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Summary

Sometimes love is where you least expect it, and sometimes it's right where you left it in this witty, slow burn-to-steamy friends-to-lovers MM romance.

Widower, Max Hartwell, is barely keeping it together, being a single dad, managing his law firm, and navigating life's chaos. Life after loss is too difficult for surprises, which is why Max would be lost without his reliable best friend and neighbor, Jack.

Best pitcher in the MLB, Jack Spears, is at the top of his game. He has it all, except for the one thing he wants most, which happens to be the one thing he can't have if he doesn't want his private life to overshadow his career: love. When an emotional evening reveals his biggest secret, he's faced with losing everything that matters most to him.

Can Max see him for the man he truly is, or will Jack forever be doomed to live in the shadow of the image he created as America's favorite pitcher?

©2022 Dianna Roman (P)2022 Wild One Press

What listeners say about The Shutout

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Sweet, heartbreaking, and HOT

A wonderful story of second chances. Full of ups and downs, family values, and finding your true love.
All topped with humour and hotness.

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  • shawn
  • 30-04-22

wonderful!!!

get it!!! a listen with all the good feels ...laughter ..I was rolling at times ...cried and the build up to the sexy times were intense...great book!!!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Chicago Reader
  • 01-05-22

Wow

I think this is one of the most well-written romance novels I have read in a while. The characters are well nuanced, likable, and make the story worth reading. Cendese and Toma always enhance these novels for me.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kate M
  • 24-04-22

Soooo good!

It’s been a long time a book has kept me up until 2am, the shutout did just that. It was so good. The shutout had all the feels. Everything I love in a book. I love jack and max. The shutout is definitely worth a credit, I can’t wait to read more by Dianna Roman. Both narrators did an amazing job. I can’t recommend this book enough

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 17-06-22

couldn't get past the weirdness

MC #1 is emotionally negative and needs anger management. the emotional wreck of a man's behavior was established well before the death of his wife. the psychological abuse he inflicts on his young daughter after the bathroom incident combined with the outright neglect of her needs as evidenced by the poker table scene was too much for me. add in the MC2's sexual fetish for enjoying the psychological and emotional abuse and relishing in the negativity he receives by MC1 and I'm going to pass. this is actually the first book I couldn't stomach and will never finish.

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  • Lisa L Teetz
  • 18-04-22

Audio Perfection!

Wow I just loved this! I did the audio and it was just fantastic! I'm a huge Iggy Toma fan and he was fabulous as always, but Alexander Cendese was the standout here. This is hands down the absolute best narration I have ever heard from him. He was just so spot on, I could feel the emotion pouring out from him whether it be uncertainty, humor, lust, rage, he just brought it all. He was a joy to listen to.

This was such a wonderful romance between a closeted baseball icon and a widowed, straight, single dad. Jack and Max were so fantastic together as they raised 9 year old spitfire Emma in the wake of her mother's death. I laughed, I happy sighed, I got all mushy inside...it just made me feel good. It was a slow burn, friends to lovers romance that was filled with kindness, caring, true love and some fabulous sexual exploration scenes overflowing with intimacy and tenderness. I just loved all their first times!

Was it perfect? No. I struggled sometimes with Jack's insecurities. There was a lot of internal musings, especially early on, that got a little tiring, but the audio made that much easier to get through. Could it have been shorter without sacrificing story in my opinion? Yes, I found it dragging at times during the 13 1/2 hours. But it was such a feel good story that made me laugh and smile, happy sigh, and the epilogue was perfection. Plus the narration was sublime, truly a joy to listen to.

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  • dSurreal
  • 10-04-22

Another author for my favorites list!!!

I laughed, I cried, then laughed so hard I cried, and fell so much in love with this couple and their story, that I immediately listened to it again! Also, the narrators were perfect!

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  • Love2read61
  • 17-08-22

Duel Narrators!

I loved this book! The storyline had me thinking how professionals whose jobs would be effected if or when they came out. Or were suddenly splashed all over the Internet. The characters were well written and I loved them all! The humor in this book had me smiling often. Grumpy Max and his standard flip off! Both narrators made this book come alive and I’ll look for more of their work on other audiobooks! I’m sorry it’s over. But I can listen to this again and again!

