Friday, August 19, 2011

The Flip Side of Desire by Lynn Ames

Publisher:    1st ed - The Flip Side of Desire - Intaglio 
                      Publications; 2nd ed retitled One Love - Phoenix 
                      Rising Press

C.J. Winslow is an aging tennis champion. In the world of tennis, that means she's thirty-four years old. C.J. was once the number one ranked female player in the world and has been the sport's favorite poster child for many years, but younger players with faster games have begun to pass her by. She believes she can be on top again, but it means changing her game and the people who surround her. This won't be easy, but she knows she can do it because she is the consummate professional, forsaking everything else in her life to achieve what she wants. C.J. realizes she is lonely, but a happier personal life can wait for after she retires from the game and she's not ready for that yet.

Trystan Lightfoot is a professional also. She has built her reputation as a physical therapist by being a nomad and moving around between professional sports teams. Now the Women's Tennis Federation has hired her to be the full time therapist for the members of the tour and she has achieved the pinnacle of her career, if not personal happiness. Trystan has built another reputation along the way as a woman who enjoys one night stands and who forms no permanent attachments to anyone. Many years before her heart was broken so badly that she has no interest in opening herself up to anyone again. She doesn't know that she's about to meet someone who will challenge all of her beliefs about what she wants out of life.

C.J. and Trystan are drawn to each other by a mutual love, a love of sport. C.J. has a goal and Trystan wants to help her achieve it. As they work together, they experience confusing feelings. Confusing for C.J. because she's never had any type of relationship, plus she knows that she's been promoted through the years as the proof that not all women in sports are lesbians. Confusing for Trystan because she finds C.J. becoming more important in her life when she has vowed that she would never let anyone do that again. A relationship threatens both of their careers, but threatens more their self-images of who they are. Whether or not they can bring together all of these aspects in a satisfying manner becomes the crux of the story.

The Flip Side of Desire is a romance and has an atmosphere that draws the reader in and makes you want to keep turning the pages. Ames uses language so masterfully that you develop a true feeling of understanding for both of these characters. Unlike many romances that can just be read through, this is one of those rare books where you begin to feel the emotions of the characters and you get immersed in the story. The attraction happens perhaps too quickly, a common occurrence in many books, and Trystan's character would be easier to relate to if there was more about the relationship that tormented her so badly, but these are minor points in the story. This is a very satisfying book to read on a number of levels, including that it presents an interesting view of women's professional sports and creates the impression that this could be a true to life story.

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