Sometimes love is where you least expect it, and sometimes it's right where you left it in this slow burn to steamy friends to lovers' tale.
Widower, Max Hartwell, is barely keeping it together, being a single dad, managing his law firm, and navigating life's chaos. Life after loss is too difficult for surprises, which is why Max would be lost without his reliable best friend and neighbor, Jack.
Best pitcher in the MLB, Jack Spears, is at the top of his game. He has it all, except for the one thing he wants most, which happens to be the one thing he can't have if he doesn't want his private life to overshadow his career: love. When an emotional evening reveals his biggest secret, he's faced with losing everything that matters most to him.
Can Max see him for the man he truly is, or will Jack forever be doomed to live in the shadow of the image he created as America's favorite pitcher? Heartfelt and human, The Shutout is a story of friendship, loss, love, and the rough road to new beginnings.
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Deonne Lyness (Goodreads)
I sunk deeper into the couch, also known as self-pity. Something sharp stabbed the side of my ass cheek. Wincing, I rolled to my side, because that’s how little energy I had at the moment. Bravely and blindly, I reached in between the cushions and unearthed the perpetrator—one of Emma’s Barbie dolls.
“Getting fresh there, Barbie,” I snarled and tossed her onto the recliner.
Yeah. I was bitching at a Barbie doll. The tiny plastic hand that just groped my ass was the closest to intimacy I’d be getting for a long time to come. I was more bitter than a lemon. The possibility of being attracted to someone else a month or even a year from now seemed impossible. It was sad, a freaking kid’s toy had to remind me that I still needed to figure out how to get over Max.
I didn’t want to analyze anymore or worry. I’d been analyzing and worrying half my life. Every time I met someone I liked, it was the same thing—a world of secrets and holding my breath until the bottom dropped out. Chad in college—unanimously broken off when I got called up to the minors and he wasn’t out to his family. Jason from Manhattan—who got sick of me refusing to attend parties with him. Rinse and repeat.
There were gay people that lived openly in the world and didn’t give a shit what anyone thought. I couldn’t even imagine what that felt like. I wasn’t afforded that luxury if I wanted to be seen as a ballplayer rather than the gay ballplayer. And it was starting to get a tad bit depressing that I was also not afforded to have a best friend if I kept longing for him.
Amy's Book Reviews (Instagram)
He settled his hands on my hips and kissed me. I brushed his nose with mine and trailed my palm down to cover his erection, delighting at his gasp.
“I’d really like to give this some attention, if you want,” I murmured against his lips.
He swallowed and jerked his hips forward into my touch. “Well, you’re the one who gave me this hard on. It seems only fair.”
“I can be very fair,” I whispered, sucking on his lower lip, and pressing him into me. “I think I’m going to like your dirty talk. I never would have guessed.”
He chuckled. “Yeah. Not the conversations we usually have. Is it?”
“No.” I smiled. “I liked our conversations, but these kinds are…a little better?”
He kissed my jaw and slid his hand up my back. “A lot better. You can’t get a hard on from talking about global warming. I knew you were fucking with me about that, by the way,” he said wryly. “Everything in your house is energy efficient, and you compost and recycle. You shithead.”
Daniela (Instagram user)
This was Jack's theme song in my head as I was writing, detailing his emotions over his struggles in his life and the situation with Max.
Chapter 1 motivation!
Do you dance in your kitchen?
From Jack and Hooper's workout session.
When I was in the Army, the guys in my unit discovered Gunter and played him non-stop for weeks...and then, of course, they had a mustache growing challenge (insert face-palm emoji).
A dance for Jack :)
I won't ruin it, but you'll understand when you get to the wedding scene.