Written by: Tara Scott
Category: 40+, Book Review, Celebrity, Contemporary, Lesbian Fiction, Romance, Sports, Taming The Beast/Thawing The Ice Queen, Toaster Oven ("Converting Hetro")
Tags: Lynn Ames, Phoenix Rising Press
One-Love by Lynn Ames is a romance that takes place in the world of tennis. Trystan Lightfoot is one of the leads, and although this isn’t her first appearance in a Lynn Ames book, One-Love totally stands alone.
Trystan let herself love once before and it almost shattered her. 16 years later, even just hearing about Jamison Parker (yes, that Jamison Parker) is enough to send her into a tailspin. Trystan’s learned her lesson and sticks with emotionless sexual encounters that keep her body satisfied and her heart safe. When she’s hired to be a full-time physical therapist for the Women’s Tennis Federation she agrees to stay discreet about being a lesbian and only focus on treating the players. Trystan didn’t count on one of them grabbing her attention, especially someone as lauded and successful (and straight) as C.J. Winslow.
C.J. used to reign supreme as tennis queen, but she needs to change up her game if she’s going to climb back to the top of the ranks. Tennis has been her life for as long as she can remember, and even if she doesn’t regret sacrificing everything else in her life to achieve greatness, she still finds herself lonely at times. A back injury brings her into contact with Trystan, and for the first time in her life she finds herself truly connecting with another person.
Trystan is very difficult to like at first. She’s a total player, entirely closed off with an angry edge to her. I almost stopped reading near the beginning because I disliked her so much, and I’m glad I didn’t. Yes, she’s angry and afraid to even consider romantic love, but she’s not actually as cold as I thought and has lovely close relationships with her mother, her best friend Becca, and eventually C.J..
C.J. is so focused on her career that she doesn’t have relationships of any kind except with her coach, and she doesn’t even seem to know that she’s a lesbian. Everything about her connection with Trystan is a new experience for her, and each woman has to learn and grow to make space for the other in her life. I also liked that C.J.’s emotional growth happened alongside learning a new approach to playing tennis. She has a lot of upheaval to navigate in her life, especially given how homophobic her environment is, and she does it gracefully, coming out the other side as a better person.
The Writing Style
Once I was able to get past my initial frustration with Trystan (which I now, of course, see as necessary for her character development), I was able to sink in and really enjoy the writing. The story and romance are well plotted and the pacing is just right. Even though I still don’t know anything about tennis except that the Williams sisters are goddesses, I found the tennis scenes easy to understand and follow.
A great romance, well told. What’s not to love?
Also, C.J. I really liked C.J. She may be one of my favourite Ames characters—I say may be because I don’t know if I could choose between her and Rebecca.
I don’t know if this is actually a con, but I was totally distracted the first several times “Women’s Tennis Federation” was referred to by its acronym.
Also, one other major thing and this is a spoiler, so you may want to skip to the conclusion.
Still with me? The blurb refers to a traumatic event in C.J’s childhood, which turns out to be a sexual assault. She tells the whole story to Trystan, and while it’s handled well, I know that can be a no-go for some readers.
If you’ve been looking for a sports romance, you should pick up One ~ Love. It was a great way to pass a weekend and I enjoyed it a whole lot.
Excerpt from One-Love by Lynn Ames
Trystan ducked into the training room. She wanted to be certain everything was set up for the first day of the tournament. She’d quickly discovered that it was best to be well-prepared in advance because when play began, she would be swamped.
Once inside, she stopped dead. There, sitting on a treatment table, was C.J. Winslow. She was crying, her head cradled in her hands. It was obvious she hadn’t heard Trystan come in.
Trystan considered retreating, but the sight of C.J. so clearly in distress propelled her forward. “Hey,” she said softly, careful not to startle the distraught woman. “Are you okay?”
C.J.’ s head whipped up and she hurriedly wiped at her eyes. “Fine.”
Trystan gave her a minute to compose herself. “I’ve heard several definitions for the word ‘fine,’ but none of them include crying.” She kept her voice gentle.
C.J. jumped down from the table, gathering herself and lifting her chin high. “I’m fine by any standard,” she said stiffly. Then, as if reconsidering, she added, “But thank you for asking.”
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9780984052127
- Publisher: Phoenix Rising Press
Lynn Ames Online
Note: I received a free review copy of One-Love by Lynn Ames. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.