cover image Open Play

Open Play

J.N. Welsh. Montlake, $12.95 trade paper (382p) ISBN 978-1-5420-3477-7

Welsh (In Tune) spins a fast-paced love at first sight tale featuring a driven physical therapist and the two handsome athletes she meets by chance in Dublin. American Ayanna Crawford has gained a reputation as the leading expert on ACL injuries, and she’s looking forward to a little downtime in Dublin before presenting at a convention in Liverpool. She meets charming Irish soccer player Eoghan O’Farrell, and his best friend, Shane MacCallum, whose own soccer career was ended by a torn Achilles’ tendon. Though she and Eoghan initially hit it off, she’s blindsided by her chemistry with Shane, who soon eclipses his friend as Ayanna’s obvious endgame partner. She never expects to see either again after their flirtatious weekend—until Eoghan suffers a severe injury and Shane accompanies him to America for Ayanna’s treatment. Soon Ayanna’s fighting hard against what she already knows: she’s in love with Shane. Crawford’s complicated heroine, who was forced to grow up too fast and is terrified to take a chance on love, is easy to root for, while handsome Shane makes an ideal romance hero. With its snappy plot and strong supporting cast, this charming outing is sure to win hearts. Agent: Sarah Younger, Nancy Yost Literary. (Feb.)