Review: Reading the Signs by Keira Andrews

This hot-headed rookie needs discipline—on and off the field.

Pitcher Nico Agresta is desperate to live up to his family’s baseball legacy. Since he was a teenager crushing on his big brother’s teammate, he’s known he can’t act on his desires. His father made it clear there should be no queers on the field, but if Nico can win Rookie of the Year like his dad and brother did, maybe he can prove he’s worthy after all.

At 34, veteran catcher Jake Fitzgerald just wants to finish out his contract and retire. His team doesn't have a prayer of making the playoffs, but who needs the stress? Jake lost his passion for the game—and life—after driving away the man he loved, and he swore he’d never risk his heart again.

Then he’s traded to a team that wants a vet behind the plate to tame their new star pitcher. Jake is shocked to find the gangly kid he once knew has grown into a gorgeous young man. But tightly wound Nico is having trouble controlling his temper in his quest for perfection, and Jake needs to teach him patience and restraint on the mound.

When their push and pull explodes into the bedroom, Nico and Jake will both learn how much they’ll risk for love.

This gay sports romance features men who have been repressing their feelings far too long, light BDSM, an age difference, sweaty locker rooms, and a happy ending.

Finally! A quality sports romance that involves a sport that I'm passionate about! And just in time for the MLB Playoffs!

Not to get too Annie Savoy (Bull Durham reference) but I love baseball. I love going to the ballpark, the chants, Sweet Caroline, the wave, the vendors hawking all sorts of things, the superstitions, the rituals, the uniforms, how long the season is, sabermetrics and most especially the Boston Red Sox. I've been known to get a little exuberant and get a little glassy eyed at certain significant moments-the WS win in 2004, the first time Strasburg pitched, Varitek's last game and undoubtedly will during Papi's last game. There are some great baseball movies but great baseball MM romances are few and far between, at least in my experience.

I don't even have words for how thrilled I was to discover that not only was there superb baseball knowledge in this book, but a moving romance that will go down as one of my favorites.

I actually told SRAL that I felt like this book was written for me which is delusional I know, but when I find a book that works on so many different levels I feel like I've won the lottery. Reading the Signs made me feel like I had hit the jackpot, won the lottery and saved some kids from a burning building. Too much? *shrugs*

Jake Fitzgerald is a veteran catcher who's lost his passion for the game. He seems a little depressed to me and he's definitely lonely in denial about it and isolated. He gets traded from San Francisco to an up and coming team chock-a-block with young players. He's brought on to help rookie pitcher Nico Agresta mature. Nico's a hothead and has a tendency to psych himself out at the first sign of trouble. He's also waaaaayyyy too hard on himself with some bad habits and puts WAY too much pressure on himself to live up to his father and brother, both of whom sound like Hall of Famers. And you know what? There's nothing I like better than couples that affect each other in positive ways and Jake and Nico do. Both on and off the diamond! 

"Tell me how you feel," he whispered.  
"Like there's no going back." 
And as the words left Nico's kiss-swollen lips, Jake recognized that truth deep in his bones.

Both men are closeted to varying degrees. Nico more so than Jake. Plus, he's dealing with more than his fair share of self-loathing for being gay in a family headed by an outspoken bigot. He's also been smitten with Jake since he was a pimply faced teen playing catch in the backyard. As their connection grows it becomes increasingly difficult to hide their attraction. Both have baggage which added depth to them as well as the story. The scenes with Nico's family were meaningful and poignant. They don't get it right and they're certainly not perfect but they make an effort, they try and that's what's most important to Nico. 

The clubhouse dynamics were just fun to read about and I still contend that's the essential element to a great sports romance. Andrews clearly knows a lot about the game, but it's the players, coaches and sometimes owners relationships that make a great story and the Ottawa Caps made for a great story.

The kink is unfussy just like I like it with a little spanking and some rope bondage. Jake is also possessive and protective! I thought my head was going to spin off! The only thing that was missing were manties and I might've passed out if they were included. Really, who needs that? I was already woozy from all the dirty talk, fuckhot sex and how prettily Nico begs. DAMN! He begs like a champ.

The only thing that slightly disappointed me was how the season turned out. But... that's baseball.

This was my first but will most certainly not be my last Keira Andrews. I loved this so much I was sad when it was over, almost immediately wanted to start reading it again and even days later am still thinking about these characters and this story.

Highly recommended. Period.

Now, for a little gratuitous fangirling. Since today opens the MLB Playoffs...


According the the Author's Note and a tweet that tickled me...

Keira Andrews is a Jays fan so I wanted to not be hella obnoxious extend my congratulations on making the Wild Card and say good luck in the playoffs. Not too much luck! Just, y'know, a polite amount for all the good feels this book gave me. 

A review copy was provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

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