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By: Jennifer Doyle
Releasing April 11, 2016
In Calling It by Jennifer Doyle, Nathan Hawkins hasn't had a lot to smile about ever since the car accident that nearly ended his baseball career. So, he's decides to get out of Chicago for a while, and head home. But when he rocks up at his old apartment, he never expected to find a half-naked wild cat ready to knock him over the head with a baseball bat soon after he enters. Impressed by her skills, he decides his luck might finally be changing, if only he can convince her to give him a chance.
Nathan Hawkins is Dorie Donelli's fantasy man, but meeting him in person is the best shock of her life, even when she's wielding a baseball bat and ready to smack him good with it for scaring her. She knows getting involved with him is a bad idea, but how is she to resist the gorgeous man when he's so charming? Even worse, how is she supposed to stop herself from falling in love, knowing there's no chance at forever for the two of them. Not when he'll leave to return to his team to start spring training.
For a debut novel, this book was absolutely amazing with a plot that was fast-paced and captivated my attention from the very beginning. I really enjoyed how this story started with the way it introduced me -- as a reader -- to the hero and his need for escaping Chicago. His car accident was bad, and the paparazzi aren't helping his situation. No wonder he needed to get away.
As for the dialogue, it was compelling and I loved every minute of it. The teasing banter between Nathan and Dorie had me anticipating every moment they were together, and had me flipping the pages quickly to see how the hero would convince Dorie to give him a chance at forever when she was looking to keep their relationship temporary. However, it wasn't just the main characters that I liked when it came to the dialogue. The secondary characters definitely had me smiling with their advice on Dorie being good for Nathan. Then there's her ability to shock Nathan's manager and his baseball mates with her boldness, which had me laughing.
I really liked both the main characters. They've been through a lot, and the obstacles they faced were tough, especially when Dorie was so stubborn in making sure their relationship had an expiration date. However, in saying that, Dorie is also smart, brave and tenacious. She really shows how smart she is during the trivia game. Indeed, she surprised me. Not only with her intelligence at trivia, but with her poker skills. Then there's her determination to do a good job in her new position as the town librarian. Nathan's family are really supportive and want her to succeed, as proven when they help her out. They're a close knit bunch and would do anything for each other, and it seemed they'd do the same thing for anyone else in town.
While Nate, he's confident, smart, and tenacious. He doesn't give up without a fight, although the accident has left him feeling raw. Luckily, Dorie is a light at the end of a dark tunnel for him, proving she's good for him to his family. Since he hasn't had much to smile or laugh about since his accident; an accident that people believe was his fault. Then there's the fact that being back home is good for him. It gave him a chance to reconnect with his friends, and show he's down but not out. That there's no way he won't bounce back to being at his best. Yet, what I liked most about him was his kindness to the woman in the other car of the accident he was involved in.
Hot sex scenes steamed up the pages at just the right moments throughout. Dorie and Nathan have differing opinions on their growing relationship, and I wasn't certain Nathan could convince her that they were meant to be together forever and not just for the time he was home. Indeed, Dorie was adamant that they couldn't last forever, even though she was falling hard for him.
Overall, Ms. Doyle has penned an incredible debut novel that has left this reader wanting more, and I can't wait until her next book is released. The way it ended wrapped this story up nicely, as it proved Nathan would go to great lengths to show Dorie how much he wanted her in his life. I would highly recommend Calling It by Jennifer Doyle, especially if you enjoy sports romance, or a couple that are meant to be together no matter what obstacles they have to face.
Baseball player Nathan Hawkins needs to get away from Chicago. After a near career-ending car accident and with paparazzi surrounding his penthouse, Nate can only think of one place to go: home. But when he finds his old apartment occupied by a half-naked woman wielding a baseball bat, he's not sure what to think...except that maybe his luck has finally changed for the better.
Librarian Dorie Donelli never thought she'd get to meet her fantasy man in person—much less while she’s wearing her bathrobe. To her surprise, her nearly naked run-in with Nate leads to more unclothed encounters. But Dorie is sure their fling is only temporary. As long as she remembers he’ll be gone once his life gets back on track, she won’t get hurt. In the meantime, she throws herself into enjoying their three weeks together before he has to report for spring training and go back to his old life.
For Nate, being with Dorie is the only time in months that he finds himself smiling. Laughing. And he has no intention of letting that go. He might even be falling in love…if only Dorie will let him say the words. What they have isn’t just a dream, but the start of a dream come true.
It wasn’t until Nate looked down to turn off the phone that he remembered where he was—that the woman who lived here was down the hall. Hell, she’d probably barricaded herself in the bathroom in order to keep a locked door between her and the stranger who’d barged in on her in the middle of the night.
And ate her dinner, he thought with a quiet laugh.
He’d give her back her phone and let her know he was leaving. Nowhere to stay, but he had a very expensive tiny car he could sleep in.
