Grant Blackwood is finally getting his chance. He’s been called up from the minors to catch for a Major League Baseball team. Baseball is all Grant ever wanted to do and his life has been singularly focused on making it his career. While he’s been out for a while and has no intention of hiding who he is, Grant hasn’t dated much and he is still a virgin. He’s ready to leave that behind, but he knows he cannot allow himself any distractions from the game and his team, as he only gets one rookie year.
Declan Steele is living his dream. He’s a respected shortstop and lives for the game he loves. During the season, he’s highly focused on training and the game, as any distractions mess with his groove. On the off season, Declan likes a steady partner, but nothing has worked out in the long run. So, Declan keeps to his plan of focusing on baseball and never, ever hooking up with a teammate. And then Grant walks into the locker room.
The attraction is instant. The heat between them is raging. And one forbidden kiss leads to more. When Grant tells Declan he’d like Declan to relieve him of his virginity, Declan just about short circuits. They know they shouldn’t, and they know if they do it has a timetable, but it’s more than the physical that attracts these guys and they don’t know how to go back to being just friends. While love is swirling around them, so are family issues and team rosters to deal with and Declan and Grant don’t know how to be together and be teammates, but they also don’t know how to say goodbye.
Lauren Blakely has written many M/F romance books and has more recently released a few M/M books. I have been aware of the author for some time and New-to-Me Author Week for Reading Challenge Month was a great opportunity to read one of her books. Scoring with Him starts the Men of Summer series and the beginning of the three-book story for Grant and Declan. The guys have insane chemistry that sparks between them and watching them fall for each other is certainly a highlight of the book.
Declan has been on the team for four years and Grant has always had a bit of a crush on him as he watched his games. The world here is set up that there are out players in sports and coming out and homophobia are not the focal point of the plot. Instead, it is about how Grant and Declan are both dedicated to the game and being the best player they can be and that leaves no time for distractions. They won’t get involved during the season (Declan had a bad experience with that), and they won’t allow themselves to get involved with a teammate because they know that could play out in disastrous ways. They become friends and they work out together and the flirting and the banter between these guys is natural and entertaining and hot. These guys are love struck the moment they meet and although they try to resist, when Grant asks Declan to be his first, there is no way Declan can say no. The guys are also sweet with each other, so if you like that more tender, emotional connection, these guys have that.
The book then proceeds in a little bit of a typical fashion where the men spend time exploring each other as they ramp up to the end game. What is not typical though is the way the men react and relate to each other and the way they are a perfect fit for each other. The men both have external stresses in their lives involving their families, which further expands their stories and also makes them relatable to the other to deepen their bond.
There are some tie-ins to Blakely’s other books here and there were times I did feel like I was missing something. Declan is best friends with hockey player Fitz and Fitz’s sister, Emma. Fitz does have his own book and Declan and Emma went to school together and they share inside jokes and recite poetry that didn’t completely fit what I saw for Declan’s character. Grant also has a best friend, Reese, who has her own book, so it’s great if you have read more Blakely, but not as fine-tuned for me who is new to her characters.
The ending is a cliffhanger, the type that makes you want to load up the next book in the series right away and all books in the trilogy have already been released. I can’t wait to see how Grant and Declan’s story plays out and if Lauren Blakely is new to you as well, this would be a good time to check out her work.
This review is part of our 2021 Reading Challenge Month for New-to-Me Author Week! Leave a relevant comment below and you will be entered to win one of TEN great book bundles from almost 100 authors (you can see the details on the bundles, including the fabulous authors who donated books, in our Prize Preview post)! Commenters will also be entered to win our amazing grand prize sponsored by NineStar Press: a Kindle Paperwhite loaded with 50 NineStar Press books! And don’t forget if you read along with your own challenge book this week, you can earn ten contest entries for writing a mini-review! You can get more information on our Challenge Month here (including all the contest rules) and more details on New-to-Me Author Week here.