All Wound Up
Book 10 in the Play by Play series
By Jaci Burton
Narrated by Lucy Malone
Published by Tantor Media | Publication date Aug 4, 2015
Running time 9 hrs 11 min
Also available in Print and E-Book from Penguin/Berkley Trade
Audio files provided by Tantor Audio for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinion presented herein is my own except as noted.
Tucker Cassidy is going through a slump—but not on the field. It’s his dating life that’s suffering…until a gorgeous doctor comes to the rescue at his most embarrassing moment. As the daughter of the owner of the St. Louis Rivers, Dr. Aubry Ross has been around jocks all her life. She knows the ins and outs of all their games, and she isn’t interested in playing.
When Tucker repeatedly lands in the hospital where she’s working, Aubry starts to think he’s getting injured just to see her. Tucker is both funny and sexy, and Aubry is pleasantly surprised to discover he actually respects her job. When her father disapproves of their relationship, Aubry knows she’d rather lose Tucker than have him lose his job. But Tucker isn’t about to let threats of a trade get in the way of a game-changing love… https://tantor.com/all-wound-up-jaci-burton.html
With one of the most unusual ways of introducing the novel’s love interests ever, Burton gets this tale off to a start laden with sexual innuendo. The plots in the two books in this series I have read both feature women reluctant to be in a relationship for professional and/or family reasons and professional athlete brothers.
In this book the athlete,Tucker, bucked the family standard of football to become a baseball pitcher and he has made it to the major league. It always seems to me there are two vaunted players in baseball: pitchers and hitters. That means Tucker is a big deal.
In the previous novel I listened to – or read, the female love interest was a model raising her siblings, in this the female love interest, Aubry, is a doctor doing a residency in emergency medicine. We all know how much new doctors have to study and what long hours they work.
Aubry’s owns the Tucker’s team. He’s kind of overbearing when it comes to his daughter. He wants her to focus on her career. Her mother, on the other hand wants her daughter to find love.
When Tucker and Aubry get together it is so they can have some sexy fun as friends and not get entangled in a relationship. Yeah, how much does that ever work in a book, or real life? I’ve never understood why people would believe they could do this for any length of time. Friends are people we care about and whose company we enjoy. When you mix sex and friendship the caring has a tendency to grow into romantic love; often more for women than men as women are traditionally more likely to be labeled as “easy” if they have no strings attached sex. We even label ourselves with the sobriquets provided by society.
In contemporary steamy romance it is often the guy who develops the romantic love faster than the woman. I don’t know if women or men usually get attached fasater in relationships, or if it is evenly distributed. But, the stereotype is that women are more interested in commitment than are men. So why the difference in writing steamy contemporaries?
As someone reading/listening to steamy romance with a critical eye, I think it is a device that makes the story a more fulfilling fantasy read. After all, who doesn’t want to fantasize about a handsome, wealthy guy who wants to commit and is great in bed?
A non-romantic theme in this story is Tucker becoming completely comfortable with his career choice. His family is all about football but he is a baseball player; a path he chose. Why is he the maverick in his family? His family is pretty cool though: they are close with lots of ribbing, and loving parents.
An important aspect of the story is pressure from Aubry’s father to stay single and focused on career and being persistent in that belief in both his speech and his actions. He is helicopter-parenting her but she is not a child. He gets pretty down and dirty about it.
Aubry and her mother both see this controlling nature but never imagine he would act on it. It feels like something different from the keeping the daughter a child trope. But it does seem to have wormed its way into how Aubry thinks about relationships.
Each person in this relationship has to come to terms with career versus relationship. Both are very busy and work hard in demanding fields. Can they make it work? The action in the romantic aspect of the story is written with Burton’s usual dexterity; and the characters’ own dexterity comes into play.
It takes some time for the couple to hook up in the biblical sense. This is one of Burton’s strengths in writing erotic romance: she gets us interested in the characters and their stories and not just what they do in bed.
The narrator does a great job with Aubry’s character, Tucker and his brothers sound a little too dumb jock stereotyped; or perhaps that’s how the narrator perceived the male characters. I’ve often noted male narrators making female characters too breathy and dumb, and female narrators make male characters’ voices sound deep and dumb.
I enjoy the series for it’s heat and for the way characters overcome relationship obstacles. In this case I am surprised the good doctor doesn’t resort to giving her father a good kick in the pants!