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Straight from the Heart (Loveswept) Mass Market Paperback – July 31, 2007

3.5 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Tami Hoag's novels have appeared regularly on national bestseller lists since the publication of her first book in 1988. She lives in Los Angeles.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter One


"Jace Cooper's coming back to town!"

Rebecca Bradshaw's hand slipped on the edge of the whirlpool, and she dropped her clipboard into the churning water. Water splashed up onto the newspaper her patient, Bob Wilkes, held open just above the surface and sprayed onto the front of her white smock.

"Hey!" Yanking his paper out of the way, Bob gave her an indignant look. "Jeez, Rebecca, what if that had been a radio or a hair dryer or something?"

She frowned, more at her reaction to the news about Jace Cooper that Bob had read aloud than at him. "You would have gotten a free hairdo. May I have my board back, please?"

Bob's wide mouth lifted in the comic leer he had used on her on a regular basis over the last few months of his physical therapy. "Why don't you come and get it, beautiful?"

Rebecca slanted him a look. "Fork it over, Romeo, or I'll put you back on the tilt table and spin that thing like a roulette wheel."

Wilkes handed her the dripping clipboard with its sheaf of soggy papers. "You're heartless, a sadist."

"Flattery will get you nowhere," she said. As she tried to blot her notes and her sweater with a towel, unbidden thoughts of Jace Cooper tormented her. She quelled the urge she had to pump Bob for more information.

But as if he'd read her mind, he went on. "It says here that Cooper's being sent down to the Mavericks. He'll be playing here in Mishawaka if he can get his knee back in shape." Wilkes shook his head. "How do you like that? The guy gives the Chicago Kings six and a half great seasons. He's been an All-Star, he's been a Golden Glove winner. Now he gets wracked up, and they pack him off to the minors without so much as a fond farewell. He goes from the big show back to Class A ball overnight. That stinks."

"I imagine they got sick of his shenanigans off the field," Dominique LeGault said as she worked with a patient on the mat table.

Rebecca glanced up at her coworker. Dominique was a woman of rare and exotic beauty. She was a long-limbed six footer, with skin the color of cafe au lait and almond-shaped eyes that reflected her mother's Cherokee heritage.

Dominique shook her head, her wild cloud of black hair bouncing behind her. "With all his partying, practical jokes, and publicity stunts, that man was in and out of more trouble than the rest of his team put together."

"What a guy does on his time is his own business," Wilkes declared. "Which reminds me, Rebecca, do you want to watch a movie with me tonight?" He chuckled mischievously. "Bimbos Galore is now available on videocassette."

"As much as I've been waiting for that, I'll have to pass," she said firmly. "You know I don't date patients, Bob."

"Bad policy," he muttered.

It was a policy Rebecca had adhered to strictly during her nine years as a physical therapist. The one exception she had made to that rule—Jace Cooper—had turned out to be the biggest mistake of her life.

She pushed the thought from her mind as she abandoned her ruined notes and went to a cabinet against the far wall of the exercise room to get out the toolbox and the coffee can of miscellaneous screws, nuts, bolts, and pins. She had a patient with a spinal cord injury coming in an hour to make her first attempt at using the parallel bars, and the bars had to be adjusted.

Rebecca told herself she had no time to reflect on the news that Jace Cooper was coming back to town. What did she care? She didn't. The news had just surprised her, that was all.

"Jace Cooper," Mrs. Krumhansle, Dominique's patient, mused aloud. She scratched a hand back through her steel gray hair. "Isn't he the cute one with the ash blond hair and the great fanny?"

Dominique's hoarse laugh filled the air. "That's him."

"Good glove. Swings a mean bat when he wants to. I'll have to renew my season ticket."

"It seems to me we're doing a lot more talking than working in here today," Rebecca said sharply.

Bob Wilkes gave a low whistle and hid behind his newspaper. Dominique's exotic black eyes focused on Rebecca's from across the room. Rebecca dodged the question in her friend's gaze.

Concentrating on the task at hand, she squatted down and began to work on the piece of therapy equipment. She certainly had better things to think of than some overage adolescent getting kicked off his team. She had her next patient to think of. She had the proposed expansion of the physical therapy department to think of. She wondered if there was any way she was going to be able to talk the hospital board into providing a separate hydrotherapy room. She wondered what Jace Cooper had done to his knee.

"No, no, Rebecca," she muttered under her breath, shaking her head so her glossy black hair swung back and forth above her shoulders.

It upset her that the mere mention of the man could throw her into such a mental tailspin. Jace Cooper had ceased to be a part of her life. She had accepted that fact, had dealt with it. It wasn't as if she'd been carrying a torch for him. She'd dated other men over the years, had enjoyed other relationships. Jace Cooper didn't mean anything to her. He didn't matter a whit, not one iota.

Not more than ten feet away from her, the door to the therapy room was pushed open by Dr. Cornish.

Rebecca's gaze landed on the man resting on crutches beside the doctor.

He had the lean, tough good looks of an alley cat who'd won more fights than he'd lost. His hair was a little shaggy, dark at the roots but gradually lightening to a distinctive silver blond at the ends. Navy blue eyes stared at her from beneath dark brows.

As her heart went into a frenzied dance, Rebecca bolted to her feet, hitting her head on the bar. She dropped her screwdriver and upended the coffee can. Hardware spilled onto the smooth floor. Nuts and washers skittered off in all directions.

A tiny smile lifted one corner of Jace Cooper's mouth. "Well, Becca," he said softly, "you never were the mechanical one in your family."


"No." Rebecca's eyes burned with an emerald fire as she stared at Dr. Donald Cornish.

At five feet ten inches, she had no need to lift her head to look the balding, middle-aged doctor in the eye. She wasn't intimidated either by his disgruntled expression or by the tag on his white jacket that identified him as head of orthopedics.

