THE ACE                                                      RHONDA SHAW
Posted:  April 28, 2014

 “Love ’em and leave ’em” has been real estate agent Karen Bently’s motto for as long as she can remember. She doesn’t need a man, except to make her toes curl. Or so she thought, until her longtime crush, Ace pitcher Jerry Smutton, sets his sights on her. 
After signing one of the largest baseball contracts in history with the Detroit Rockets, Jerry enlists Karen to help him find the house of his dreams. Their connection is instant and electric, but neither of them is the relationship type. When Jerry proposes a friends-with-benefits arrangement, that suits Karen just fine. 
Passionate sleepovers soon turn into long, romantic evenings… Still, Karen and Jerry refuse to acknowledge they’re a couple. Karen insists that she’s immune to Jerry’s heart-melting charm. Jerry’s not ready to settle down. Denial is the name of the game, until one pitch changes everything…

     Rhonda Shaw puts a very interesting spin on a new event in men and women’s lives, casual, unattached, and “friend bennies.”  “Friend beneies” you ask? Well, it means friends with benefits.
     You see Karen Bently has been has been hurt by two important relationships in her past, an ex-fiancĂ© who was deceitful to her in last year in college when they were to marry.  The more important of the two would be her father.  He deserted her mother, which in turn deserted her too.
     So, now she is the one woman wrecking team in the relationship department, in fact she doesn’t let one start.  Her best friend Maddie and sister Shannon are always talking to her about it but it never takes hold.  In fact she just never really allows a relationship to start.  If a guy gets to close she gives him his walking papers.  Sometimes, cutting him off at the knees.
     Now Jerry Smutton, he could be her down fall he is the best friend to Chase which is her best friend Maddie’s fiancĂ©.   They are getting married and Jerry and Karen have been asked to stand up for them that is how they met.  He is the Ace pitcher for the Detroit Rockets, Chase is also a pitcher for the team.
     Jerry just signed a lifetime contract as the highest paid player in the major league.  They had met through Chase and Maddie and he knew she was in real estate.  So, as a ruse to get close to her he asked her to show him some houses.  What he is really looking for is a “friend beneies.”
     One of the times out Karen take him to this house that they both seem to like but this is what happens before he even walks in.  Jerry had a vision of Karen coming out of the front door, laughing as a yellow dog sprinted by her and out into the yard, eager to play.  As fast as it hit him it left him.  It left him unsettled wondering where it had come from and if he was starting to lose his mind since he did not want to settle down at all.  This vision left him with a sense of loneliness that he felt every time she took him looking for houses.  The minute he stepped over the threshold his hairs stood on end which he had to ignore.  He had to fight the feeling to leave it was a feeling of something that he was not ready for but once he looked around his uneasiness was gone.
     After a few times out looking, flirting, and circling they lay down the ground rules.  They finally go for it and have their first night but something is off.  They are “feeling” and not liking that one big time.  Denial in the forefront they forge ahead but their minds and hearts keep them off balance.
     Come on the rollercoaster ride you may be surprised to see how funny, unnervingly real, and piercing your emotions ride the surface as these two try to figure out what is happening to them.  Could the tapes of old fears and old hurts cause them to not connect and stay together.  You might want to read "The Changeup" first.
     I give this 5 stars.  Provided by Net Galley.
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