“Quint and Annie sitting in a tree…K.I.S.S.I.N.G.”
Quint Lawson and Annie Weber heard that childhood song over and over and it never bothered them. Even though Quint was only five, Annie wasn’t just his neighbor. She would become his best friend and the love of his life. Annie wasn’t interested in dolls, or girly things when growing up. A tomboy at heart, having a boy as a best friend suited her just fine. That same boy captured her heart.
Quint had two passions, his girl and baseball. From kindergarten to college, Quint tore up every baseball diamond he played on. His position was shortstop. His talent was undeniable. Professional ball was most definitely in his future, and he was ready for it.
Annie would be right by his side.
When everything in life is perfect, it’s hard to imagine heartbreak in any form. Quint wasn’t immune to its power. This shortstop had no idea what any form of heartbreak could do to his perfect world. When it hit, there were many casualties left in its wake…the most important one was Annie.
Can a person be prepared for, understand, or even endure a misfortune if they’ve never experienced one before? In Quint Lawson’s case the answer is no.
This story felt like three distinct stories: The Sweet, The Sadness, and The Road Back to Sweet.
The friendship between Quint Lawson and Annie Weber began at the age of five. The relationship blossomed into dating at the age fifteen. An engagement after college. A future, together, forever. Or so it was planned.
These two were one of those couples that were meant to be together. Soul mates. While they fought on occasion, they never strayed. And were each others firsts, for everything.
The happiness and sweetness of this part of the book was dripping off the pages. So in love. So turned on by each other. They were like the energizer bunnies, foreplay, making love, fucking, ALL THE TIME. When they came up for air, Quint was busy chasing his dream to play baseball in the big leagues, with Annie cheering and supporting him along the way.
It’s also scary how much I’m wrapped around him and he around me. We are two halves of a whole.
Reading this part, it was almost too much, too perfect. Yet I’d read the synopsis, so I knew something bad was going to go down. I had my speculations as to what that might be, and I wasn’t far off the mark. What I didn’t expect was how suddenly everything would change.
“Tornadoes can easily destroy a weak foundation that wasn’t built to withstand it. I dare anyone to try to take us down.”
Oh boy. Here we go.
It literally felt like a switch went off, like a circuit breaker, Quint just shut down. The light in his eyes didn’t dim, it went out. He wasn’t even remotely like the guy in the first part of the book. That pissed me the fuck off! I felt so bad for Annie, his family, and his BFF, Billy. He treated everyone like shit. Wallowing in his own self-pity. The worst part of it being that it seemed that he loved baseball more than Annie. And that made zero sense.
While one would expect a sadness to overcome someone who experiences loss, I didn’t expect the depth that the loss would impact Quint. This part of the story wasn’t short, it occurs over months. Anniversaries, holidays, and one special event planned for November 7th, all pass them by, with Quint refusing to show any fight. It was sad and depressing. And my anger with him didn’t die down. Sure, I initially felt sorry for him, but that didn’t last long and my sympathies ran dry. He effectively destroyed all the good that remained in his life.
“Why are you trying to hurt me? Does it make you feel better if I hurt as much as you’re hurting?”
I won’t even get started on what happened with Daphne, Annie’s BFF. It’s all kinds of wrong. But it’s also not what it seems, and that’s all I’ll say.
The Road Back to Sweet
So how does Quint recovery from the loss and destruction his life has become? By almost losing more. He gets a wake up call when he FINALLY realizes how out of wack his priorities were, and that his life shouldn’t begin and end with baseball. Now he understands that life is empty without love and support to guide one through the tough times. The circuit was flipped back.
This story was a huge emotional roller coaster. The flip from happiness to sadness and back, so extreme, it was hard to stomach. I personally would have preferred something more gradual, not so abrupt. I understand depression, but the man in the first part of the story was nothing like the man in the second part, and that was bothersome. Thankfully, there was that last flip in the book, to save my kindle from destruction.
If you enjoy sports romances, particularly baseball, this was a great addition to the genre. There was a good balance of romance, with a realistic look into the sport, its fans and how business is run. We do get a HEA that is fitting to the middle part of the story, that seems to put everyone in a better place for the long term.
*An ARC was received for an honest review.
Amazon Best Selling Author ~ A.M. Madden’s debut novel is Back-up, the first in The Back-Up Series. The series
includes Back-Up, Front & Center, Encore, Backstage, and The Devil’s Lair Novella. A.M. Madden is a wife, a mother, an avid reader of romance novels and now an author. In Back-up she aspired to create a fun, sexy, realistic romantic story. She wanted to create characters that the reader could relate to and feel as if they knew personally. A self-proclaimed hopeless romantic, she loves getting lost in a good book. She also uses every free moment of her time writing, while raising teenage boys.
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Signed Paperback of The Shortstop & $25 Amazon Gift Card)