Title: Playing the Player
Author: Amy Andrews
Series: Sydney Smoke Rugby #3
Genre: Hot contemporary
Length: Short novel
Available: 30th Jan
After a long history with crappy guys, high school teacher Em Newman is going man-vegan. Four months of revirginization has opened her eyes to her doormat imitation but, baby’s got spine now, and some smooth-talking—even if he is sinfully hot—rugby player, won’t be adding her as a notch anytime soon.
Lincoln Quinn loves rugby, women, and poker. And he likes to win at all three. When his team mates bet him he can’t break through Em’s resolve, he’s more than up for the challenge. But this lady has a shoebox of stipulations before she’ll even go on a date with him, much less use that mouth for kissing instead of giving orders.
Something’s gotta give but this time Em’s not settling. And Linc’s questioning everything he ever knew about matters of the heart.
Source: ARC from Entangled: Brazen via NetGalley
In the previous Sydney Smoke Rugby books, Linc was a bit of a manwhore. And by a bit, I mean complete and utter. So I was a little wary about just how he would end up being reformed, especially by a science teacher who has sworn off all men for the foreseeable future. What a got was some hot seduction, a cute chase on Linc’s part and an unexpectedly lovely relationship.
I wasn’t sure about Linc at first. He hasn’t exactly endeared himself to me in previous books, and with everything starting with a bet – even though he had his own reservations about it – I really wasn’t sure how this would turn out. Yet, somehow, he completely won me over. I think it was his willingness to listen to Em and do meaningful things for her, as well as everything she asked. It’s pretty obvious from the start that this quickly becomes more than just another chase to him and his flashes of gentlemanly behaviour just added to his overall sexiness. I’ll admit the swiftness with which he changed didn’t really match up to the character he’s been in this series so far, but I liked the new version of him enough to just go with it.
Em surprised me – I expected more resistance. She might start off saying she’s off men, but it’s not quite as simple as that. She has daddy issues, but at least she recognises that and is trying to steer clear of Linc because he’s exactly her type of guy – and one she knows won’t stay. I actually quite liked the way Linc is the one holding back between them at first, because once Em sets her mind on something, she is full focus. She’s also remarkably clear headed when it comes to their relationship, which made for a refreshing change.
The first half of this book is a delicious seduction, as these two slowly circle each other towards the inevitable. It’s sweet and sexy and great to read. I enjoyed the second half too, but it felt a little rushed at times, with some important moments getting glossed over and the pair of them sinking so easily into coupledom that I really didn’t know where the conflict would come from.
Then it arrived and… well, felt completely overblown. The whole situation was just ridiculous and I wanted to shake Em over her decisions and inability to be happy with what she had. Considering how smart she’d been up to this point, it seemed like such a stupid thing to meltdown over. I felt really bad for Linc, which I didn’t expect, and to be honest the ending didn’t work so well for me. Especially Em’s reaction to the whole thing. What do you want, you irritating woman? Make up your damned mind!
So, for the most part, I enjoyed this. It’s sexy and fun and Linc definitely lives up to the reformed rake type. I just wish the ending hadn’t annoyed me so much and left me losing all respect for Em with its conventional cuteness.
Playing the Player is out January 30th.
Visit Amy Andrews for more details.