The Heat is On is my first book by author Katie Rose, but it is actually the fourth book in her Boys of Summer series. Each book is a standalone story with interconnected characters. I have to admit that I am a sports-romance junkie, so this book immediately drew my attention. While there was a lot to enjoy here, I did have a few things that left me with mixed feelings.
Catcher Connor Jackson gets traded to the New Jersey Sonics and heads back home with more than just baseball on his mind. He plans to retire at the end of the season, hopefully with a World Series ring, and settle down with the woman he left behind. But Tracy Coleman has changed since they were together in college. Newly single, Tracy has four young children that she is raising on her own. Even though Connor wants to settle down, can he take on Tracy and four small kids that aren't his own?
I liked both Connor and Tracy. These two had a connection from when they were in college, and it was clear to see that they split because of Connor's decision to play professional baseball. He was determined to be a great player, and that isn't exactly conducive to long-term relationships. But Connor and Tracy obviously still cared about one another and it was so easy to see that their feelings for one another had never gone away. These two had great chemistry, and I enjoyed them together. It was good to see them getting to know the people they were now, as well as seeing them become a family with Tracy's kids.
I will say that while I liked these two together, there was a ton going on and at times their relationship seemed to take a backseat to all that was happening. It felt like these two were apart more than they were together, and I think that their relationship struggled a bit because of that. It was hard as a reader to feel fully invested in their connection when there was so much else going on and they were apart more than together. They were also kind of wishy washy on actually being together, although that was mostly Tracy. Part of that was understandable seeing as how it would be difficult to try and bring someone into your children's lives, but after awhile the back and forth and second-guessing just got tiring.
The other thing that I had problems with was the way things were worded sometimes and things were randomly thrown into the story. The biggest example was when they were going to the zoo and there was an entire paragraph that was giving facts on the zoo. It read like a pamphlet giving the zoo's history, and was so dry and out of place. It didn't make sense at all and it wasn't like the characters were discussing it with the kids or anything. It was just this completely random paragraph that didn't fit at all and was so noticeable that I even went back and tried to figure out if I had missed a conversation or what was going on. There were a few other examples of things like that, but that was the one that stood out the most to me. While I did enjoy the baseball elements and the characters, I just think that this one could have used a little work and editing. It was okay, but the potential was there for it to have been so much better. I am interested in reading more in the series though, and I liked the secondary characters a lot. If you like single parent romance stories or sports romance stories, you might give this one a shot.
**ARC Provided by Publisher**