Monday, December 16, 2013

Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally (Hundred Oakes book 2)

"She just got thrown a major curveball."

This is book two in the Hundred Oaks series but can be read as a standalone. Fans of Catching Jordan will recognize one of the baseball players as Sam Henry with brief mentions of his girlfriend, Jordan Woods.

A year ago, Parker Shelton's parents divorced after her mother announced that she was a lesbian and moved in with her "friend". Parker gave up her dreams of her playing softball for Thousand Oaks High School. The family was devastated when their mother left and Parker refuses to answer her phone calls. Her mother was a shortstop for the University of Tennessee and baseball was the family past time, but not anymore. Going to church was painful because of all of the stares and whispers, but her father still makes her and her older brother Ryan go. People thought Parker would turn out to be a lesbian as well and needed to protect their daughters from her. Parker began to change when her friends began to turn on her.

Her best friend Drew Bates has signed her up to be the manager of the baseball team. She only agrees because she can meet and hang out with all of the cute boys on the team. She even stays when the coach says that she can't date or mess around with anyone on the team. He had problems out of last year's manager. That was the only reason she agreed. Parker kisses a lot of guys to prove that she isn't like her mother. Everyone at school knows she messes around and is never serious. Will Whitfield, the team captain, warns her not be mess around with Drew. Friends since they were in diapers, Parker has never been interested in Drew that way. Will doesn't need to be worried. She wants a boyfriend but she just hasn't found a guy she is willing to risk her heart over.

All of that changes for Parker when she meets Brian Hoffman, the new assistant coach. Parker is immediately entranced, especially when he remarks over her throwing arm. Acting like she doesn't know a whole lot about baseball, Brian teaches her how to keep stats. They begin talking and she learns that he is six years older than her and will be taking over coaching the team next year when the current coach retires. The two of them quickly develop an easy conversation that leaves Parker wanting to know the new coach more. She is embarrassed when the boys joke about her getting around. All she does is kiss them.

Coach Lynn, the softball coach, is visibly upset to see Parker taking stats for the boys. Brian sees the conversation and comes over. He is shocked to learn that Parker played varsity softball as a freshman until she quit last year. Coach Lynn reminds her that she wanted nothing to do with baseball and now look at her. She tells Parker that there is always a place for her on the team. What Parker hasn't told anyone is how her teammates made fun of her in the locker room, asking if she was a lesbian. Her female friends turned on her but Drew stayed true and by her side, never judging her. When Coach Lynn leaves, Brian asks her if she knew how to take stats. She replies that she did. He lets her know that he doesn't like wasting his time.

Parker starts to obsess over seeing Brian and Drew calls her out on it. She asks him why he didn't tell her that he broke up with his girlfriend. He doesn't want to talk about it. Will tells her later that Drew told him that there was someone he liked better. He believes that someone is her but Parker secretly thinks that Drew might be homosexual. Parker begins to see herself as everyone else at school and church sees her; an easy girl. All she really wants is for her family to go back to the way it was before her mother left.

Will Parker attempt to cross the line with the new baseball coach? Does she clean up her behavior to change her reputation? Is Drew really in love with Parker or with someone else? Will Parker begin to talk to her mother again? Can she find that one boy she is willing to risk her heart for? And will Parker be able to rekindle her love of softball?

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