I was destined for stardom.
From the age of seven, I was an all-star.
Parent’s praised me, coaches worshipped me.
As I got older, girls begged for me.
I was Beltline’s baseball God, guaranteed to put this small town on the map.
Then, after one night, that future vanished.
The legend was laid to rest.
I gave up my scholarship.
I fled from Beltline.
I left behind the girl.
Now, I’m back.
GOODREADS LINK: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30461737-rounding-third
Eyes ahead…that’s how Crosby Lynch has tried to live his life ever since that fateful night when his life and the lives of so many he loves changed forever.
But it’s difficult to look ahead when the past still clearly controls Crosby’s life; he hasn’t dealt with the aftermath; in fact, he ran away from it, allowing the pain, guilt, and regret to consume him and leading him down a path much different than the one he had planned. Crosby’s not truly living in the present nor he is working towards a solid future because he’s plagued by the demons that continue to chase him because he chose to try and heal without the love of his life, which only allowed him to borrow the memories instead of working to lay them to rest.
Ella Keaton’s future was another one that was drastically changed that night; she was forced to say goodbye to the love of her life and try to move forward without her heart, and while she dealt with what happened with therapy and time, she never fully healed because the boy who was supposed to be her forever chose to leave her to face the memories alone and deal with a future that didn’t include him.
Rounding third and coming home is a fantastic metaphor for where Crosby and Ella find themselves when they see each other two years later; it has never been more pivotal or more agonizing than Crosby’s return to Ella’s life and his return to the small town where everything went wrong. Crosby and Ella share a powerful connection that can’t be broken even with the hurt felt and the distance given. But in order to get their respective futures back on target and find a way to be together again, they must face the past and find a way to move on despite the people who seem to want Crosby to always suffer for what he did and even Crosby himself doesn’t know how to not blame himself for everything that happened.
Michelle Lynn is a great storyteller because her stories delve into realistic situations that unequivocally define and transform people’s lives. Because readers get both Crosby and Ella’s perspective, we can understand how deeply they’re scarred by what happened and how deeply they love one another regardless of the amount of time that’s passed and what they’ve done while apart. In order for them to heal…in order for their small hometown to heal, they all need to learn to let go and stop blaming someone who did nothing wrong.
Life is meant to be lived and neither Crosby nor Ella were truly living the two years they spent apart, but now that they’ve reunited, they can have what they’ve always wanted as long as the past is dealt with and the thoughts of guilt and regret are addressed. Because without that healing, their eyes will never remain ahead!
A complimentary copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
4 Poison Apples
Jogging up the stairs to the second floor, I sneak into the back row of the classroom. I pull out my laptop and quickly catch up with the professor’s lecture. The guy a couple seats down passes a syllabus over, and when I turn to thank him, I’m reminded that nothing comes easy in my life.
“Is there a reason you were holding my girlfriend’s hand?” Ella’s boyfriend whispers, sliding into the open seat between us.
“She won’t be your girlfriend for long,” my cockiness answers for me. My arrogance is a great intimidator that’s always worked in getting me what I want.
“Who are you?”
As his beady eyes try to daunt me, I get an up close look at him. I can see why El might have fallen for him. He’s a safe bet. Probably riding the coattails of his family’s money, paving his way with his arrogant little bitch frat brothers. It only assures me of one thing. I don’t have to fight him for El. This guy wouldn’t start a fight if I fucked her right in the middle of his bed. El is just a trophy to him. He doesn’t love her like I do.
“I’m just an old friend. We have a long history together.” I glance at him from the corner of my eye, offering him a quick wink.
His knuckles whiten as he clenches his pen. It couldn’t be more satisfying, knowing I’m getting under his skin.
His annoyed expression tells me that Ella hasn’t been so open about her life and her past. This guy doesn’t have a shot.
“She’s taken, so keep your hands to yourself.”
A few heads flip around after his voice heightens.
Not needing a professor to hate me on day one, I lean in closer to whisper in his ear, “I can’t make any promises. It’s nothing personal, believe me, but technically, she’s always been mine.” I ease back against my chair right as the professor’s eyes catch mine.
Liam’s head whips around, and I wait for him to ask me to take our discussion outside. But he cowers, like I knew he would.
“Try to steal her away from me, and see what happens,” he says.
“I’m not going to have to try hard. Your time with her was over the moment she saw me.”
The professor forcefully clears her throat, eyeing us. If we don’t end this conversation soon, we’ll both be kicked out.
“Don’t be so cocky, asshole. The fact that I don’t know anything about you, and the fact that she’s never mentioned your name, show what she really thinks of you.”
“You two”—the professor points, and a hundred pairs of eyes turn in our direction—“since you’re so chatty, maybe you should be conducting the lecture this morning?” She crosses her arms over her purple blouse and waits for our answer.
“Sorry, Professor Knight,” Douche Bag says.
“Sorry,” I say.
She nods and starts the lecture back up again, her eyes continuing to linger on us.
He slides over to his original seat.
I strike my earlier thought. I have no idea what El sees in this weak shithead.
I lean over the now vacant chair, testing my luck one final time. “Don’t worry. I’ll be around. We can continue this conversation soon.”
He scoffs me off, shaking his head. His fingers start tapping on the keys of his laptop as he accepts his defeat for this round.