Title: Listen Pitch
Series: There’s No Crying in Baseball
Author: Lani Lynn Vale
Genre: Sports Romance
Release Date: October 16, 2018
Cover Model: Jacob Wilson
Rhys Rivera is the star short-stop for the Longview Lumberjacks. Many know him, even more love him. He has a pretty face, a quick smile, and an air of danger about him that everyone seems to adore.
He’s not known as the bad boy of baseball for nothing.
It all started with his father, who decided to be a criminal mob boss, then die.
Fortunately for his uncle, Rhys wants absolutely nothing to do with the family business and runs before anyone can figure out which way is up.
By the time his uncle, the successor to his father’s criminal empire, thinks to look for him, Rhys has made too big of a name for himself to be taken out quietly, and he wants to keep it that way.
Fast forward eight years, and Rhys is living life one breath at a time, just waiting for the other shoe to drop. That shoe coming in the form of a nosy neighbor who has no idea just how hot she is in her mail carrier uniform.
Her sweet little body and positive outlook on life make him want to laugh at how naïve she is when it comes to the way of the world.
The harder he tries to stay away, the weaker he seems to get, until one day he decides to put his morals on hold long enough to satisfy his cravings.
One time is all he needs—or so he tells himself.
But then two pink lines change everything, and all of a sudden, he doesn’t have just himself to worry about anymore.
Listen, Pitch is quite the intriguing title for Henley and Rhys’ story because it becomes more than apparent that both of them have a few people in mind who they’d like to tell off, and in some ways, that’s exactly what they do the further into the story readers go, which is where things go a little off-kilter and a lot out of control.
Henley Cree is quite a fiery yet positive thinking woman – one who always puts others ahead of herself and one who has distorted self perception that Rhys is more than happy to correct for her because as much as Henley sees herself as defective is as much as Rhys sees her as being everything he’s ever wanted but never knew he needed. I love how Henley owns her quirkiness, embracing her eccentricities, even though, sometimes, it’s extremely difficult for her to do so.
Rhys’ nickname as the ‘bad boy of baseball’ seemed ill-fitting due to the where and when readers are introduced to him, and while there’s mention of his past activities in Chicago, he left that life over 8 years ago, and he has no desire to ever return to it, so I felt like I didn’t really get a full picture of why Rhys received that moniker; I needed a little more background into who Rhys was before the accident and before a certain beautiful neighbor got in his face about the noise and then was found at his bedside when Rhys finally came back to the land of the living.
Rhys’ uncle is the perfect antagonist because his actions and the lengths that he’s willing to go to are so over the top and somewhat unexpected. Rhys’ uncle is a cruel and vindictive man who lives his life according to his own rules, to hell with anyone or anything else. The things that he did to Rhys’ dad and continues to do to Rhys and Rhys’ sister, in order to keep them in line, absolutely paints this man as the menacing bastard he is. So it makes complete sense to me why Rhys goes the route he does and doesn’t allow his uncle to steam roll him. Is this decision more dangerous, absolutely! Readers see that firsthand, but part of Rhys’ transformation, if you will, needs to come from his own personal revelations and his uncle is responsible, along with his parents, for Rhys’ warped sense of love and relationships, so before he can move forward with Henley, in all the ways that deep down he wants and needs to, Rhys must deal with his uncle’s threats as well as the series of actions that his father laid out for him to claim his dirty mafia money – money that Rhys doesn’t need but he sure as hell isn’t willing to let his uncle take it off his hands.
I really liked how Lani Lynn Vale explained why Rhys has been somewhat safe from his uncle’s maniacal plans. The idea that Rhys’ stardom continues to save his life makes sense; Rhys is a high profile professional athlete, so he’s in the spotlight, not only for his baseball skills but also due to his physique and his personality. If anything happened to him, it would be well publicized, meaning the person or people behind it would be easily apprehended, so his uncle needs to find less pronounced ways of trying to kill him.
But Henley entering Rhys’ life changes everything and sets things in motion at warped speed which means that his uncle is almost out of time and options, but as readers will see, that fact doesn’t stop Rhys’ uncle, it only makes him desperate, which doesn’t bode well for anyone involved because a desperate man is one willing to do anything to get what he wants regardless of who’s affected by those plans.
Rhys and Henley’s story is one crazy, jacked up, but beautiful ride. I never doubted that Rhys loved Henley, even when he thought he was incapable of doing so because a man doesn’t meet someone like her, feel an instant connection, and then find out that she spent all that time at his bedside keeping vigil even though she barely knew him and let her go…and yea, his life is dangerous, but it’s clear that he’ll protect Henley with everything he is because that’s what a guy does for the woman who is his entire world, which is exactly what Henley becomes.
I’ve been in so many of Lani Lynn Vale’s worlds that I can’t quite decide which one is my favorite, but what I do know is that every single one of them has entertaining stories and dynamic characters, so there’s not one of them that I mind returning to time and time again.
4 Poison Apples