Inside Game by Collette West
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Expected Publication: July 10th, 2015
Third baseman Drake Schultz is the undisputed bad boy of the New York Kings. So it's no surprise when Major League Baseball suspends him for taking performance-enhancing drugs. Furious with their superstar, the front office issues an ultimatum: either work with their sober companion or kiss the rest of his quarter-billion-dollar contract goodbye. Cocky and arrogant, Drake resists being saddled with a live-in babysitter—even one he's insanely attracted to.
Drake is Eva Sloane's first celebrity client as a substance abuse counselor, and she knows she's in trouble when he starts tempting her at every turn. The way he looks at her is as hot as sin, but she refuses to become his new drug of choice. Slowly, she helps him realize he has to face the demons from his past and heal his tortured spirit before he can even think about satisfying any craving he has for her.
★★★★ 1/2 stars
I've read almost all of the books in this series and there was no one I disliked or wanted to know more about than Drake Schultz. He's been the true bad boy on team and has never let an opportunity pass by to cause trouble for his team mates in their personal and professional lives. I had no idea what it was that really ate at him and I loved finding out what it was even if it was sometimes hard.
Drake hasn't had an easy life and I know it sounds weird especially since he's currently one of the highest paid players in the New York King's organization. He admits to Eva he's got so much and not a lot to do with it. I really found myself liking Drake, something I didn't think was possible. He's real and it was hard but satisfying watching him deal with his demons. I really liked Eva too. I saw a lot of myself in her. She tends to get emotionally involved and give her all when it comes to dealing with her patients and clients. I loved how even though her beginnings weren't great, she rose above the odds that were stacked against her. I also really admired her for sticking to her guns when it came to Drake and her feelings towards him. I felt like both Drake and Eva were evenly matched. Eva led with her heart, while Drake led with his head.
Drake and Eva has a long way to go to get Drake back on the right track. The story flows quickly and his recovery was condensed in some parts and not in others. I get that recovering from addiction isn't glamorous and is down right terrifying to both see and experience. I do wish there'd been a little bit more focus on Drake's withdrawal. I did like how Collette mentioned the side effects of both the narcotics and PED's Drake was using. I also liked how the Kings organization took a hard stance against substance abuse not only against Drake but other players as well. I also liked seeing Drake get the support he needed not just from Eva and her father, but his management in various ways as well.
I wish the book had been longer and I'd been able to see what ended up happening with Drake and Eva down the road when Drake had been sober longer. I also would've liked to find out what happened with Drake and his cutting ties with those who had gotten him hooked to drugs in the first place. I felt like Eva and he took the threat that comes with disrupting something like an established organization not seriously enough. Drake was a little more level headed of the two when it came to that but he let Eva override his good sense.
Collette West did a great job at taking the most hated player in the series and making him real and easy to understand. My heart broke for him and the tribulations he faced from childhood to adulthood. Addiction is really a disease and it's devastating to the abuser and those around them. I loved seeing Drake change from this hard man to one who was more confident and in control. I do hope this series continues. I would love to get more Drake, Eva, and the Kings.
*Thank you to the publicist for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for them in any manner.*
About the Author
Collette West grew up as somewhat of a jock-nerd hybrid. Entering the world three weeks premature, her dad nearly missed her birth because he had seats behind the dugout for a sold-out, highly-anticipated match-up between two of baseball's biggest rivals. Not to be outdone, her book-loving mom taught her how to read by the time she was three. A love of the game coupled with an appreciation for the written word were instilled in Collette's impressionable brain from a young age. No wonder her characters believe in the philosophy: sports + romance = a little slice of heaven.
Splitting her time between the Pocono Mountains and Manhattan, Collette indulges her inner fangirl by going to as many games as she can from hockey to baseball and downloading every sports romance novel in existence onto her iPad. When she's not clicking away on her laptop, she enjoys walking her dog in Central Park, satisfying her caffeine craving at the Starbucks on Broadway and keeping an eye out for Mr. Right. But above all, she loves dishing with her readers. Email her at email@example.com.
She is the author of NIGHT GAMES, GAME CHANGER and GAME ON.
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