Even though Rebecca was only thirty, she was the boss in physical therapy and everyone at the hospital knew it. Besides, she thought as she glanced out the window of her office at the man who was holding court in the exercise room, she would have stared down the devil himself to get out of working with Jace Cooper.

She watched as he grinned and laughed at something Bob Wilkes said. Jace had the kind of charm that attracted people to him. Everyone automatically liked him. He was charismatic. He was dangerous.

A shudder skidded through Rebecca's body. At first she labeled it as loathing. No, she corrected herself, not quite able to tear her gaze from the man, she was coming down with something. A spring cold, she decided. She felt dizzy, weak, feverish, and chilled at the same time. She definitely felt a cold coming on. She stubbornly refused to accept the fact that the symptoms had appeared the instant Jace Cooper had hobbled back into her life after nearly seven years. He couldn't have that kind of effect on her, not after all this time.

"Dominique or Max can work with him, or he can go elsewhere. I don't want anything to do with him."

"Why not?" Dr. Cornish asked in a West Texas drawl that sounded very out of place in Mishawaka, Indiana. Already he had given up acting tough. Rebecca knew it just wasn't in him. Donald Cornish was by nature an amiable sort.

Why not, he'd asked. She glanced away once again. This time her gaze ran head-on into a pair of dark blue eyes. Why not? There were a million reasons she didn't want Jace Cooper as a patient, a million reasons she never wanted to see him again. There was a reason to go with each piece of the heart he had so thoroughly broken seven years ago.

Her logical, analytical mind was shocked at how fresh, how sharp, the pain seemed. She wasn't the kind of person who nursed a grudge, but seeing Jace again had wrenched open a door to the past she would rather have left nailed shut.

"Rebecca, do you have any idea who that is?" Cornish asked in a plaintive tone. "That's Jace Cooper, third baseman for the Chicago Kings. Do you have any idea how I love the Kings?"

"Donald, I don't want to hear about your personal perversions," she said with a hint of the dry humor he was used to hearing from her. "Take them up to the fifth floor. I'm sure Dr. Baxter could make room for you on his couch. As for Jace Cooper, I don't give a rat's posterior what he does. I'm too busy to work him into my schedule."

"I suppose it doesn't matter to you that he's going to be playing with the Mavericks until he gets himself back in top form. Do you know what that could mean to the Mavericks, your own hometown team?"

Her expression clearly told him exactly how much it meant to her. "Then let the Mavericks take care of him."

"You know full well the Mavericks' idea of a knowledgeable trainer is a guy whose brother used to empty bedpans at the VA hospital." Dr. Cornish affected a somewhat resigned air as he took a step away from Rebecca and shoved his hands into the pockets of his brown trousers. "Mr. Cooper specifically requested you as his therapist."

"Well, tough. Tell Mr. Cooper that for once in his life he isn't going to get what he wants. There are hundreds of qualified physical therapis...
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Product Details

  • Series: Loveswept
  • Mass Market Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (July 31, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553590901
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553590906
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.6 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,473,179 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Suzanne Nowicki on February 27, 2008
Format: Audio CD
I have listened to several audio books narrated by Staci Snell. I have to say she is the only narrator I have heard in some time that makes her characters absolutely believeable. Some narrators make their female characters too breathy or too pitchy or too dramatic. Even the male character Snell attempts seem real.

The story itself is formula romance and that's exactly why I chose it. It works perfectly in it's genre. Definitely worth the time.
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Yes, it's your typical romance book, but it's fun to read. Hoag's characters, Jace and Rebecca have great chemistry, and you root for them from the beginning of the book to the end as Jace tries to make up for hurting Rebecca years ago. Hoag has added some rather interesting supporting characters to the book like Rebecca's father and their neighbor, Muriel, who are also on Jaces side. A fun romance to relax with.
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Tami Hoag started her writing career writing romances and this is one of those early stories. I can certainly understand why she changed to mysteries – this book plodded along slowly.

Seven years ago, Jace Cooper and Becca Bradshaw defined ‘hot couple.’ However, Jace had a chance at one of the major league baseball teams and he left Becca to follow his dream. Now he’s back with a serious knee injury that could sideline him forever – and he wants his former physical therapist to work her magic again.

Becca is not of a mind to walk down that path; once was enough. Jace promises that he has changed but Becca has a long memory and clearly remembers Jace’s trail of broken promises.

I just felt there weren't enough subplots to keep the story interesting. The story was predictable and slow moving.
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Format: Paperback
Straight From The Heart is the third stand-alone novel by American author, Tami Hoag. Physical Therapist Becca Bradshaw is not pleased to see Jace Cooper back in town. Seven years ago he left town, leaving her broken-hearted, to pursue his baseball career. But a knee injury has seen him dropped from the big league, and he’s chosen her hospital Physical Therapy department to recover and prove he is still big league standard. It seems Jace has decided he needs to prove himself a changed man to Becca too. But Becca is once-bitten, so, hard to convince. And where does six-year-old Justin fit into the picture? What is this huge guilt Jace is carrying around? This is a sweet romance with a few twists. A very early Hoag book, perhaps a little slow-moving, far too much baseball, but nonetheless a fairly enjoyable read.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
great reading this is another of tami hoags great reads it has romance, comedy and a happy ending.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Another love story that keeps you interested from start to finish. Love the writing of Tami Hoag's books and have read many of them and will continue reading her in the future.
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Format: Audio CD
What can I say, I love Tami Hoag, and loved this CD. Can't wait to listen to more.
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This book is not as good as most of Ms Hoag's books. I got the impression that she needed a few extra dollars so she quickly wrote a book, not giving too much thought to it. Quite disappointing!
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