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Christmas Curveball

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When newly-single Rachel Tanner finds out that pro pitcher Kevin Ganlin has come home to recover from an injury, her heart skips a beat. She’s loved him from afar since her preteen years, never bold enough to let him know.

Kevin is less than thrilled when Rachel shows up at his doorstep. She’s his best friend’s little sister and officially off limits. Besides, he’s staring early retirement in the face, a one-man pity-party with no interest in anything more serious than quick flings on the road. Until an icy mishap lands Rachel cozied up on his sofa, irresistible in his practice sweats.

A little game of Truth or Truth reveals much more than Rachel had ever dared to hope and leads to a midnight make-out session that leaves them both panting. But can she trust that he’s truly changed his ways? This Christmas, Kevin will do whatever it takes to make Rachel understand she’s the only one for him.

111 pages, ebook

First published December 5, 2013

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About the author

Shari Mikels

4 books11 followers
Shari Mikels grew up wanting to be an astronaut and went to school for aerospace engineering. That is, until she found out the realities of being an AE. She switched to computer science, much to her mom’s satisfaction. That job led to her next career—as a cosmetics direct sales beauty consultant and director. After the birth of her son, she was ready to be a stay-at-home mom, spending her time reading to him and teaching him to read.

A lifetime love of reading had been pushed to the background, until a writers’ strike in Hollywood had her picking up books to get her fix of happily-ever-afters and vampires. Her voracious appetite for books came back full force, and she found not just paranormals, but romantic suspenses and contemporaries. She began proofreading for some of her favorite authors when her brain wouldn’t let her skip over the typos. What they didn’t know was that they were teaching Shari how to write the stories that lived in her head. Her second submission became her first industry-published book.

Shari lives in NC with her husband and son. She spends her days homeschooling her son, dreaming up scenes for her works-in-progress, writing, revising, editing and proofreading.

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5 stars
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28 (35%)
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Displaying 1 - 26 of 26 reviews
Profile Image for Bethany.
498 reviews65 followers
December 23, 2013
Christmas Curveball was a sweet friend to lover story. It was a fast read with the holidays mixed in.

Rachel Tanner has always been in love with her brother’s best friend, Kevin Ganlin. Loving him from a far, she finds and marries a man that reminds her of him, only to have her heart broken by his wondering eye.

Kevin Ganlin’s professional baseball career has hit a rough patch. With an injury forcing him to figure out what he has to do next. Hiding out at his mountain home, Kevin doesn’t want to be around anyone. That plan comes crashing down when his best friends little sister shows up at his door wanting to know why he is back in town. Ice and snow keep Rachel at Kevin’s place over night. Repressed feelings Kevin had for Rachel become too hard to repress but Rachel’s not sure she is willing to put her heart out there again.

This was a sweet romance that would be good to snuggle up and read on a cold winter’s day.
Profile Image for Jac (For Love and Books).
455 reviews59 followers
December 11, 2013
When I was a kid, I was head over heels in love with my best friends brother. I think that's just a right of passage. You love your best friends brother or your brothers best friend, whichever is applicable in your situation. (Now, I haven't see said brother in decades... but the rumor mill in my hometown says he's married now, and I hope he's happy. LOL!) But that storyline is forever one of my favorites in romance!

Christmas Curveball is one of those fantastic stories! It's short, sweet and super romantic. Rachel has been in love with her brothers best friend since childhood. It just happens that Kevin is a super hunky pro-baseball player!

I started this one in the middle of the afternoon. I had about 45 minutes to read before I had to start fixing dinner and be on our way to hockey practice. I figured I'd get a few chapters, put it down and maybe read tomorrow again. (I've been a bit slow reading lately...) WOW was I wrong. My poor kid had to wait until AFTER hockey to eat because I totally lost track of time and she ended up getting dressed in the car on our way to practice!

I loved every moment of this one, even the predictable ones! (Because let's face it, I love the predicitability in romance, it's part of why I read the genre!)