I received an arc of this audiobook and am willingly leaving a review!

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  • Michelle
  • 01-08-22

It's not ok

There were so many rave reviews for this book online that I immediately purchased the audiobook. The narrators are fantastic but the story has several issues that I just cannot get past and didn't want to read any more (I skipped 2-3 chapters at a time just to get it over with..)

There are spoilers below so I will say this quickly - there is an excessive amount of exposition & internalized self reflection in this book . The writer took all of the tropes, plot engines and behaviors for m/m romance and shoved ALL of them in this book. The writing is overwrought & the characters are difficult to care about . There are multiple instances of misogynistic, homophobic and /or sex shamey (is that a word?) terms/actions/phrases that are NOT intentional . (eg; one character was married to, loved and enjoyed sex with a woman ..he becomes involved with a man and thereon out is now "Gay")




Max ... the way he approached his attraction to Jack , and the way he treated Jack was just atrocious and quite frankly narcissistic. Their first physical encounter - UGH. whatthehell?! and then to have Jack describe it so ..flowery..... to act like "this is going to be the best bj ever so he will love me"? He literally just emotionally blackmailed you into sex ..

Jack has the emotional intelligence of a 17 year old girl . Why is Jack not only a baseball player but the "best pitcher" in the league? Seriously- the ONLY reason I can see for the author to make him a baseball player is so that she can have a vehicle for drama to move the plot along or to pull in a specific audience.. There is nothing about his personality or behavior that aligns with the type of person that is a professional sports player. As a matter of fact it would read better if he were anything BUT a baseball player. He is so passive and behaves so stereotypically like a "wife" that its offensive

There's so much more but I will sum up - I wanted to read this book because of the rave reviews but also because it has older characters . Neither one of the MC's acts like an actual adult. If you want a squishy gooey book that has m/m spicy scenes and a ridiculously unrealistic happy ending (Jack's dad just SHOWS up to a game, after never really ever coming to his games even in High School to support him when he is outed (which he also never supported) -WTF?!?) and THEN he pitches a shut out? soooo lazy

The author is inconsistent in what she wants to portray .. is it a love story or a spicy fanfic with homophobic undertones (seriously- why a leaked video of them in the act and not just a kiss? or a voicemail or something what is the purpose of something so blatantly sexual - and then THEY WATCH IT ? omg sooo much wrong with all of this)




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  • Denise L Axelrod
  • 13-07-22

Best Book all Year!

I read a lot of romance books and this is one of them that stands out and stays with you. Wonderful character development full of depth and the narration of Alexander Cendese and Iggy Toma as a team, well, you can’t go wrong there. They bring these characters to life and I can’t imagine any other narrators doing a better job than these fellas. Best money spend in a while!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-07-22

This is an abusive relationship in the making

Early in this book, I thought it could have been vastly improved by a good editor. There were frequent grammatical errors and the pacing was off - long, angsty dithering interspersed with rapid movement of the plot, almost without notice. Most scenes could have been halved in length and be the better for it.

BUT.

The overall story arc of a difficult bi-awakening was completely compromised by serious problems with the characters. One MC was thoroughly dislikable - angry, rejecting, jealous and sociopathically selfish - and the other, although generous and demonstrative, did not protect himself at all from the vicious cycles of seduction and rejection. This is the start of an abusive relationship. The creep was also a lousy parent, alternately jerking his child away from the man who had virtually co-parented her, and encouraging the relationship when it worked for him. This was particularly cruel since the child had lost her mother.

At the point of the creepiest seduction scene ever (MC1 walks unannounced into MC2's house where he is crying over a particularly brutal rejection, kisses him and asks him to babysit so MC1 can go on a date. MC2 is crushed, but surprise! the date is intended to be with MC1 and his child. MC1 then initiates sex as though MC2 is getting a great prize), I checked to see if this nightmare was almost over, and realized that I was only halfway though the book! I stopped listening, so I can't tell you if the ballplayer eventually grows a pair and ditches the jerk. This being Romance, I suppose not. But this kind of personal violation should not be held up as an example of how love works.