||Apr. 3, 2013
Tay's an ex-basketball star hiding from her past, Rob's the journalist who smells a story. When Rob's sister sets him up with her best friend ... fate takes dinner and romance to a whole nother level.
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I Dance with Words
Rob van Horn is a hotshot sports journalist with an instinct for a headline.
Taylor O’Brien is a basketball player with a checkered past and regrets.
She’s not his type. He’s her best friend’s younger brother. When they clash over a bloody beef tenderloin, there’s more at stake than splitting the appetizer.
When they go one-on-one on the basketball court Rob makes it clear to everyone that his tastes have changed—at least in women.
There’s one little problem, an ex-husband who’s not what he seems, and a story that turns Rob into a bloodhound, with all clues circling back to Taylor.
The more he digs, the more Rob finds that sometimes fate takes dinner and romance to a whole nother level…
The maître d looked down his nose at me, which wasn’t really too hard seeing’s how I was on the height challenged side of six foot.
“Do you have a reservation?” Pause. Heartbeat. Cue insolent sneer. “Sir.”
Yes and no. My sister and her current husband made arrangements for us to meet here, at Che Snoot, for drinks, a light dinner and then off to see what the next Bob Fosse clone had thrown together for this year’s Tony Awards best musical.
I’d had courtside at the Garden, a solo gig complements of the team manager and an old friend.
There was the temptation to feign a fast acting flu but since hubby number four was a medical professional my darling sister would be sure to mention needles and a bracing elixir with Vicks or some other ungodly concoction and the jig would be up.
Needles I could take. I wore big boy loafers.
It was the Vicks … did it every time.
They were also in town just for the weekend, a second honeymoon. I knew better than to ask why they wanted to spend it with me, a sports journalist with Guinness in his veins, instead of on a round bed and a mirrored ceiling over in Pennsy. It was a nice time of year, just coming fall.
If it had been me, I’d have opted for getting laid.
Apparently Cordie had other priorities. I couldn’t speak to the neurosurgeon’s plans, having never met the man. Basically all I knew about him was he ran a lucrative fiefdom at Pittsburgh General and kept Cordie in a manner the first three hadn’t even come close to.
“Sir?” The man actually looked a little frazzled. There was a line behind me, albeit it was still polite and non-committal. They had to be tourists. New Yorkers would have thrown me out on the sidewalk without a thought.
Pre-show dinners required running a pretty tight ship. I wasn’t helping the cause.
“I’m meeting a couple for dinner.”
“Ah.” The magical pen appeared, conjured from an inner pocket. It was a nice Montblanc knockoff. I recognized it because I’d picked one up off a street vendor near the Post building last week.
It leaked until it was dry and the cleaners said whatever they say in Chinese to mean you’re SOL. I still had it.
“Is the reservation under their name?” He’d slowed down enough for me to realize he thought I was thick, you know, in that be kind to animals and retards way. I didn’t take offense. The truth was, it was like a trick question.
He wanted a name. Geez, the pressure.
Number one had been so far back in memory I’d been just a kid in short pants; hubby number two was Chaim, Cosmo, C-something; three … now, him I remembered. Arnie, Arnie Clarkson. We’d gone to see Snakes on a Plane three times together, chanting—along with everyone else in the theater—“Enough is enough! I have had it with these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking plane!”
Cordie blamed me for that divorce.
A Slam-Dunk Romanc
Points on a Curve is a slam-dunk read. Diane Nelson spins a tale of unexpected love and intrigue that spans the globe, pulling the reader along with snappy dialogue and witty prose. Rob is an unlikely hero--not the usual alpha male, but a dare I say, semi-nerdy, sports journalist on the hunt for the story that will cement his career. I fell in love with Rob from the beginning. Determined not to like the woman his sister plans to set him up with, he's surprised to find that Tay is exactly his type, and his nose for news tells him there's more to her than a pair of legs long enough to wrap around his waist.
Trusting the wrong man cost Tay her career as a professional basketball player, damaged her credibility, and wounded her heart. Her attraction to her best friend's younger brother is unexpected as well as impossible (for reasons I won't disclose). Determined to reinvent herself, the last thing Tay needs is someone snooping into the past she's trying desperately to bury, but Rob won't take no for an answer, and no matter how hard she tries to deny her feelings for him, she can't.
