Kelly Maxwell has finally landed her dream job as publicist for the San Francisco Blaze. But the team's newest member, handsome bad boy catcher Matt Scanlon, is refusing every interview. She's got to get him to open up before the season ends, or she may not be back next year. And after everything she overcame to achieve her dream, Kelly's not about to let that happen.
Matt Scanlon just wants to be left alone to rebuild his life and his career. After a year of masking the pain of a recent loss with hard partying and fast women, he finally hit rock bottom and was traded to a team he's loathed his entire life—a team with little to no chance at the post-season.
Butting heads is getting Kelly and Matt nowhere but annoyed, and with the team's schedule on the road, they can't avoid close quarters—or their surprising attraction to one another. As the season winds down, Matt finds his growing feelings for Kelly have brought his numbed emotions back to life. But when betrayal shatters their fragile trust, winning it all seems more impossible than ever.
I haven't read such a fun 'enemies to lovers' romance in a while - Kelly and Matt have reasons for their animosity, though I guess Kelly has a bit of a stronger case, so when they're forced back to face to face by work circumstances the sparks are immediate. Kelly isn't a woman who'll just back down from Matt's attitude - she gives as good as she gets and even when Matt starts to act like less of an asshole she still doesn't let him forget his past actions. Their relationship evolves very honestly, such that when kisses and sexy times start happening it doesn't feel inconsistent with who they are as individuals.
Balanced out by friends and family as interesting supporting characters, The Winning Season is a romance about redemption and overcoming the kind of emotional devastation that never really leaves you. I recommend it as a stand alone, because even when Kelly's sister has page time (the heroine from Love in the Afternoon) you don't really feel like you're missing anything.
Overall Feeling - B+
Series - 1) Love in the Afternoon 2) The Winning Season
*Title requested from NetGalley*