Zach Glasser has put up with a lot for the sport he loves. Endless days on the road, playing half-decent baseball in front of half-full stadiums and endless nights alone, pretending this is the life he’s always wanted.
The thing is, it could have been everything he ever wanted—if only he’d had the guts to tell his family, tell the club, that he was in love with his teammate Eugenio Morales. Well, ex-teammate now. When Zach wouldn’t—couldn’t—come out, Eugenio made the devastating choice to move on, demanding a trade away from Oakland. Away from Zach.
Three years and countless regrets later, Zach still can’t get Eugenio out of his head. Or his heart. And when they both get selected to play in the league’s All-Star Classic, those feelings and that chemistry come roaring back.
Zach wants a second chance. Eugenio wants a relationship he doesn’t have to hide. Maybe it’s finally time they both get what they want.
I’m not a sports fan, but I do like a good sports romance, and having read the synopsis of début author KD Casey’s Unwritten Rules, I had high hopes of finding one within its pages. But while the book gets off to a good start, I’m afraid those hopes were dashed before I got to the halfway point. It doesn’t tread any new ground in terms of the storyline (closeted pro player worried about the effect coming out could have on his career) – and that’s fine; tropes are tropes, and it’s ultimately all about what the author makes of them. But while KD Casey can clearly write and really knows her stuff when it comes to baseball, the book has a number of fairly big flaws that make it impossible for me to offer a recommendation.
The story is told entirely from the perspective of Zach Glasser, a catcher with the Oakland Elephants. He’s Jewish (although not particularly observant from what I could gather), he has hearing loss in one ear, and in the first part of the story, he’s been playing in the major leagues for four years. He’s also gay and deeply closeted, he’s never had a relationship and is so terrified of anyone guessing about his sexuality that he seems to spend his life constantly assessing and regulating his behaviour to make sure he doesn’t give himself away. He knows he can’t possibly have a career in professional sport as an openly gay man and has told himself he’ll be able to have a life after he retires. But that’s quite a few years away yet.
Then Zach meets Eugenio Morales, a young up-and-coming catcher at spring training, and although they’re vying for the same place on the team, Zach is asked to take the other man under his wing. Eugenio is a fast learner; he’s also handsome and outgoing and Zach, who has never really allowed himself to get close to anyone, finds it hard to resist his overtures of friendship. It takes Zach quite a long time to see those overtures for what they really are, however; but once he clues in, he and Eugenio (who is bi) embark upon a very secret, very passionate affair.
It’s in the book blurb, so it’s not a spoiler to say that the relationship crashes and burns. Eugenio can no longer deal with the secrecy – and Zach’s near-paranoia – and Zach, despite promises he’s made, is no closer to coming out than when they first got together.
You can read the rest of this review at All About Romance.