THE THIRTEENTH CHANCE                         AMY MATAY

Baseball star Will Vandergriff knows any number of women who would happily pretend to be his girlfriend. In a last-ditch effort to restore his good standing with his team’s higher-ups, he enlists the help of his neurotic, goody-goody neighbor. Schoolteacher Olivia Pratt might be a bit quirky and a bit of a loner, but she’s a lot more inviting than she knows. Will hopes that bringing her to his next game might revamp his reckless reputation and help get his career back on track. The only problem? The plan works a little too well. Not only do the higher-ups love Olivia, but Will plays his best game yet. Suddenly his losing streak is a thing of the past, and Olivia is his new good-luck charm. Will feels anything but lucky.

After years of keeping the world at bay, Olivia Pratt is pulling off the ultimate performance—not only reluctantly posing as Will’s girlfriend but also insisting that she’s oblivious to his major-league appeal. But she can only lie to herself for so long. Being by Will’s side feels good. Really good. Maybe it’s finally time to make a pitch for everything she really wants—and to find out just how exhilarating love can be.

     Olivia Pratt is a 29-year-old, 4th grade teacher in Texas.  She really loves being a teach and working with children.  She really is a natural.  Truly gifted at being nurturing.  Which is so had to believe once you consider her background and how unloved and neglected she felt.
     You see her older brother was to golden child in her household. He was the one being groomed to be the pro baseball star.  So things like her dance lessons couldn’t and shouldn’t interfere with their parent’s master plan to help him get there.  To the point where Olivia learned how to be invisible.  That is until they needed her for some staged event.  Then she was only a prop.  She thought that once her brother signed with the Cardinals the nightmares would be over but they had only begun.
     You see his season in the majors wasn’t even over when her brother got busted for using and selling drugs.  Resulting with him losing his position with the Cardinals and 5 years in the pen.  To say Olivia was pissed at him and her parents was an understatement.  She had given up her childhood because of him and never the attention of her parents.  A little over 5 years has passed and the only real calls she gets from her mom is to tell her to call and mend fences with her brother.
     Enter her new neighbor who moves in next door.  Will Vandergriff 31, a pitcher for the Texas Rangers.  He is still in the early stages with this team he was traded from the Yankees.  He’s not feeling too sure of himself because since he’s gotten here he has had a bad pitching spell and he has felt responsible for the losses the team has been getting.  Apparently, so have the fans and sports casters at Sport Center.
     The only time he seems to smile or even chuckle lately is when he is watching his new neighbor next door the “Crazy Cat Lady.”  She is beautiful he would have to give her that but come on who puts their cat on a leash?  This cat, a white Persian, has scratched the lovin’ tar out of her and she still puts it on to walk it.  Well, really you can’t call it walk it more like drags it.  Don’t get him started on her OCD.  But he can’t talk since he has his baseball superstitions.
     But one night after a game he has a party at his place.  Yes, it’s after midnight.  Yes, the music is on the louder side.  Yes, he is really ready to pack it in but won’t for image sake.  It’s a party for goodness sake.  When all of a sudden there is pounding at his door.  Blake his only BFF on the team and his catcher answers it.  You see he is in the kitchen putting out a fire.  No really putting out a good honest fire a bimbo started and then must have put herself into shock decided to just stare at it.  Well, he had to do something fast since it was getting close to the alcohol bottle.  Burning his hand, a little.  Not a good thing when you’re a pitcher.
     So, when Blake comes to him and says hey man someone’s looking for you at the door and he ask who?  Blake saying some crazy eyed fan with a screw driver he thinks of OCD neighbor.
When he goes to ask her, “What do you want?” As he lusts over the fact that she is not dressed like a strict librarian but just rolled out of bed sexed up kitten.  When she says, “You want to turn your music down?”  Which reminds him yeah bitchy librarian.  Then he asks if she wants a coke to drink or something else?  She says she can’t she has a date waiting and the music’s so loud that can’t watch the movie.  He doesn’t believe she has a date.
     There is something about her he likes and he can’t put his finger on it and the same for Olivia.  In fact, in Olivia’s case she does everything in her power to despise him because she hates baseball.  You see it took over her whole childhood and she didn’t want it to be a part of her adulthood at all.  So since the players were a part of the game and he was a play she had to hate him right?  So why is she attracted to him?
     Then one day he needs her help to be his girlfriend.  The thing is when she agrees and goes to that first game he wins and in fact plays the best he has ever played.  Then he talks her into a second game.  Each game they find out a little more about one another.  Olivia’s biggest problem with Will is that his image/ego is just too important to him when it needs to be the people can he change that?  Can Olivia be that person?
     Like when he asks her favorite color she says, black.  He says, not a color she says, of course it is.  If you add black to any other color you get more depth to it.  It might create shadows or for layering, all color becomes richer when you add a little black.  How many of you like black now?
     This author had some very poignant lines throughout this book.  I found myself high lighting them.  They made me stop and think for sure.  Just like the part about the color black.  This author takes something that a great many people suffer from to varying degrees and brought it light in a humorous yet gentle non-threatening way.
     The characters were well rounded and true.  They were funny and warm.  People you could find as friends.  I give this 5 stars.  Provided by  Follow us at:

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