Fire Season (Unwritten Rules #2)

 Fire Season (Unwritten Rules #2)
Author: K.D. Casey
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: July 19, 2022
Genre(s): M/M Sports Romance
Page Count: 357
Rating: 5 stars out of 5 

K.D. Casey is a new author to me, but I am adding them to my short-list of writers that do M/M sports romance really well. Casey obviously knows baseball - 

"Baseball is a card game interrupted by occasional hitting." 

 "Hitters come to take their at-bats, either getting on base or retiring to their dugout. Outfielders wave their fingers to remind themselves of how many outs there are in the inning. It's calming, the way familiar things are." 

Everyone in baseball knows low-key quiet pitcher Charlie Braxton and that curveball: 

"Man, I guess those rumors are true." 
"Rumors?" Braxton asks.
"That you got the best curveball in the whole damn league and nothing to say about it." 
 A shrug from Braxton. "What's there to say?" 

And Michael Reid Giordano? He's got issues - issues with drinking, issues with losing his curveball, issues with holding onto his relief pitcher spot by the skin of his teeth. And when Reid and Charlie meet, and Charlie offers Reid a room in his empty house as Charlie and his wife Christine finalize their divorce, it leads to something neither man expected. 

Charlie is a nice guy - he signs autographs for the process server giving him his divorce papers and does a quick video for her grandson - ridden with anxiety, too shy to speak at length in public, worried that the public will blame Christine for their divorce. I love how Charlie figures out his bisexuality:
Whatever switch within Charlie was previously set to "Hey, am I...?" flips to a sudden pulse emanating from his spine, wrapping around his abdomen and throat and cock. A surety pointed to Reid like a compass needle next to a magnet. With it, a single interjection, a crystal-clear fuck that describes both his situation and what he wants to do right now.
Casey does a stellar job with the complexity of Reid's character and the mechanisms he and his therapist have created to get him through every day without taking a drink, as well as his Jewish heritage: "When I first got sober, I kinda liked that there are so many holidays and rules. There's always something to look forward to. I can't really explain it. It just feels right. Like it'd been waiting for me to come back to it in my own time." 

In much the same way, the relationship that develops between Reid and Charlie just feels right, and Casey gives them and we readers time to settle in a relationship that is equal parts very sexy, supportive and solid. Together they overcome problems without having it feel like some sort of cliched afterschool special. I look forward to reading more by KD Casey! 5 stars. 

I received an ARC from the Publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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