Monday, June 15, 2015

Review: "Playing Without Rules: A Baseball Romance" by Rachelle Ayala


Marcia Powers wants nothing to do with ballplayer Brock Carter, especially after she told him to go away and pursue his dreams. She has more than she can handle with an elderly father, a business to run, and a four-year-old daughter posing as her baby sister.

Brock Carter's back in town to rekindle his romance with Marcia, and this time, he's not letting her run him out of town. Marcia is unable to resist Brock, but determined to keep her secret.

Brock's already lost his heart to Marcia once. Will he lose every dream, including baseball, when he discovers the real reason Marcia sent him away?

Genre: Contemporary Romance
My Review:

Playing Without Rules is a story of unplanned / undisclosed pregnancy. I always like these types of stories because I enjoy seeing how the secret is revealed and how the characters react to that revelation. This book is well written, the story flows nicely, and there is a good balance of dialog and narrative in the story. I enjoyed that I was able to understand how each of the characters is feeling through the words on the page.

I like Brock. He is a confident man who knows what he wants - and that's Marcia. It has taken him a number of years but he has finally been able to come home and fight for her. He struggles with inner demons and fears about his future, but you also see that he is addressing those demons. I liked that the author includes Brock getting counseling and handles it in a honorable and respectful way. I also like that as Marcia realizes that Brock is in counseling that perhaps she could benefit from some counseling as well. And I'm so glad she did. The counselor calls her on the carpet almost immediately for her behavior as selfish and manipulative. I really disliked Marcia for a good part of the book because I saw her as manipulative - even before the counselor accuses her of being so. Five years prior, she had told Brock to leave town with his new baseball team, so he did. Then she was angry with him because he "left so easily". She wanted him to fight for her or to try and change her mind. She wanted him to beg her or find out why she was pushing him away. That is so juvenile and manipulative that I hated her as soon as I read that! Brock respected her wishes that he leave, and is then being persecuted because he couldn't read between the lines and do what she wasn't telling him she wanted him to do - that's manipulation. I'm not sure if the author wanted us to dislike Marcia so she could be redeemed in our eyes or not, but that's what she did for me. She did redeem Marcia by the end of the book and thankfully dealt with the "rat" trying to derail their relationship and finally gave Marcia and Brock the happily ever after they deserve.

Disclosure: I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review


About the Author:
Rachelle Ayala is a bestselling Asian American author of dramatic romantic suspense and humorous, sexy contemporary romances. Her heroines are feisty and her heroes hot. She writes emotionally challenging stories but believes in the power of love and hope.

Rachelle is the founder of an online writing group, Romance in a Month, an active member of the California Writer's Club, Fremont Chapter, and a volunteer for the World Literary Cafe. She is a very happy woman and lives in California with her husband. She has won awards in multicultural and historical romance.

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