Published by William Morrow ISBN 978-0-06-223481-0
Hardcover, $26.99, 272 pages
Last summer I read a debut novel Big Girl Panties, about a young lonely widow who meets a hot personal trainer and not only gets her life back, she gets the guy. I'm not a big chick lit reader, but that book grabbed me and didn't let go. It was funny and sexy as all get out, and the perfect beach read.
I had the chance to meet the author, Stephanie Evanovich, at her book launch party last year and I told her that I enjoyed her book immensely, and that I found the secondary characters of Chase Walker and his wife Amanda so fascinating and I hoped we would hear more from them.
Evanovich told that I would be happy to hear that Chase and Amanda's full story would be the subject of her next book, which is titled The Sweet Spot. I was elated and counted down the months until I could find out how Chase and Amanda met.
I'm a huge baseball fan, so the character of All-American baseball hero Chase Walker as our protagonist made me so happy. Sportscasters called him "one of those naturally gifted corn-fed boys out of Iowa", and in addition to being a baseball superstar, Walker is good guy, raised well by his parents.
I love this quote from his dad, told to Chase when he was a college standout: "Son, no matter where your talent takes you, you're going to be a man a lot longer than you're going to be a ball player. Knowledge is the only true power. Learn all you can."
Walker became a star for the New York Kings (standing in for the powerhouse Yankees). He dated a lot of women, but the night he had dinner at Cold Creek Grille, owned and operated by Amanda Cole, he became smitten at first sight.
Amanda was raised well by her parents too- Dad is a retired Family Court judge and Mom is the District Attorney of Essex County. They instilled in their daughter the importance of being "shrewd, smart and strong." She poured her heart, soul and everything else into her restaurant.
Amanda knew of Chase's reputation with the ladies and studiously avoided his attempts to date her. She didn't want to be a notch on his belt. But Chase was persistent; he came to Cold Creek Grille after every home game, and sat at the bar, kindly signing autographs and taking photos with fans.
All of Amanda's employees told her she was crazy not to give in and date Chase, he was obviously crazy about her. But maybe he just liked the fact that she was hard to get?
Eventually she gives in, and their relationship blossoms. Slowly she begins to trust Chase. Evanovich really nails the feelings of a burgeoning romance. The careful doling out of trust, the butterflies, as well as the misunderstandings that occur because you don't know each well enough yet; it's all there and brings it all back to any reader lucky enough to have experienced it for herself.
Chase seems to be almost the perfect guy, but he has one little secret. He likes spanking as part of his sexual play. Readers of Big Girl Panties will remember that there was an allusion to an incident regarding this, and we get the background on the whole thing in The Sweet Spot.
The Sweet Spot stands on its own, but if you've read Big Girl Panties, you won't want to miss this one. For the millions of women who read the Fifty Shades trilogy, this is a much sweeter and sexier adult relationship and, quite frankly, much better written.
I adored The Sweet Spot, even more than Big Girl Panties. Maybe it's because it has baseball in it, maybe it's because the two characters are strong, mature, successful people who make their mistakes and learn from them, maybe it's because it is just darn sexy, but for me this is the beach read of the summer. Toss it in your beach bag and be ready to jump in the water to cool off after all the steamy scenes.
rating 5 of 5
Stephanie Evanovich is on Facebook here.
My review of Big Girl Panties is here.
Thanks to TLC Tours for putting me on Stephanie Evanovich's tour. The rest of the stops are here.
Stephanie’s Tour Stops
Tuesday, July 8th: bookchickdi
Wednesday, July 9th: Ageless Pages Reviews
Thursday, July 10th: From the TBR Pile
Friday, July 11th: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Monday, July 14th: What She Read …
Tuesday, July 15th: A Chick Who Reads
Wednesday, July 16th: Tina’s Book Reviews
Thursday, July 17th: Walking With Nora
Monday, July 21st: Stephany Writes
Tuesday, July 22nd: Book Loving Hippo
Wednesday, July 23rd: Snowdrop Dreams of Books
Thursday, July 24th: Books à la Mode
Monday, July 28th: Always With a Book