He found her in the bedroom, changing the sheets, which he would have told her she didn’t have to do if his heart hadn’t just lodged itself directly into his throat, cutting off any possibility of speech. Her pajama pants and T-shirt weren’t nearly as revealing as the robe had been, but her bending over the bed and straightening out the corner stirred up something deep inside of him. And now the only thing running through his mind was how soft her hair would be when he wrapped it around his hand; how warm and wet she’d be when he buried himself inside her.
“Christ, woman,” he groaned. He grabbed the doorjamb above his head and he clutched it so hard he practically splintered the wood.
She gasped as she straightened up and spun around, her hand flying to her chest. “I was… I was just…”
She bit her lip and sank down until she was sitting on the edge of the bed. Her eyes met his, and he had to tell himself he couldn’t take her right here. He needed to focus on climbing out of this hole—he didn’t have the time to fall further in, no matter how enjoyable that might be.
But he couldn’t look away.
Her eyes were a deep dark brown, the same color as the hair piled on top of her head. He wanted to trace the golden skin along her collarbone to the hollow of her throat, wanted his tongue on every part of her. And the glasses she now wore almost undid him.
If she’d been wearing those with the robe? When she’d hiked that bat up over her shoulder?
Holy. Shit. Turned out he liked a woman who would take him on without even blinking an eye. Who knew?
He especially liked it when her interested gaze traveled down his chest, past his waist… He liked it too much, actually. Only the quickly summoned thought of David Ortiz slamming into him at home plate stopped him from embarrassing himself in a way he hadn’t since he was practically a kid.
Even that almost wasn’t enough when she said, “I, um, changed the sheets. So you can take the bed.”
All control vanished as the words just came pouring out of his mouth. “The only way I take the bed is if I take you in it with me.”
His heart nearly raced its way out of his chest in the seconds before she replied, “I bet you say that to all the girls.” Laughter danced in her eyes and a wicked grin came over her face when her eyes again dropped to his cock and then quickly came back up. She bit her bottom lip before whispering, “Hungry?”
Miguel Cabrera. Adrian Beltre. Derek fucking Jeter.
He gripped the doorjamb tighter.
“I could eat,” he answered as evenly as he could manage.
For a moment they just stayed where they were, staring.
When she stood and walked toward him, he almost blinked. This was a dream. It had to be. Or some elaborate setup that Pete had come up with in order to get Nate’s mind off everything else. Put this fantasy of a woman in front of him—feisty and looking so innocent and cute while she offered up anything he wanted to take—until he was so goddamn spent he could finally get over himself and start living his life again.
Except then she brushed past him as she walked out of the room, pausing only to whisper into his ear, “I think you need another minute.”
To be honest, it’s hard for me to come up with my favorite three scenes in CALLING IT since I pretty much love them all J but there are definitely a few that stand out. (My absolute favorite is the last one, because that’s where it all comes together, of course, but for that one you’re going to have to read the book. No spoilers here!)
CALLING IT is about perennial Major League all-star catcher Nate Hawkins, who is at a particularly low point in his life and comes back to his hometown in an effort to escape his life in Chicago for awhile. Dorie Donelli is the librarian who catches his eye from the start—and who gives him a reason to stay in Iowa for longer than originally planned.
One of the things I love most about Nate and Dorie is his absolute conviction that she is someone who could mean something to him—and her conviction that she’s not. He’s finally emerging from one of the darkest periods of his life so Dorie is sure that once he’s fully recovered, he’ll some to his senses. Knowing how deep she’s capable of falling, she’s doing everything she can to protect herself from that day. Nate, on the other hand, feels like he’s been given a wake up call; his whole life has been turned upside down. And when he meets a woman who not only doesn’t want the things he can give her but actually counts those as marks against him, he sees it as a gift.
So… Top three scenes? Here goes:
1) Where Nate Tells Dorie What She Means To Him
I loved writing every single scene between Nate and Dorie, even (or maybe especially) the ones when things aren’t going well. But some of my favorites involved Nate telling Dorie how much she’s coming to mean to him—and Dorie being truly bewildered by that fact. (In the beginning this amuses Nate; towards the end, not so much.)
The following excerpt takes place after Dorie has convinced Nate to take a detour while on their way to Chicago. Having practically fled Chicago for the comforts of home, it’s a trip he’s been dreading; only the prospect of having Dorie join him makes it even somewhatmanageable. Knowing this full well, Dorie comes up with a way to, er, distract him from the weightier issues running through his mind. What she isn’t ready for is his response:
“You’re crazy,” he muttered under his breath. Then he gave a laugh that was equal parts wonder and appreciation, although she didn’t realize it was for her until she opened her eyes to see the intensity in his.
His hand trailed from her jaw, down her neck, down over her breast, its peak hardened by cold and anticipation. His fingertips alone sent heat coursing through her. She was already at the point of not breathing when the smile died on his lips and his eyes darkened. “You’re a fantasy come true. You know that, right?”
“Me?” The only time the word fantasy appeared in the same sentence as she did was when she was having one.
