Title: To Win Her Heart
Author: Mackenzie Crowne
Series: Players #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Available: April 12th
In order to protect her, they’ll both have to let their guards down…
Country music’s It Girl Jessi Tucker is fed up with her family’s stifling security measures. The threat of a dangerous stalker has gotten the men in her life—including her football star cousin, Tuck Tucker—monitoring her every move. To get the freedom she yearns for, Jessi hatches a plan to recruit Max Grayson, Tuck’s sexy brawler best friend, to play the role of her new boyfriend. But if her scheme works, will she be forced to hide her true romantic feelings for the sake of her independence? Or will she finally steal the heart of her dream man?…
Max has been pining for Jessi for years and would do anything to protect her, but a professional cage fighter with too many skeletons in his closet has no business being with one of America’s sweethearts. Yet while Max does his best to keep Jessi at arm’s length, the Tucker family persuades him to accept her offer.
Max believes he can keep Jessi safe from danger, but can he shelter her from his own dark secrets, the media’s unforgiving spotlight—and a mutual desire that’s harder to resist each day…
Source: ARC from Lyrical Shine (Kensington Books) via NetGalley
The third installment of the Players series is an enjoyable, easy read that has a lot going on around the edges, but is really just about these two. Jessi is determined and successful, but beginning to feel trapped by her fame and family, while Max is stubborn, also determined and convinced that no matter how successful he is in life, he will never be good enough for Jessi. There are no surprises in this book – not even the stalker – but that suited me perfectly. Sit back, settle in and enjoy the ride as Jessi figures out how to wriggle her way into Max’s heart.
Because really that title is backwards. Jessi’s heart is already all in. She picked Max the moment she met him, and after five years she’s finally decided to go after him. I liked Jessi. Despite all her success and achievements, she’s inexperienced when it comes to men, but she knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go after it. I especially liked how she chased Max without ever getting too pushy. She also has a few other problems, regarding stress and pressure and the suffocating protection of her family. This does eventually lead to a moment of sheer brattishness from her that I didn’t appreciate too much, but it helped lead to an utterly gorgeous ending, so I can accept it.
As for Max… ah, Max. Protective best friend in the first book (To Win Her Love) and competitive best friend in the second (To Win Her Trust), he finally takes centre stage here. To say he has a few hangups from his childhood would be an understatement, and there is plenty of darkness in his past, but overall he’s a good man, loyal and protective, and I loved seeing him slowly give in to Jessi and open his heart. They’re very cute together and it was great to see his softer side come out – and his passionate one too, providing plenty of heat to help the tale along.
If you’re looking for a romance between two perfectly matched people, one of whom is determined to fight his feelings as much as possible, then give this a try. It’s fun and enjoyable, easy and hot, and a fine addition to the series. I hope it’s not the last one, since there are still a few characters I want to learn more about. Not least, just what went on between Tim and a certain friend…
To Win Her Heart is out April 12th!
Visit Mackenzie Crowne for more details.