Evelyn Lozada and Holly Lorincz
published: 11th June 2019
spoilers? yeah there are some
Angel Gomez only wants to get through nursing school and earn enough to support her mother and her son, Jose. Her bartending job helps bring in some extra cash, and the last thing she’s interested in is flirting or men in general.
Caleb “The Duke” Lewis is an up and coming star for the Yankees, known for getting around. However, his last breakup left him distracted and made him turn to drink. When he’s caught by the Yankees manager at a party instead of training, he’s suspended and sent back to the Bronx to get his head straight.
Angel and Duke’s worlds collide one night at the club and sparks fly. Though Angel wants nothing to do with Duke, he has no intention of letting her slip through his fingers. She isn’t star-struck by his fame, and this might be just what he needs to get things in order. He’ll do anything to convince her…even make her an offer she can’t refuse.
Galley provided by publisher
CWs: sexual assault
This book is not a romance. It may look like a romance, it may market itself like a romance. But it’s not. It’s more like if you took the show Hit the Floor, made it baseball rather than basketball, fed it steroids and turned it into a book.
The blurb for this book is misleading, because literally nothing it says actually happens. We start the book introduced to Angel, a hardworking mother of one small boy, who is close to completing her exams to be a nurse. And I thought, great, here’s a heroine I’m going to love. Then we’re introduced to Duke, a misogynistic arsehole who plays baseball. Which is when I thought, yeah I’m gonna have a problem with this.
Ultimately, what got me down about this book was the sheer amount of misogyny in it. Duke and his friends are forever making inappropriate remarks about the women around them, like:
“C’mon, you were hitting on her. She should be used to it. She’s fucking dressed like a tramp. Obviously she wants the attention.”
“She’s no thot. That nurse is sexy as hell.”
So like. She’s asking for it but also she isn’t like those girls who just sleep around with everyone, she’s actually sexy? Is that what we’re saying here?
And this was early on. This was immediately after the “meet-cute” where Duke asks Angel if she would strip for him so he can see her tits. She, understandably, chucks a drink in his face. And then this. So when I say I was fuming the whole time I read this book, I mean it.
If that had been part of Duke’s character development (and done well) maybe, maybe, I could have come to like him. It wasn’t, so I didn’t.
But not only is this just kind of excused and brushed under the rug, he later shows up at her work and follows her. When she’s clearly said go away. And then she ends up kissing him? Peak romance here. That’s totally gonna work.
And then, it turns out, Angel has some lovely internalised misogyny going on! It wasn’t really on the page, but I got distinct vibes of her looking down on every other woman she met. I mean, sure, a lot of them were also written as awful women themselves (maybe the author needs to kind of confront that herself too), but god the girl hating got so tiring.
So, individually, they’re pretty dislikeable characters. Together, they’re hardly any better. There’s some mess where Duke’s ex is having sex with his friend (who is married) at his friend’s party. Angel walks in, Duke’s ex then goes on to accuse her of being the one sleeping with the friend. Everyone, including Duke, believes the ex. Later on, the ex leaks a sex tape of her and Duke he didn’t know had been filmed, and Angel then makes that all about herself (with some admittedly understandable concerns, sure, but not the time!). They just don’t have any sort of chemistry or trust.
Oh and then it turns out the ex was straight up blackmailing Duke’s dad because she had a video which apparently showed him shooting his best friend (only it wasn’t him, she knew this, and was blackmailing the actual culprit too!). So you can see why I’m calling this less a romance and more a soap opera.
Finally, there is a sexual assault scene between the creepy doctor that Angel is doing her exam with, and Angel. He basically makes her feel up his dick but then we get this, frankly horrifyingly damaging, statement that:
[she’d] broke free before the man could do any real damage.
As if anything like that isn’t damaging anyway.
Turns out the least of my problems was how little I liked the writing.