Blog Tour: The Perfectly Imperfect Match (Suttonville Sentinels #3) by Kendra C. Highley
Pitcher Dylan Dennings has his future all mapped out: make the minors straight out of high school, work his way up the farm system, and get called up to the majors by the time he’s twenty-three. The Plan has been his sole focus for years, and if making his dreams come true means instituting a strict “no girls” policy, so be it.
Lucy Foster, needlepoint ninja, big sister to an aspiring pitcher, and chicken advocate, likes a little mayhem. So what if she gets lost taking her brother to baseball camp…at her own high school? The pitching coach, some hotshot high school player, obviously thinks she’s a hot mess. Too bad he’s cute, because he’s so not her type.
Problem is, they keep running into each other, and every interaction sparks hotter than the last. But with Dylan’s future on the line, he has to decide whether some rules are made to be broken…
Disclaimer: This book contains a crazy night of moonlit skinny-dipping, a combustible crush, and kisses swoony enough to unwind even the most Type A athlete.
Genre: Romance, Teen--
Lucy is a free spirited girl who has always marched to her own beat but would do anything for her family. Dylan is a very strict, dedicated guy getting over his recent crush gone bad, not interested in dating for fear it would get in the way of his goals. When Dylan ends up being the summer baseball camp coach to Lucy's beloved little brother Otto, sparks fly between Lucy and Dylan, but are they sparks of lust or hatred? The two could not be more different from each other, yet there is a pull, and they both find themselves having a hard time staying away...are such opposites really a good choice for a relationship?
Yet again, Kendra hits it out of the park (ha, like what I did there??) with book 3 in the Suttonville Sentinels series. All the books are about different characters and their challenges in finding love, but the one common factor is that the guys in each book play baseball on the Suttonville Sentinels High School team. They can be read as independent stories no problem, but it has been the best for me reading them in order. Each book will have a reference to the previous book, which fills me with happiness because I love the tie ins. That being said, this was an incredibly engaging, fast read that I sped through in one day because I did not want to put it down.
The plot was fun, with a few twists and dilemmas thrown in, but for the most part this was a character driven story, which I feel works the best for a romance story- you care about the characters so therefore you care about their relationship. I was a little uncertain about Lucy at the beginning, with her hot temper and take what you want personality, but I really liked her. She was willing to take chances, stand up for what she wanted and felt was right, yet she refused to be a doormat to anyone which I think I appreciated the most (and where can I get a chocolate amaretto cupcake??). Dylan was a little harder to crack though with his stiff demeanor and awkward personality, the few moments where he relaxed I was waiting for the shoe to drop and him to go crazy without structure. I think they worked so well as a couple since they both understood hard work, had goals and were not demanding of the other. Without them even realizing it, they complemented the other with their strengths and weaknesses balancing and learning from the other what they need. Yin and Yang at it's finest.
The ending of this book was absolutely perfect. This book overall was so sweet, making me feel all warm and fuzzy in my heart, and I wish it was a physical book in my hands so I could hug it to me. Can I just say how much I loved that this was not an angsty teen problem book: no gossip, no misunderstandings, no love triangles, but instead it was more about self discovery and learning how to pick the important battles and be a well rounded person.
I would have loved to see or at least hear about Kyle and Faith, but it was nice to see how well Tristan and Alyssa are together and how they interact with Dylan. It is 100 confirmed that I will read any book in the Suttonville Sentinels series and now I need to find Kendra's other books because I absolutely love the people she creates and how she puts her stories together so full of heart.
I received this title in return for my honest review.
Lucy watched Dylan cut through the water with a precise breaststroke. Even his swimming was neat and tidy. She slumped against the bench as he pulled himself onboard and untied the boys’ boat. He stood there, dripping, while their friends cruised away.
“Um…” He swallowed hard and wiped water out of his eyes. “Look—”
“Don’t bother.” She slumped as far as she could without falling off the bench. “I know what you meant. Just because our friends set us up doesn’t mean we have to do anything about it.”
“Hey.” He sounded irritated now. “You don’t understand, and that’s why I’m here. I’m not dating because I’m focused entirely on baseball right now. I have a shot at the minors next spring after we graduate, and I’m putting all my energy into that. It’s not you.” He rubbed his face, shifting his balance like he was going to jump out of the boat any second. “You’re…you’re…well, you’re someone I would definitely chat up under different circumstances.”