I would strongly recommend Christmas Curveball to anyone who is a fan of short and sweet Christmas Romances!! (And honestly, I really hope that Shari Mikels has something else coming out soon, I can't wait to read it!

*A huge thank you to Carina Press and Netgalley for giving me the chance to review this fantastic book!
Profile Image for ~Kate~.
662 reviews7 followers
December 13, 2013
Yup this is another Christmas read that I just had to have as it sounded like it would be a good Christmas read I just didn't realise how much I would enjoy it.

I do like the cover as it has the Christmas feel to it just like the story itself. I wouldn't say it's that in keeping with the story but in this case I'm not that bothered.

As soon as I started this book I just knew I was going to fall in love with it as it was just too cute not too. Yes this is a little bit cheesy but I do love a bit of cheese in my Christmas reads. It may have been a short book but it didn't stop me from getting swept away with it. This book was more set at around the Christmas time but I didn't feel like it took centre stage but I didn't mind because the romance made up for what I felt lacking in that department. I wish that this was a longer book as just didn't want to let go of the story or the characters.

The characters I absolutely loved even the side characters where a great addition. Rachel was a great female character who had some great willpower! Kevin was amzing I just fell in love with from the moment we met him and I could understand why Rachel loved him so much. There chemistry sizzled and just their interaction with one another made me laugh and swoon. I also loved Rachel's brother he was so funny I just wished he was in the book a bit more.

Overall I adored this book it had everything you want in a Christmas book, I highly recommend this book!
Profile Image for Kame.
795 reviews36 followers
December 5, 2013
Rachel, her brother Tim and Kevin have been friends forever. Kevin left their small hometown to become a professional baseball player. He always had an attraction to Rachel but his best friend Tim gave the "no dating my sister" rule. Rachel loved Kevin from afar, so much so she married someone who reminded her of Kevin. Now Kevin is home retiring from baseball and Rachel is divorced. It is Christmas time, time to make dreams come true!

The friendship between these three is great. Tim and Rachel have a great brother-sister bond. Rachel will not let a "mystery" go unsolved and I enjoyed how she "figured" out where Kevin was hiding, even if it was a little far fetched. The conflict and its resolution was a little too "neat and perfect" for me. However in the end I smiled and wanted another peak at these characters in a future book. I definitely would read a book about Tim!

Will this book keep you up at night turning pages desperate to know the resolution - no; and a good Christmas book doesn't have to. We don't have a lot of time at the Holidays and having a book that makes you smile and gives you the holiday spirit is what helps me relieve some stress at the end of the day and helps me relax before bed. This is one of those books!

I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley for my honest review.
Profile Image for Monica.
534 reviews59 followers
December 27, 2014
This is definitely a cute romantic Christmas read. Christmas Curveball is the tale of divorced Rachel and Kevin, her high school crush and brothers best friend. Rachel hasn’t really been interested in dating ever since her ex-husband cheated on her throughout their marriage; needless to say she has trust issues. Kevin has recently moved back in town after suffering an injury that ended his pro baseball career.

When Rachel finds out Kevin is back in town she goes out looking for him. While visiting him at his house in the mountains she snowed in and after a few days together they realize they have a connection that is more powerful than they ever imagined. Of course there are so many obstacles in their way there is doubt if they will ever be together.

Kevin is known for his playboy ways, having a girl in literally every town he plays in and of course that doesn’t sit too well with Rachel. She has those trust issues she just can’t get over, not matter how much she wants to trust Kevin there’s something that doesn’t let her fully commit to him.

I love the whole high school crushes having a second chance thing. There’s just something about fate and destiny that can’t help but make you believe it things happening for a reason. This is one book that will make you believe in it.
Profile Image for Holly Price.
200 reviews5 followers
December 15, 2013
Rachel's been head over heels for her brother's best friend, Kevin as long as she can remember. Kevin is a professional baseball player and has always had an abundance of girls and he hasn't hidden that he's with a new girl most of the time. Rachel was so caught up in Kevin that she even started dating an married a man that reminded her of Kevin. Her ex-husband now, David, also proved that he likes a different girl regularly. After coming to the conclusion that he has very real feelings for Rachel, Kevin decided he was done with being with different girls and advised his PR rep to make sure any girl he was seen with was aware of the limitation. Now Kevin's retiring after an injury and he's found himself back home trying to figure out what his next steps are. Rachel seeks out Kevin to figure out what's going on with him and they finally come face to face with the feelings they share. The big question is whether Rachel can get over Kevin's past and trust him. Is Kevin really looking for one woman?

