team was interesting.
One of the things that I particularly liked about the lead characters was that they were a bit older, not some 20+ year olds with no life experience.
Initially, Rachel didn’t win me over. She came across as having a kinda crappy attitude, lack of interest in anything but business, a coolness and general lack of anything resembling emotions which wore on my patience; but as the story moved on and she started to thaw out and lose the constant ‘business Rachel’ head I began to like her, especially when we found out why she felt she had to be so work driven and that under that tough as nails front she really did care.
Sam… I really liked Sam from the get go. He was sweet, hot and sexy. My heart hurt for him – the things he regretted and blamed himself for and the responsibility he felt to his dad, brother and business held him back from acknowledging the things that were important to him and from doing what would make him happy.
The Change Up was in a way about second chances for Rachel and Sam – in both their professional and personal lives. Sam had once been a baseball player and the reasons around him retiring had him living a less than truly happy life. Rachel lived in the shadow of her father, constantly trying to prove herself to him to the extent that she gave up just about everything that should have mattered in her life.
The banter and interactions between the two main characters lead to a reassessing of their opinions of each others – Rachel had gone out with Sam’s older brother when they were younger before she set her sights on bigger and better things and left him to move to the city. Neither had good memories of the other but as they started to get to know each other things between them started to change and their attraction was obvious.
There was a good supporting cast – one or two of them I’d like to learn more about – and I’m hoping that Elley will be featuring them in future books in the series.
The story around Rachel’s dad having Alzheimer’s was well written and felt very real – having had family experience with this horrible condition I could totally relate to the feelings and emotions that those around Danny experienced.
All in all, for me, The Change Up was a good 4* read that I’d definitely recommend whether you are a sports fan or not.
She thought about that for a minute, thought about him, standing there, looking at her like she was the only woman in the world, and the heat was undeniable. The attraction unmistakable. Sam Sutter was a mouth-wateringly beautiful man. Five years younger and without a discernible life plan, but damn it, libidos didn’t care about those things. And honestly, the only thing holding her back from taking out all her recent frustrations on his blessed body right now was the fact his crew was just outside the leftfield wall.
To neutralize the lust bubbling in her veins, she asked, “Do you miss baseball?”
He looked broadsided by the random question and didn’t rush to answer.
“I know that came out of left field …” she grinned at her cleverness, “but I’ve been wondering about it ever since the festival. When my dad was asking you about baseball, you looked very uncomfortable.”
His gaze shifted away from her and anchored onto something in the grandstand, but then he shrugged like she hadn’t hit a nerve. “I was uncomfortable because I was worried about your father. I wasn’t sure what was going on. That’s all.” But his jaw pulsed, and she knew better.
“Sam …” She stepped closer, narrowing the space between them. “I saw that same look a minute ago when I asked you to help me out with the coaching prospects. You miss baseball. It’s okay to admit it. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be human. God, you played every year of your life until you were how old? Just because you were ready to hang it up professionally doesn’t mean you don’t miss the game personally.” He looked at her then with a hurt in his eyes that seemed to be saying maybe he wasn’t as ready to hang it up as he pretended to be.
“I miss some things more than others,” he said. “There’s a rush you get from playing the game.” Silence stretched out between them as the warm wind wrapped them in the sun-dried fragrances of spring. All the while, his eyes roamed her face until they focused on her lips. “Fortunately you can get that rush from other things.”
“Like?” she asked, breathlessly, knowing damned well she was encouraging him.
“This,” he whispered before he leaned in and kissed her, a brush of his lips, soft as the breeze that carried the heated scent of his skin to her nose and then to her brain.
Elley Arden is a born and bred Pennsylvanian who has lived as far west as Utah and as far north as Wisconsin. She drinks wine like it’s water (a slight exaggeration), prefers a night at the ballpark to a night on the town, and believes almond English toffee is the key to happiness.
Elley has been reading romance novels since she was a sixteen-year-old babysitter, sneaking Judith McNaught and Danielle Steele novels off the bookshelves of the women who employed her. To say she’d been sheltered up to that point is an understatement. No one had ever told her women could live bold, love freely, and have sex lives that were exciting and fulfilling. (They don’t teach these things in Catholic school!) Now that she knows, she’s happy to spread the word. The women she writes about may be fictional, but the success, respect, and love they find on the page is a universal right for women everywhere.
Elley writes books with charming characters, emotional stories, and sexy romance. Visit The Bookshelf for a detailed listing.