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The Shutout  By  cover art

The Shutout

By: Dianna Roman
Narrated by: Alexander Cendese,Iggy Toma
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Publisher's 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
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: Romance

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What listeners say about The Shutout

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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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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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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

2 people found this helpful

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So very NOT a "Great" book. Thumbs down

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 like a burglar with a sack . The writing is overwrought & the characters are difficult to care about . Sincerely! There are multiple instances of misogynistic, homophobic and /or sex shamey (is that a word?) terms/actions/phrases that are NOT intentional . Primarily that one character was married to, loved and enjoyed sex with a woman but after an encounter with a man from then out is described as gay by himself AND the author. Bi-sexuality exists but not in this book apparently.

SPOILERS and my specific problems with this 'book'


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 performing a sex act dude ..

Jack has the emotional intelligence of a 17 year old girl but is also given an extremely masculine profession. 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 actual 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. One doesn't have to be emotionally stunted to be a masculine gay man

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 coming to his games before - (even when he was in HS) to support him after he is outed (which he also never supported) -WTF?!?) and THEN Jack pitches a shut out because he is finally accepted and loved for who he is ? 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 hyper sexual - and then THEY WATCH IT ? omg sooo much wrong with all of this)




1 person found this helpful

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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.

1 person found this helpful

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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.

1 person found this helpful

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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!

1 person found this helpful

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OMG what this book did to my heart

OMG what this book did to my heart...
It's the third book I've read by this author and she managed to suprise me in every book.

This story about Jack and Max was so different from her other two MM RomComs.
Jack and Max's story had more depth and emotions and angst. And the author wrote the story in a flowing way that sucked me in that I felt all those feelings and emotions deep in my heart.
Max was a bit difficult but not an annoying or wrong way - he was as human and realistic as I would think a person should be in a time like this.
I think he was afraid of so many things and his survival mechanism was to act the way he did - AND IT MADE SENSE!

Jack! Oh Jack was so sweet! So honest and and so full of love! I love Jack in every single thing he did, didn't do or whatever he said. Jack was definitely my hero in this book!

I wrote a special post about the chemistry between Jack and Max because it wasn't just HOT and sexy as hell, it was so intimate and I really felt all those feelings between them in those private moments that it just made those scenes extra special!

Emma was really cool kid and I love how Alexander narrate kids! He's amazing!
I've listened to both narrators in several audiobooks but maybe it was the story or maybe they just gave something different but their work in this book WAS PHENOMENAL!
Every word, every nuance, every breath. I felt everything in their voices. It was pure pleasure and I honestly thought it was their best performance.

I highly recommend this book - BUT LISTEN TO THE AUDIOBOOK! IT WAS SIMPLY WOW!!

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Great audio

I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook. I think Alexander Cendese and Iggy Toma are a great combo. I enjoyed the best friends to lovers trope and the bi-awakening/GFY. It had a lot of feels and some great side characters. I would have liked a bit more on Jack’s relationship with his dad and it was mentioned, Max questioning his sexuality, but I don’t think it was ever fully defined. It also seemed that Emma was being portrayed in the book and in performance as younger than she was supposed to be. Overall though, it was a great story and great performance!

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Great story. Great narration.

I rarely hand out five stars. I gave this book five stars because it made made me pause and think about how I've handled my own life challenges. Jack has some very difficult choices to make, and the readers get a chance to see and feel how he deals with those incredibly difficult choices.

Jack and Max have a beautiful friendship, and they are a great team before they realize that relationship could evolve. Although the story is told from both Jack and Max's perspective, I could relate to Jack the best. He keeps himself distant from others because he has a secret, but he feels everything so deeply that it's impossible not to empathize with his pain and joy.

The only thing I wanted from this story that I didn't get was a mention of demisexuality. Just a mention would be nice. I hesitate to hand out labels to characters even if they are fictional, but I don't hesitate to wave my own purple, gray, black, and white flag. Sigh. Maybe next time....

I enjoyed every minute and page of this story. The narration was beautifully performed, and I can't wait for more stories from Dianna Roman. Both narrator's, Iggy Toma and Alexander Cendese, are already on my follow list.

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Profile Image for Carmilla
  • Carmilla
  • 04-06-22

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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  • Wide Eyes, Big Ears!
  • 07-09-22

Satisfying sports romance

Max Hartwell is raising his daughter, Emma, single-handedly since his wife’s death. He’s acerbic and doesn’t roll well with all the punches. Luckily his neighbour and best friend is the always-cheerful Jack Spears, who is a MLB star pitcher, a good cook, and is secretly in love with Max. After a particularly bad day, Jack consoles Max with more tenderness than he expects which causes a series of shutouts between Max and Jack before they repair their relationship. I’m such a sucker for sports romances and this one ended up being pretty satisfying. There was a lot of early inner monologue but things got moving after a while. I couldn’t reconcile Jack’s inner turmoil with Max’s initial descriptions of him as cool and unruffled, but Max comes to realise there’s more going on under Jack’s façade. Some readers will judge Max’s treatment of Jack harshly, but I felt his guilt over his dead wife’s memory and his homoerotic confusion was real enough. There was a lot of melodrama and overly romantic dialogue but some nice steam and humour - overall, I really enjoyed this. Alexander Cendese (as Max) and Iggy Toma (as Jack) are two of my favourite narrators so the audiobook sat really well with me. Having said that, Iggy adopted a sudden whisper at times that had me wondering if there was something wrong with the volume - did he keep turning away from the mike?

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  • Whatever my name
  • 05-28-22

Didn't go as long as I thought it would

It was a listen that took me through many emotions. I felt for both characters and just wanted to reach out to both at times.

Often when you read a book about a straight guy realising that maybe he isn't as straight as he thought the change can happen so quickly and without any angst. This was not the case with Max. You could see how much he fought it or had trouble accepting his feelings for Jack moving forward. It did seem more realistic to me.

Having said that I hated how much his actions hurt Jack and I cried for him. It was very emotional.

It is a long listen and I usually avoid ones this long. I often find they don't keep my attention. I'm a bit ADHD so it can be hard to do that. However, after saying that I had no trouble staying tuned in and was even sad when it finished. It is a slow burn, but not as slow as you might think.

The narrators did a great job. I'm not usually a fan of Alexander Cendese, but he did a good job with this one. Either that or I'm getting more used to his style. I love, love, love Iggy Toma and look for books narrated by him.

The only thing I'm really disappointed about is that there really aren't any other books by Dianna Roman to move on to. I hope she writes more soon and gets them narrated for us.

It was well worth the listen and one I know I will go back to over and over.