This was a very sweet short story and easy to get caught up. I liked the characters and I'm hoping we get to hear Tim (Rachel's brother)'s story......and a little more about Rachel and Kevin wouldn't hurt either.

ARC copy provided by Netgalley for an honest review
Profile Image for Irene.
1,847 reviews120 followers
December 6, 2013
4 stars

Christmas Curveball was a fun and enjoyable read.

Rachel has a mishap and finds herself all cozied up on Kevin's couch and in his sweats. They decide to play Truth or Truth to pass the time and they end up finding out more than either had ever dared to hope for.
What started out as a fun game leads them into opening up about their feelings, both are surprised that what they felt back in their teens is still there only difference is now they can act on these feelings.

Being a professional pitcher Kevin has lead a full life, travelling, partying and lot's of female company. Rachel is recently divorced, her husband cheated on her and this has left her with trust issues. Trusting Kevin does not come easy for Rachel, knowing the life he's lead she finds it hard to believe she would ever be enough for him.

Kevin is a sweetheart and not the man the press has made him out to be. He loves Rachel and would do anything to prove that he loves her and she's always been the girl for him.

Christmas Curveball is a lovely holiday read and I really enjoyed it.

Thank you NetGalley and Carina Press for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Thea.
300 reviews4 followers
December 26, 2013
This time of year I like to curl up with Christmas romances. My requirements are simple: chemistry, good romantic scenes, family and some laughter.

Christmas Curveball had all of the above and more: Great strong female character in Rachel- check, Hottie reformed bad boy Kevin - check, Great chemistry between the two - check. Humor - check, Good male friendships - check. Great female friendship - check. The snarky ex - check.

For such a short book Mikels packs in punch with this cute but sexy little novella, she also writes some steamy hot scenes. I love her style of writing it is fast paced and keeps you engaged and her characters are people you want to get to know

Kevin and Rachel have always had a thing for each other but have made some bad choices thinking the other one was not available/interested/warned off by the brother etc. Now he is home recovering from an injury and its Christmas and they find their way towards each other.
Profile Image for Paris.
Author 14 books48 followers
August 11, 2016
I really liked Christmas Curveball by Shari Mikels. I am a big fan of forbidden friends of sibling romances, especially when the attraction has almost always been there on both sides and not just now that the woman is grown up and has “blossomed”. Kevin and Rachel had always liked each other, but there was a lot keeping them from each other, least of which was Rachel’s older brother. Their insecurities were completely understandable and really great to see they actually talked them out.

This story really had everything I want in a romance, even if the beginning was a tad awkward. I liked Kevin and Rachel from the start. They had smoking hot chemistry and there was some great humor in the book as well. I liked Rachel’s friends and would like to see a story with one of them as the lead. Or maybe even Rachel’s brother. I really enjoyed Shari Mikels’ writing and look forward to reading more by her.

Arc provided by the publisher via Netgalley
Profile Image for ReadAlongWithSue .
2,646 reviews170 followers
September 8, 2014
I was gifted this book for an honest review from Carina Press via Net Galley.
I received this unedited and never had any problems with it at all. If you get a chance to read this lovely uplifting book then I should.

Kevin returns home, he is in hiding, and Rachel learns of this from seeing a truck with his well known logo on his license plate when at a car service station having her wind wipers renewed. She goes home and tackles her brother about it, she he has told her to keep it a secret.

There is a lovely undercurrent of love and sexual tension that comes out from the pages from them both, but fear is holding them back.