But then he was holding her, cradling her as though she was the most precious thing on earth. “You even taste too good to be true,” he murmured into her neck as he proceeded to nuzzle his way down the center of her body, covering her skin as quickly as he exposed it—wrapping her in his jacket, the sinfully soft lining tickling her bare skin.
2) Where Dorie Tells Her Family
Although she doesn’t have the same grand ideas he does, once they’re in Chicago—or, rather, once #NatesNewGirl becomes a trending topic, Dorie does concede that she’s going to need to tell her family. After all, she’d much rather they find out from her than from the paparazzi who are likely to track Nate downso she FaceTimes with the folks back home…
“So there’s this guy…”
The questions erupted before she could get even those few words out. Most of them had already been asked, the are-you-pregnant one being the clear favorite. And when Dorie once again gave a resounding, “No!” there was clear puzzlement as to why she’d be calling otherwise, since there wasn’t anything else that could be quite as momentous enough to call right now.
“Is he…” Her mother looked over at her father with concern. “Is he a Yankees fan?” With an apologetic look at Claudia, she added, “Sweetie, you know your father has a hard time with that.”
Sean falling for a Yankees fan had broken their father’s heart. Literally, at least according to Dad. After Sean’s announcement that he was marrying Claudia, their father had gone into cardiac arrest. Though the doctor insisted it had everything to do with the blockages in his arteries after eating pizza almost every night for fourteen years, the family was suspicious. And Claudia, after spending almost a whole year in church for penance, was now converted.
“No, Mom.” Dorie checked on Nate. To her relief, he appeared to be amused. “But he is, actually, really into baseball. Which is why I’m calling.”
3) Where It All Becomes Too Much
And then after the weekend in Chicago has ended, as if being a trending topic wasn’t enough, Dorie turns on late night TV and finds her favorite late night host quizzing Nate about his “new girl.” Quizzing him after she’s made an effort to put a stop to it all before it sweeps her away—an effort, incidentally, that Nate has resoundingly ignored.
Although she’d managed to keep [her phone] off the rest of the day, and had stayed at work as long as she could stand it, she couldn’t help but turn the TV on to watch his interview once she was in bed. And if it was just the heat of the moment, it appeared that the flame was still on.
He’d been adamant about no press in the hospital, but he’d let the kids from Robbie’s floor take pictures and they’d gone viral. When he was put on the spot about it on live TV, he’d smiled, a glow lighting him up from within. He’d talked a little about Robbie and Marcela, a lot about how wonderful the EMTs and other first responders had been. About everything but him.
Then there’d been a little quiz of Chicago sports trivia that he’d aced, of course. The final question, though, was the one that had Dorie’s heart racing: So, is ‘Nate’s new girl’ a Sox, Cubs or Watchmen fan?
Nate had given that laugh that rumbled up from inside him, the one that made Dorie want to lay herself out in front of him and purr. “She’s a Sox fan. No question.”
With a huff, she fell back against her pillow. Then she picked up her phone and powered it up to see that the number of texts was now in the triple digits, seven of which were from him. There were a few pictures from New York of the ‘wish you were here’ variety, and one that, well, kind of made her think she maybe needed to get back into her bathtub with all those frisky jets.
Um, no. She drew on her superlibrarian powers and wrote, Did you get my text this morning?
Wow, he replied right away. I figured it would take you at least 10 mins before you yelled at me.
That was his response? That is not me yelling. THIS IS ME YELLING.
And…?he texted back. Nothing else?
I don’t think there’s anything else to say.
Ah, so we’re going nonverbal? Works for me. I like it when you moan.
And now she understood a little bit more of Tommy’s brain, because all she wanted to do was type “!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” for days.
Before she could come up with something better, he wrote, FYI-I HAVE TIL 2/13 (just saying) Night, D.
Damn him. She threw the phone down and tried to get some sleep.
So like I said, these are just a few of my favorite scenes. I hope you like them as much as I do—and I hope you fall in love with Nate and Dorie, too. Happy reading!
To read more about Jen Doyle, see her website at http://www.jendoyleink.com. She can also be found on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/jendoyleink), Twitter (@jendoyleink), and Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com/jendoyleink/).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
A big believer in happily ever afters, Jen Doyle decided it was high time she started creating some. Jen is a member of the Romance Writers of America, as well as a member of the New England, New Jersey Romance Writers and Music City Romance Writer chapters of RWA. She is represented by Sarah E. Younger of the Nancy Yost Literary Agency. She has an M.S. in Library and Information Science and, in addition to her work as a librarian, has worked as a conference and events planner as well as a Communications and Enrollment administrator in both preschool and higher education environments (although some might say that there is very little difference between the two; Jen has no comment regarding whether she is one of the “some”).
CALLING IT is her first book, the first of two which will be published by Carina Press in 2016. It was the winner of The Beacon, the Finish the Damn Book, and the Melody of Love 2014 contests in the Contemporary Romance category, and was also the Contemporary Romance winner as well as the Grand Prize Winner of the 2014 Gateway to the Best contest.