The Closing Bid by Elle Wright

 

The Closing Bid by Elle Wright,  There were few bright spots in MLB Relief Pitcher Christian Knight’s life, and Mama Peaches was one of them. When she requests his presence at her neighborhood bachelor auction, he agrees—under one condition. His participation must be kept under wraps. He may be one of the best “closers” in the league, but the last thing he needs is a media circus. Unfortunately, the persistent woman who wins his company is a reporter. She stands for everything he tries to avoid, but their instant connection and her undeniable beauty are slowly breaking through his exterior whether he likes it or not.

The Closing Bid by Elle Wright,  One night, one goal. That’s all sports journalist Ashton Joy (A.J.) Cook needs to land the exclusive interview of her dreams. She’s worked overtime to earn respect and interviewing the mysterious baseball player is an opportunity too delicious to pass up. Using her sly reporter skills, A.J. arranges the auction’s winning bid for Christian. Yet, the man behind the legend is infuriating in more ways than one. Their explosive chemistry is giving her whiplash and soon, A.J. must decide between doing what’s best for her career or following what she feels in her heart.

 

It’s baseball season again so I went looking for a sports romance to read. I like that the stories in this series are not sequential and can be read in any order. The linking element is Mama Peaches, who sounds like quite a woman, and the devotion to her of the (now grown) men she helped raise.

Though Christian is a baseball player and lots of the scenes feature him at the ballpark or in the locker room, readers who don’t understand or follow the sport need not worry as it’s not really front and center in the story. There is enough detail to make things seem realistic without it taking up too much space in the novella. Likewise, AJ’s journalistic career is part of her background and obviously a focus of the plot but the nitty gritty details aren’t delved into too deeply. I was okay with this.

Instead most of the book is character centered with two well defined main characters and several secondary ones who are given depth and a reason to be in the scenes. I especially enjoyed the (too short) time spent with AJ’s widowed mother who still has a sex drive and doesn’t mind discussing it with her daughter. Katt – AJ’s boss – is both a friend who can get AJ’s drunk ass out of a bar and a boss ready to go to bat (pun not intended) for her. I’d love to see some story for Christian’s teammate Eric, too.

Christian and AJ have “history” and it ain’t the greatest. One of AJ’s past articles uncovered the fact that Christian’s wife was cheating on him. Now that he’s announced his imminent retirement, everyone wants to interview this reclusive man who is very good at what he does on the pitcher’s mound. Of course AJ wants the exclusive but has to battle through Christian trying to shut down that possibility. I did like that AJ respects the limits Christian initially sets on their relationship but felt that he suddenly went from “just fulfilling the terms of the winning bid” to full on sexual relationship in a heartbeat. Meanwhile AJ starts this relationship thinking she hasn’t a chance of getting the interview but never puts much thought into how the world at large and her fellow journalists will view her article in the light of the fact that she and Christian are obviously “an item.”

Perhaps a bit more length might have helped me with some of these issues.  Yet the growing relationship between the two is lovely to watch and despite the fact that this is a novella, I felt as if I got enough of a view of them building emotional intimacy to go with the physical side.

~Jayne