The Windup (The Rainbow League #1)Rating: 3.5 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | All Romance | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

Ian couldn’t get out of New York City fast enough. After graduating high school, he left and had no intentions of coming back, until he received a job offer he couldn’t refuse. Despite his anxiety at being back in the city, Ian is determined to spend the next few months turning around a failing hotel. To combat his anxiety, he joins the Rainbow League, the city’s GLBT amateur baseball league.

Ty is known as the team slut, which is what he wants everyone to think of him. When he meets Ian, he thinks he has finally found someone he can be himself with. He sets out to show Ian that New York City is the greatest place on earth. When Ian gets a job offer in Europe, Ty has to convince Ian that the best thing about NYC is that it is where Ty is.

Known as the Hotel Rescuer, Ian cannot pass up the opportunity to turn around the New Amsterdam Hotel, even though it is in the one place he least wants to be. New York City is a place of memories Ian would like to forget. Growing up as a gay teenager, Ian faced ridicule and abuse on a daily basis, both from his father and the kids at school. It’s no wonder Ian faces anxiety attacks on a regular basis when everywhere he turns is a reminder of why he hates New York City. His mother still lives in the same house he left after graduating high school, complete with the same décor, minus his father. Everywhere he looks is a reminder of times he’d rather forget and the anxiety attacks he thought he had under control are back with a vengeance.

Ian’s friend Nate suggests Ian join the city’s GLBT amateur baseball league as a way to combat his anxiety and meet other gay men. At signups, he meets Ty, a hot red-head who plays the role of the team slut. On the outside, Ty is happy-go-lucky, but most people don’t see the real Ty who carries his own set of baggage with him. When Ian tells Ty he isn’t interested in a quickie, but rather he wants to take things slow, Ty is thrown for a loop that someone wants to know the real Ty.

To say both of these main characters travel with some serious baggage would be an understatement. To say Ian is neurotic would be an understatement. At times I found myself laughing when Ian was paranoid that the Asian woman at the dry cleaners would know what he was doing if he brought in his comforter to be cleaned. At other times I found myself grabbing for a tissue when he has a panic attack in the park. Yet, with each of his anxiety attacks, Ty is there talking him down off the ledge.

Ty, on the other hand, suffers from low self-esteem and depression. His one long-term relationship ended when his lover didn’t return his feelings. Determined never to let anyone else get too close, he took on the role of the team-slut…until Ian. With Ian, Ty is like a fish out of water because he doesn’t know what the rules are for their relationship. Are they just hooking up? Are they dating? Once he knows the rules, he begins to open up and reveal who he really is and why the city means so much to him.

As the first book in what is a new series, the first few chapters throw a lot of characters at us to the point where I felt I needed a score sheet just to keep track of who was who. Personally, I felt like there was too much going on in the outfield and not enough going on in the infield. There’s this love triangle going on in left field, and then over in right field we have another romance starting, but those are just teasers for upcoming attractions. Unfortunately, at times I’d rather have been reading what was going on in those relationships because not much seemed to be going on between Ty and Ian in the first half of the book.

Yes, Ty and Ian were “together” during the first half of the book, but it was superficial in my opinion. Steamy sex and baseball, then more steamy sex and baseball. It isn’t until Ty begins to reveal himself to Ian with his I love NYC campaign that I actually felt there was anything more than a standing after practice hookup going on between these two men. Yet, it seemed as if I knew more about the secondary characters than I did the main characters up until this point. Once the author started moving along with the romance between these two men though, I found myself enjoying this book a whole lot more.

Overall, this was an okay read. The author’s love of baseball and NYC are evident in the details. The author has setup and piqued my interest in future romances involving members of the LGBT Rainbow League. Unfortunately, I felt more invested in these other side stories than I was in this story. To put it in baseball terms, a swing, a hit to the outfield, the runner was a little slow on the start, and a slide into third.

A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.

Wendy sig

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