I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Carina Press on April 11th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Sports, General
Purchase Links: Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | IndieBound
ADD TO GOODREADS:
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.
Also by this author: Called Up
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Like Calling It protagonist Dorie Donelli, baseball has long been a part of my life (and just like Dorie, it all started at Fenway Park in Boston). As I grew older, again just like Dorie, I began to appreciate baseball for more than father/daughter bonding and Cracker Jacks.
Dorie and my baseball adventures diverge at this point, as she goes on to find true love with her fantasy baseball star Nate Hawkins (after first finding him inexplicably standing in her living room). I am happily left in the stands with my scorecard and peanuts, or home reading delightful books like Jen Doyle’s debut, Calling It.
All-Star catcher Nate Hawkins finds himself in the middle of a media frenzy following a terrible car accident and his canceled engagement. Hoping for some peace and quiet in the few weeks before training camp opens, he escapes to his hometown in Iowa. He was expecting to find his sister staying in his apartment, instead, he finds the straight from the tub–nearly naked– new town librarian, Dorie Donelli. *It should be noted that Dorie’s full name is one of the best I’ve come across, I won’t spoil the laugh-out-loud reveal*
Without her glasses, Dorie can’t tell Nate Hawkins from Derek Jeter – and Nate isn’t in a hurry to fill her in on his celebrity identity. When she’s seeing clearly, Dorie respects Nate’s privacy and manages to (barely) internalize her fangirling. Nate and Dorie eventually settle in for a long night of food and conversation. Their comfort and ease with one another only emphasize their underlying mutual attraction. Both are disconcerted by the fact their new friendship progresses so quickly without Nate’s full identity being revealed. Luckily that plot point didn’t last too long or cause any overblown reaction.
Dorie fantasized about the Nate Hawkins for so long, she finds herself unable, and unwilling, to accept the real Nate would actually fall for her. Keeping Nate a fantasy, and their burgeoning relationship a mere “fling,” Dorie thinks that she can protect her heart. Nate, however, does fall quickly and unwaveringly in love with Dorie and through most of the novel tries to convince her of the certainty and depth of his feelings.
“You say I’m going to get tired of this. I say maybe I’ve waited my whole life for whatever this is.”
Nate’s dedication (and unerring sense of romance) are heartwarming – and their adventures between the sheets are just plain hot. 🔥 😊 Most non-fictional men would have given up after Dorie’s repeated (and repeated and repeated) assertions that their relationship had no future. After leaving her large loving family in Boston and moving all the way to Iowa on her own, Dorie used up most of her risk-taking. Taking Nate Hawkins into her bed? No problem. Letting him into her heart? No way. Her stubborn refusal to explore her feelings could have proved annoying if it had lasted much longer.
Author Jen Doyle creates a realistic world and interesting around her two Fated lovers. Nate’s friends, teammates, and entourage add to the sense of his success and the baseball details are spot-on. I’d have liked a deeper exploration of his relationships with his mother and sisters. Speaking of siblings… the Donelli brothers are too much – loud, brash and overprotective – they certainly increased the fun!
Nate valiantly fought to prove to Dorie that if she entrusted her heart into his keeping, he would protect it with all that he had. His perseverance is the reader’s reward, making for a romantic and satisfying resolution. Author Jen Doyle definitely hits a home run in her first at-bat with her debut, Calling It. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun 😉) Jen’s a fresh and welcome new voice in the romance genre and I look forward to reading more from her soon!
Excerpt from Calling It
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.”
About Author Jen Doyle
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.