I recommend this book, its only just over 2 hours to read and a nice one to sneak in between book reads.
Profile Image for Aimee.
457 reviews48 followers
August 3, 2016
This was a very quick read and while I did enjoy it I think I would have enjoyed it more if it would have been a bit longer and the author would have spent some more time developing the characters. Everything just felt rushed and I was at the end before I knew it.

The characters are likable and I found the story interesting, a famous baseball star returns home and realizes he is in love with his best friends sister who he has known his whole life. Kevin and Rachel had great chemistry and I did enjoy reading about them, like I said I just wish it would have gone into more detail about their lives and their relationship.

If you are looking for a quick Christmas read this one is for you, if you like more substance in your stories I would pass on this one.
Profile Image for Anna.
942 reviews12 followers
August 25, 2016
For a cute contemporary romance, this book was sweet like cotton candy, but also fluffy and without a ton of value and substance. It was predictable and even a bit lacking in some of the areas. I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt though because in 111 pages I have a hard time getting too attached to anything in the plot or the characters to know what to expect, so I'm giving it 3 stars.

It grazes over a professional athlete coming to the end of his career, it deals briefly with some unrequited love and also with trust issues because of a scored divorcee. But, none of it really feels deep enough to matter. Again, my disclaimer here is that novellas/111 page books aren't really my thing, so I'm maybe judging too harshly.
Profile Image for Danielle .
2,572 reviews68 followers
January 1, 2014
Curveball Christmas was a fun, quick read for me. Something to put you in the Christmas spirit. Rachel Tanner has always been in love with her brother's best friend, pro pitcher Kevin Ganlin. Well now Kevin in no longer playing professional baseball due to an injury and Rachel is divorced from her jerky husband.

Kevin is known to be a lady's man. With a different women in every city. Rachel can not deal with that kind of heartbreak again. Her husband was a cheating loser. Rachel doesn't know if she wants to give a relationship a go with Kevin. She thinks she is setting herself up for heartbreak.

It has taken years but Kevin has decided that Rachel is the only women he wants. He is willing to do what it takes to get her.

Happily Ever After...
Profile Image for Janet.
1,544 reviews14 followers
January 16, 2014
I would consider this a novella, but it reads well and was very satisfying. Shari Mikels was able to do something that is difficult in novella format - she was able to balance the character development with the story. Christmas Curveball is sweet, has likeable characters, offers a satisfying story of friends to lovers in a Holiday setting. It certainly would be a great read for anytime of year if you like simple well plotted romances.
*I received my copy from NetGalley.com in exchange for an honest review.
915 reviews14 followers
December 5, 2013
Christmas Curveball has warmth, humor and charm and, at just over 100 pages, is the perfect quick romance break when you need to get away from the holiday rush. You know going in where everything will lead but Rachel and Kevin are so likeable that you gladly follow right along every step of the way.

If you are looking for a sweet holiday romance, this is a must-buy.

Full review available at http://romanticreadsandsuch.wordpress...
Profile Image for Books and Spoons.
1,613 reviews28 followers
September 6, 2016
I love Christmas romance books. And this one was lovely! Absolutely loved the author's fun style of writing.
The story is so enjoyable, the second chances, the BFF's younger sister storyline, the love and heat between the characters, the goodwill-to-all of the holiday season...
Profile Image for Alexia Reed.
Author 2 books19 followers
December 9, 2013
I was looking to read a light holiday story so I picked up Christmas Curveball. I loved it! Shari has a great voice and I love the best friend's sister trope. It's one of my favourites. I am hoping the brother gets a story!
Profile Image for Gina.
482 reviews3 followers
December 12, 2013
Loved this story ---Rachel and Kevin have always been in love and what better way to find each other is at Christmas. Great story for the holidays and hopeless romantics!!
Profile Image for Joely Burkhart.
Author 105 books1,677 followers
January 4, 2014
Sweet touching romance

This was such a sweet story. Bonus brother's best friend trope! Cute dialogue, vulnerable heroine, and tender wounded warrior hero.

Displaying 1 - 26 of 26 reviews

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