Jul 17 2017 8:30am

First Look: Elley Arden’s The Perfect Game (July 24, 2017)

The Perfect Game by Elley Arden

Elley Arden
The Perfect Game (Arlington Aces #3)
Crimson Romance / July 24, 2017 / $4.99 digital

I'm a huge baseball lover, so it wouldn't have taken much to convince me to read Elley Arden's The Perfect Game...then it was pitched as “for fans of TV's Pitch and I knew instantly that this book was going to shoot to the top of my TBR pile.

And I'm oh, so glad it did. 

There's so much to love about this particular title, but right off the bat (I apologize, there's probably going to be a lot of inadvertent baseball puns here), Pauly being a black, female pitcher in the independent league caught my attention. 

Also, this book is a slow burn. I've talked about my intense love of slow burns and how they speak directly to my fanfic loving heart. Not only that, but this books fulfills my love of the following: enemies-to-lovers trope (in a way that doesn't make you hate one or the other characters), opposites attract, and “softer” men and the kick-ass women they love. 

Pitcher Pauly Byrne is hyperfocused. She has a goal—to pitch professionally for Major League Baseball, and she doesn't take kindly to obstacles in her way—especially hot, back-up-catcher-shaped obstacles like Ian Pratt.

Ian is the opposite of serious. He's a guy who plays in the independent league recreationally, is a full-time landscaper, and dedicated to beer and chicks kind of guy. When Pauly's usual catcher winds up in rehab, she's stuck having to work with Ian and their contentious relationship jumps off the page before the first ball makes it over the plate.

Ian is the type of guy who's more prone to run away from his problems or at least temporarily drown them in ale than face them down, which couldn't be further from Pauly's style if he tried.

Pauly challenges Ian to get his act together, and when Ian finds out some devastating news about his father, he decides to go along with Pauly's plan and start acting like he gives a damn about something. 

The thing I loved so much about this book is that even if you're not a fan of baseball's stats and numbers, the characters deal with relateable problems in relateable ways. Plus! There's the simmering heat and sexual tension between Pauly and Ian that make this book so wonderful to read. After Pauly and Ian's first kiss, she plays a pretty great game that only gets better when Iam comes to her rescue on the pitch. Being a superstitious player, Pauly decides Ian's kiss brought her good luck, and that she's going to have to continue kissing him.

He lifted his head. “You think the kiss is why you pitched a good game?”

“It definitely didn't hurt.”

He laughed loudly. “So are you kissing me now because you want me or because you want to keep pitching lights out?”

“I want it all,” she said, grinning as she nipped at his lips. “I'm greedy that way.”

Both Pauly and Ian have their own set of familial issues to deal with as well that drive the both of them towards each other, and away from each other in different places in the novel. The push-pull between Paul and Ian feels so honest and lacks the sort of contrivance that often comes in contemporary romance.

This wonderful story really did soothe my Pitch wounded heart. I'm so happy this title came along for the seventh-inning stretch. 


Learn more about or pre-order a copy of The Perfect Game by Elley Arden, available July 24, 2017:

Buy at Amazon

Buy at B&N

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H&H Editor Picks:

5 Reasons You Should Already Be Shipping Pitch’s Ginny/Mike (Bawson)

7 Things We’d Love to Happen if Pitch Ever Got a Movie Finale

July 2017 Romance Novels New Releases Shopping List


Jen is the production associate for H&H, a musical theatre nerd, and Thai food enthusiast. You can find her tweeting nonsense on the regular and being a fangirl over at Tumblr.

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
2. Kareni
Thanks for the review, Jen. I do like a slow burn, and this sounds good.
3. Tea-Tea
You make this sound so good! I'll definitely have to check it out.
4. Rivercat0338
Baseball! Female athlete! POC! Squee!
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