Lucy slowly sat up straighter, noticing how his ears had turned red. The little devil on her shoulder, the one that made her impulsive, talked her into pulling her shoulders back and pushing her chest out ever so slightly. Just to see what he’d do. When his eyes drifted, then snapped back to her face, she smirked a little. “Chat me up, huh? Even though you think I’m a hot mess?”
“Did I ever say that?” He crossed his arms over his life vest. “Maybe I questioned your ability to drive places, but I never said you were a mess.” “Uh huh.” She relaxed against the seat, unable to believe it. “You seemed really annoyed that I stayed for camp today. I could almost see the thought bubble over your head, ‘this one’s brought his crazy sister.’”
“I didn’t…” He squeezed his eyes shut and ground his jaw. After a deep breath, he tried again. “I just thought you were a little overprotective. Otis is nine, not two.”
“And who are you to decide that?” Lucy sat up straighter, daring him to look her over. “But, if you want, I’ll stay away from your precious camp. You better take good care of my brother, though, or we’ll have more than words, Coach Dylan.”
She sighed, furious that she’d taken the bait and engaged with this jackass. “You don’t have to stand there like you’re about to jump in the lake if I twitch in your direction. I wouldn’t touch you if you paid me.”
Dylan’s eyes narrowed. As if he was calling her bluff, he unbuckled his life vest and dropped it to the floor. Oh, shirtless boy alert.
Yep, she was right…he was cute. And cut. His blond hair was tinged gold by the setting sun, but her gaze kept straying somewhere else…somewhere tan and muscular. As she watched, his forearms tensed, showing off a pair of arms that demanded her attention.
She met his eyes and found him smirking back at her. Right. “I appreciate the effort, but you’re not my type.”
He rolled his eyes. “You’re not exactly mine, either, Princess.”
She rose, standing with her feet wide apart to compensate for the rocking boat. “And what type is that? Bubble headed? Simpering? Compliant?”
He glared at her. “Disciplined. Smart. Driven.”
She laughed coldly. “I think that’s the wrong kind of girl for you. Too much like-knows-like. You need someone to shake you up, make you live for now instead of a year from now.”
“Oh, and you think you’re the person to do that?”
For some reason, both their voices had risen, but she couldn’t back down. Mom would tell her the passion was getting the better of her, and if only she took a second to breathe, she’d see it. Too late for that now. “I might be, if you removed the stick from your ass.”
He took a step toward her. “Yeah, and you need someone to untangle your hot-mess self.”
She took a big step toward him, pointing a finger at his chest. “I knew you thought I was a hot mess!”
He took another step, but she wasn’t afraid of him. No, she didn’t think she’d ever felt so alive, honestly. Her heart pounded in her chest, and her fingertips tingled. Like she’d been in a dim room, and someone had turned on a floodlight.
“Fine! I did think it, and I’ll say it, too,” Dylan snapped. “You’re a hot mess, Lucy Foster. What are you going to do about it?”
Her mouth dropped open, and her whole body flushed with heat. The next step she took brought her an inch away from him. Close enough to see he was shaking. Rage? Fear? All she knew was that she was shaking, too, but it was from neither of those things. “You know what I think? I think you’re a jackass!”
Then, before she could decide whether this was the worst idea she’d ever had, she swayed closer, so that her chest brushed his just barely, and went up on tiptoe, stopping short of kissing him…waiting to see what would happen.
They stared each other down, each of them breathing hard. Lucy’s gaze dropped to his lips then back to his eyes, daring him to make a move.
He growled, this frustrated, almost anguished sound, before closing the distance. He pulled her close, his wet torso sliding slick against hers. Then his mouth was on hers, and she forgot everything—about being angry, about being stuck in the middle of the lake with a guy who pushed her buttons, about Dad being gone. Nothing mattered but his warm breath against her cheek and his strong arms holding her tight despite the rocking boat beneath them. Good thing, because she was lightheaded, but didn’t want to come up for air.
They clung together, the kiss frantic and disorganized. Somewhere in the back of her brain, she recognized this guy hadn’t let himself go for a long, long time…and that he’d been hurt recently. All of it was there in the depth of this kiss. His chest was warm, heaving against hers, and his fingers traced the line of her bare spine, sending shivers across her back.
She didn’t even hear the other boat approach. No, she didn’t notice a thing until Serena called, “Sweet baby Jesus! I said apologize, not act out a movie star kiss in the middle of my boat!”
Kendra C. Highley lives in north Texas with her husband and two children. She also serves as staff to four self-important and high-powered cats. This, according to the cats, is her most important job. She believes in everyday magic, extraordinary love stories, and the restorative powers of dark chocolate