This is the third book in Lori Wilde's Stardust, Texas series, which features daughters from the Carlyle family of the mythical East Texas town of Stardust, and baseball players from the mythical Dallas Gunslingers team. I read the first two books in the series, Back in the Game and Rules of the Game, about six months ago and about 11 months ago respectively. You don't need to have read the other books to understand or appreciate this one, however.
Wilde has meshed far fewer romance tropes (which I've italicized) into this story than some of her others I've read. Our tortured heroine is physical therapist Kasha Carlyle, an orphan adopted at age seven after a terrible incident in her family of origin that leaves her with physical and psychological scars that make her anxious about losing control and feeling passion. The athlete is injured pitcher Axel Richmond, who becomes Kasha's patient (office romance). He too has scars, having lost his son at age ten to cancer.
This story has an interesting twist: Kasha discovers she has a biological half-sister with Down syndrome, and is seeking guardianship of her. This could be a bit of a complication to the budding romance.
There's further evidence in this book that Stardust might be modeled on Gladewater, the "Antique Capital of East Texas." On page 3, concerning Kasha's commute to her job with the Gunslingers, Wilde writes, "Every day, she made the one hundred and thirty-five mile, one-way trek to the stadium from her hometown of Stardust." Gladewater is 135 miles from Arlington, home of the Texas Rangers baseball team. Kasha's adoptive parents own an antique store in Stardust.
I've met Lori Wilde and I know she is a yoga devotee, just like Kasha. She also has some interesting rituals that help her with her writing, which she speaks about in a recent interview. "For each book I write, I make a musical playlist, a visual collage, and pick a scented candle that represents that book." I think these help her writing be so descriptive. Not only does she detail sights, but also sounds, smells, tastes, and textures.
I listened to the audio version performed by actress C. J. Critt. Her reading had some unusual pauses and emphases, but I enjoyed her giving characters appropriate voices and Texas accents.
© Amanda Pape - 2016
[This audiobook was borrowed from and returned to my local public library.]