Series: Play by Play
Author: Jaci Burton
Read copy: Paperback
Published: February 1, 2011
Publisher: Berkley Heat
The last thing event planner Tara Lincoln needs is the jet-set lifestyle of a football pro like Mick Riley; even though their steamy and passionate one-night stand proved that Mick is an all-star-both on the field and in the bedroom.
Tara played the game of love once and lost big, and she doesn't intend to put herself out there again, especially with a certified heartbreaker. But when Mick sets his mind to win, nothing will stop him. And he has the perfect play in mind to catch this sultry vixen.
Yes, I admit it, I bought this book for the cover, and the cover alone. Who cares what’s written, when you can drool over the cover, right? Wrong. Because though I went in with very low expectations (I guess with such a cover there will be plenty of wild-monkey sex and virtually no story), it still managed to disappoint me.
I was wrong at least on one account. This book actually had a plot that drew the story forward, and that plot wasn’t at all bad. I loved Mick’s perseverance (and Mick in general, of course), I liked Tara (every heroine that doesn’t fall into the whiny, self-centered, TSTL category is a gem for me), the fact she had a teenaged son and wasn’t picture perfect was an added bonus, I loved to hate Mick’s agent, I adored the family time, I adored Mick’s slow and steady seduction, and I understood at least most of Tara’s reservations about entering a relationship with him.
That said, this book had three major problems for me. The first one was the predictability. I know, I know, it’s categorized as a romance, a certain amount of predictability is implied, since we all know from the get-go how it’ll end. Unfortunately, when the reader is able to anticipate every single hurdle (from the hero’s “big secret”, every single heroine’s issue, every single heroine’s reaction and misconception, to the big boo-boo committed by the hero’s frigid and bitchy PR agent) you can safely say the story is too predictable for comfort.
The second problem was the amount of wild-monkey sex scenes. I cannot believe I’m writing this, but I felt there were a bit too much of those in this book. Too much and leading nowhere. They f***ed for the sake of f***ing, but, at least in my opinion, it didn’t contribute to the story, to their growth, to their relationship. And it was always the same, bar the last scene (in the last few pages!), fast, furious, a little angsty…Sheesh, I wanted to see some passion, some sensuality, some meaningful sex...Alas, I didn’t get it, so I started skipping the sex scenes to concentrate on the story.
And the third problem were the style inconsistencies throughout the story. It actually read like a contribution of two different authors as far as language-use went. In “normal” circumstances Mick and Tara were two normal individuals you meet on the street every day, calm, rational, having rather deep conversations about their lives, their families, etc. Normal and pleasant. Unfortunately, they went all porn stars when they were alone and doing the horizontal (and sometimes vertical) Cucaracha. While I could’ve forgiven a few slips, it happened every effing time and it was jarring.
So, while I enjoyed most of the story and loved the characters, the above-mentioned three problems keep me from giving this one a higher rating. And I’ll probably end my Play By Play reading career with this (first) story. I’m not really interested in what will happen to Gavin, especially since his heroine will be Liz (the Ogress), no matter what his cover looks like.