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Reading the Signs

de Keira Andrews

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513507,210 (3.88)Cap
This hot-headed rookie needs discipline-on and off the field. As a teenager crushing on Jake Fitzgerald, his big brother's teammate, pitcher Nico Agresta decided he can never act on his desire for men. Nico is desperate to live up to his Italian-American family's baseball legacy, and if he can win Rookie of the Year in the big leagues like his dad and brother did, maybe he can prove he's worthy. At thirty-four, veteran catcher Jake just wants to finish out his contract and retire. His team doesn't have a prayer of making the playoffs, but who needs the stress anyway? Jake lost his passion for the game-and life-after driving away the man he loved. He swore he'll never risk his heart again. Then he's traded to a team that wants a vet behind the plate to tame their new star pitcher. Jake is shocked to find the gangly kid he once knew has grown into a gorgeous young man. Tightly wound Nico's having trouble controlling his temper in his quest for perfection and needs a firm hand. Jake fights to teach him patience and restraint on the mound-but when the push and pull explodes into the bedroom, can they control their hearts? Contains mature themes.… (més)
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Es mostren totes 3
3.25 ( )
  Moshepit20 | Oct 2, 2023 |
Update: 2022 - rating changed to 5 stars because I keep re-reading and enjoying this.

First read: 3.5 stars
Second read: 4 stars
Third read: 4.5 stars

Synopsis: Jake is a professional baseball player who has been traded to an expansion team in its early years. He is a veteran catcher who is basically just going through the motions until he retires, which he planned to do with the team that he was traded from. He is gay, but isn't out, since there are no out homosexuals in professional baseball, and Jake just doesn't want to be the poster child. He does have an arrangement with a married man, in which he does a little BDSM-lite, and then has sex, which suits him fine. The man's husband is aware, but they have an open relationship, as the husband isn't in to the BDSM lifestyle.
Jake finds out that he is traded to Ottawa, which is a couple of hours from the town that he grew up in, while his team is still on the field. The Ottawa team wants him there right away to start working with their young pitchers, so Jake doesn't even have the opportunity to go home and get any of his personal items. When he arrives in Ottawa, everyone is very supportive, and keep welcoming him home, since he did grow up in Canada. Jake is mostly in shock from the trade, and apathetic about playing baseball, so he doesn't really get excited.
One of the few things that Jake is excited about, however, is seeing Nico Agresta, a rookie pitcher, again. When Jake first started playing with the team that drafted him, he was in a new city and didn't know anyone, so one of the players that had been born and raised there often took him home to be with his family, which included his 13 year old brother. Jake remembers helping Nico get in pitching practice in their back yard, which they kept up until Jake got traded.
Nico is gay, but has heard his father say that there are no fairies in baseball, so he can't be gay. He sleeps with women, has never done anything with men, but still doesn't really feel anything for them. When he finds out that Jake, who was his first crush, has been traded to his team, Nico is both ecstatic and nervous. As Jake works with Nico to try and get him more focused and steady and less prone to letting a bad pitch or a bad play by a teammate affect his game, they form a friendship. Then, one day, Nico reverts to arguing with his coach, and Jake, who thought that Nico was getting beyond that, takes him in to a room and spanks him. Nico is so turned on by it that he gives Jake a blowjob, thus outing himself. Afterward, Jake assures Nico that he is gay, and that there is nothing wrong with liking BDSM, but that they can't do anything because they are teammates, and because Nico is so much younger than Jake.
However, Jake goes with Nico to visit his family when they are in Nico's hometown and sees how his father acts. In comforting him, things get sexual, and both men are eager to experience more.

What I liked: How caring Jake was with Nico, even before they got together, trying to get him to be the best pitcher that he could be. I liked that Nico called Jake out on his apathy toward the game, and that playing with Nico and his current teammates actually brought back the love that he had for it as a child. I liked that he appreciated the fact that not everyone makes it to the big show, and realized how lucky he was. I liked that Nico loved his family, and that even though they had their issues, that they loved him. I liked the build in friendship and relationship between Jake and Nico. Nico sometimes acted like a brat, but he was a fairly sheltered 22 year old who always tried to be perfect, and Jake always seemed to manage to steady him. Even though Jake's last memory of Nico is as a teenager, he treats him as an adult when they meet again.

What I didn't like: I'm not sure what I didn't like the first time I read it. ( )
  mamawerewolf | Jun 26, 2023 |
The story is about a boyhood crush coming to life. It's touching and beautiful. Nico is a baseball rookie and long ago he fell for his older brother's mate Jake, who is on the eve of retirement.

Can't recall that I've spent any time in the world of baseball in a novel, and it was more interesting than I expected. This throws the young man, Nico, beginning his career, in the ring with the veteran, Jake.

It's surprising how often it's a younger man and an older man, as the required 'friction' in the novel - or woman, of course. I'm definitely not against it, but the pressure is there to make it a little different.

The saving grace, in the well written novel, is that, despite the chasm? of the age difference - at least as a social construct and in the minds of the characters - there is an irresistible force / it is their time on the continuum from loneness to union to cross paths with THAT person. Fate. I get that. Not that I've experienced it!

As the summary below says, Nico is a hot head and I think that is what makes it a little different - he's a hot head because he's finding his place, in his family, in baseball, in his sexuality, in his connection with Jake - he's uncertain, pent-up, lacks self-esteem.

While Jake resists his attraction to Nico, ultimately Jake cares deeply for the young man, he wants to help - and he is in a unique position to be there for Nico. The spanking is a powerful scene in the novel and kind of elevates the intent of the novel to something more complex.

... This hot-headed rookie needs discipline - on and off the field.

As a teenager crushing on Jake Fitzgerald, his big brother's teammate, pitcher Nico Agresta decided he can never act on his desire for men. Nico is desperate to live up to his Italian American family's baseball legacy, and if he can win Rookie of the Year in the big leagues like his dad and brother did, maybe he can prove he's worthy.

At 34, veteran catcher Jake just wants to finish out his contract and retire. His team doesn't have a prayer of making the playoffs, but who needs the stress anyway? Jake lost his passion for the game - and life - after driving away the man he loved. He swore he'll never risk his heart again.

Then he's traded to a team that wants a vet behind the plate to tame their new star pitcher. Jake is shocked to find the gangly kid he once knew has grown into a gorgeous young man. Tightly wound Nico's having trouble controlling his temper in his quest for perfection and needs a firm hand. Jake fights to teach him patience and restraint on the mound - but when the push and pull explodes into the bedroom, can they control their hearts? ( )
  Okies | Jun 14, 2023 |
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Cap

This hot-headed rookie needs discipline-on and off the field. As a teenager crushing on Jake Fitzgerald, his big brother's teammate, pitcher Nico Agresta decided he can never act on his desire for men. Nico is desperate to live up to his Italian-American family's baseball legacy, and if he can win Rookie of the Year in the big leagues like his dad and brother did, maybe he can prove he's worthy. At thirty-four, veteran catcher Jake just wants to finish out his contract and retire. His team doesn't have a prayer of making the playoffs, but who needs the stress anyway? Jake lost his passion for the game-and life-after driving away the man he loved. He swore he'll never risk his heart again. Then he's traded to a team that wants a vet behind the plate to tame their new star pitcher. Jake is shocked to find the gangly kid he once knew has grown into a gorgeous young man. Tightly wound Nico's having trouble controlling his temper in his quest for perfection and needs a firm hand. Jake fights to teach him patience and restraint on the mound-but when the push and pull explodes into the bedroom, can they control their hearts? Contains mature themes.

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