Review: “Warning Track” by Carrie Aarons

Author: Carrie Aarons

Series: Callahan Family, #1

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Steam: 🔥🔥🔥🔥

Tropes: Forbidden, Enemies to Lovers, Workplace Romance, Sports Romance

Trigger/Content Warnings: Domestic Abuse

Release Date: November 6th, 2020

Goodreads | (Available on KU)

Synopsis: Colleen Callahan is exactly where she’s always dreamt of being.

From a young age, she’s been groomed to take over as general manager of the Packton Pistons, her family’s professional baseball dynasty. Except she never expected her father would have to go to prison for the role to become hers.

The public, and even her own family, are counting on the first female to wear the title to fail. Hoping to wipe the slate clean and clear the club’s name, Colleen vows to put her job above everything else. Friends, a social life, her well-being, and most of all, love.

Until she meets the team’s new star player. Their chemistry is instant, igniting the stadium and her heart. But the last thing she needs is a distraction, much less a surly God of the clay diamond who seems to despise her.

Fate has other plans, though. If they’re found out, it could mean the end of both of their careers. Except hurtling so close to the danger zone has never felt more right.

Hayes Swindell would prefer hell over the place he ended up.

After a series of bribes and blackmail gone bad, the league’s most desirable veteran superstar finds himself playing on a team that he wants no part of. The family who runs this dynasty is corrupt, and he’s spent his career avoiding limelight exactly like this.

With a chip on his shoulder and the intention to hightail it out of Pennsylvania as soon as his one-year contract is up, he has no plans to fall for the very woman he should stay away from.

In his ten years in the league, he’s never once gotten bit by the love bug. But the moment he lays eyes on her, Hayes can see his days are numbered. When the forbidden happens, he has a decision to make.

Should they head for disaster together, risking it all, or course-correct and save themselves the ultimate price of heartbreak and scandal?

Review: Have I found my favourite Carrie Aarons book? Why, yes I have. Am I going to be obsessed with the Callahan family for a long time to come? Why, yes I am. Do I have any regrets? Absolutely not.

Warning Track is the first in what is going to be an awesome series by Carrie Aarons. It follows the Callahan family and their small town legendary baseball team, the Packton Pistons. And the first book starts with Colleen Callahan’s story. Her father, the previous general manager of the team, is in jail after causing a ruckus and doing all kinds of illegal dealings and shady business in the baseball industry. Part of these shady dealings was illegal tradings of players from different teams – cue Hayes Swindell’s entrance into the story. Colleen is given the job of general manager and she not only has to smooth everything out, but she needs to do it in the shadow of her father, which is the worst place to be. Especially when everyone is side-eyeing the team and the family business, including those within the business. Hayes is one such person and he’s made it clear that he doesn’t care for the Callahan family or their drama.

Colleen is such an incredible character – she’s strong, poised, smart, beautiful, witty and driven. She’s been given the toughest job in the business and there’s just so much pressure on her to deliver something awesome. Not only does she have to make sure the team makes it to the championship, she also has to make sure that everyone on the team is happy and taken care of. She’s got her uncle breathing down her neck and her father is setting out to ruin her life from prison, but Colleen is so damn brilliant. She’s tough as nails and she’s not going to let anything get in the way.

“There is this spark between us, I recognise the primal feeling in my chest. I knew it the first time I saw her, that niggling in your chest that tells you a certain person is someone you might be interested in, even if you haven’t said one word to them.”

And then there’s Hayes. Veteran baseball player, with championship rings under his belt and a name to uphold. He was one of the victims of Colleen’s father’s shady dealings and he’s not happy about staying in Packton to play for a team that isn’t his. But because he’s a professional and because he’s getting paid, he puts himself out there. Including biting at Colleen because of her last name. But Hayes is respected and well-known and it’s impossible to ignore the power he holds in a sport like baseball. So to keep the peace, he sucks it up. While Hayes might seem like an asshole, he’s just so focused on his career that sometimes he forgets that the whole world doesn’t feel the way he does.

“Hayes Swindell is not a man who kisses you and just leaves a polite reaction. I feel like I’ve been branded, stamped with his mouth on mine.”

I loved Colleen and Hayes individually, but their chemistry is incredible. Every time Hayes snaps at Colleen, she responds in the most professional way she can. She’s a business woman at the end of the day and she’s not going to let the frustrations of one payer get in the way of her doing her job. After all, Hayes has to be kept happy if she wants a winning team. But they go from snapping at each other to becoming friends and then slowly everything shifts into something else. Their attraction to each other is undeniable, but they keep fighting it because everyone knows Hayes has no love for the Callahan family and if word got out that Hayes and Colleen are a thing, it could mean the end of his career and people respecting her. And neither of them want that.

“I want you so badly, I ache for you.”

Hayes’ feelings for Colleen are so beautiful and overwhelming. Just imagine being seen like that by someone who looks like Thor, you’re going to be climbing him like a tree too. Even before they cross that line, it’s just all kinds of intense and spicy and fun. I think Hayes and Colleen might also be my favourite Carrie Aarons couple and that’s saying a lot since I was borderline obsessed with Mick and Jolie for a really long time.

Another aspect of this book that I truly did love was the deep dive into baseball. Where I’m from, baseball is not even a sport that registers in our newspapers. I watched one baseball game 15 years ago and got to take home a baseball that flew into the stands, but for me to actually see the passion of these players and see the game through their eyes is awesome. That’s something I love about sports romances, because I feel like it’s so important to actually experience the sport and not just acknowledge that the characters play a sport.

The supporting characters in this book were also so great! Walker and Clark are so interesting and I hope we get more of them in the coming books. There’s a lot of hinting at things in this, so I feel like I know what’s coming next, but I’m not going to speculate. I loved Colleen’s relationship with her family and I’m not kidding when I say that I’m going to be totally obsessed with the Callahan family – they’re so wholesome and yet so complicated. 

Thanks to Carrie Aarons for an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

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