Both characters need to be rescued, Rob from his loner lifestyle and Tay from the mistakes of her past. The problem is, they don't necessarily want to be rescued. At least not by each other. What they want is hot, no strings sex, but they both realize once they sink that basket the game will be over.
I thoroughly enjoyed the game these two played on the way to the final score--a slam-dunk love. Ms. Nelson takes you center court and gives you a full four quarters of sexual tension and intrigue before the final buzzer sounds on her characters. In the end, everybody wins, Tay, Rob, and especially the reader.
I give Points on a Curve five stars.
A Wonderful Read!
Taylor "Tay" Richardson- O'Brien is one of the world's walking wounded, a former basketball star of professional caliber who threw it away by loving the wrong guy. Rob van Horn sputters through life with issues of his own. Both have the good fortune to know Cordelia Finkelstein -older sister to Rob and best friend from college to Tay. Her matchmaking places together these two lost souls. Without knowing it, each has the power to cast the devils from the other. Their adventures proceed at near the speed of light in this fast paced, tightly written romance.
Diane Nelson has an incredible knack with original expression. I can't count the number of times I stopped at a passage to marvel at her vivid choice of words: Tay, with characteristic terseness, sums up her life as "... a train wreck, with me the only passenger."
Rob stops for a meal during an overnight trip to his sister's home and declares:
"A boat of sauceless hot wings, tasteless fries and a jumbo Mountain Dew staved off the gnarlies, but I forgot to order toothpicks to prop my eyelids open. "
The characters, both main and supporting, have clear and believable voices. After twenty pages you don't need tags or action narrative to know who's speaking, but the hard hitting tone of Points on a Curve makes the New York night scene- down town as well as uptown- and the world of sports journalism come alive.
This is a wonderful read of love and loyalty wrapped in an edge of the seat adventure.
Sex, Food, Basketball--What's Not to Love?
I had read small snippets of this work here and there, always searching for the Rob pov chapters. See, I'd fallen for him hook, line and sinker-shot-from-the-outside. I wanted more of this cocky, sophisticated sports journalist with a `tude, a smartass façade, and a good shot of loneliness.
"I liked women who could handle balls, especially mine," he says, before he meets the enigmatic Tay. But something about her seizes his heart strings and begins to squeeze, until he's tormented with finding out more about this woman-with-a-past.
And then, sha-ZAM. About half way through, Taylor-call-me-Tay stole me away. A too-big woman, with thick-padded fingers and a helluva reach, "sporting a body only a forward could love," the ex-point guard began to seduce me right along with Rob, until I couldn't help rooting for her from the sidelines...
In this passage, shattered emotionally from wanting him while he remains at a distance, she climbs the stairs to her empty apartment, thinking about Rob:
"Every step was a harp string plucked with strong, masculine fingers, thick and rough padded, capable of circling my throat and tilting my chin until that notch hollowed out for his tongue to prod and tease."
I like a lot of things about this story. I like the way the dialogue drives the action. I like the freshly-handled inner pov, the way one chapter sets up the reader for the next (alternate) pov. I like the story line itself, the harsh and believable background of Italian politics-with-divorce and gangsta-for-real, the mystery-solving angle. I like the extended sports metaphors--especially the chapters devoted to the two of them on and off the court--for they seem to fit this physical couple perfectly. And I like the "hold back the final thrust" writing technique. Lots of tease, leaving me wanting the coitus without the interruptus.
I confess that, not being a foodie, I skimmed over many of the passages that took gourmet food as the opening beats for a series of sensual riffs on the, um, dining experience. But that's just me. There were times the food conceit worked very well, as when Rob asks himself, "Is this what love tastes like?"
And the closing chapter, come full-circle to the snooty restaurant, was perfect, both a climax and a dénouement.
Without giving away any more, I award it a five, as in five-star restaurant. As in starting five. READ THIS BOOK
I bought this book for my own reading pleasure. And fulfilled it.
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