Reviewed by Tori
Professional rugby player Matt Ogden is fighting for his life, career wise, with the London Legends. He has to make starter or his contract will not be renewed for the next season. He is also suffering from a debilitating phobia of flying. When the current starter is forced to take early retirement, Matt is given his heart’s desire but unless he learns to face his fears, he is slated to remain on the sidelines
Libby Hart is Matt’s best friend and co parent to their toy chihuahua, Princess. A pilot with a low key and class airline, Libby is looking to make her own career move soon to a bigger and better airline. Though she has ached for Matt in more ways than one over the years, she has already seen from her parent’s marriage that in a serious relationship, someone is forced to give up their dreams and she is determined not to be the one who does.
When Matt asks Libby to help him overcome his fear of flying, Libby decides to use certain “incentives” to make his lessons more enjoyable. They may not have a future but they can certainly have a right now. As the lessons heat up, so do their feelings for one another, but unless they can find a way to compromise, the friendly skies will be the only place these two will fly together.
This is my first time reading Kat Latham’s London Legends series but not my last. Though I did not read the first two books in the series, I found it didn’t take away from my comprehension or enjoyment at all. Tempting The Player is sweet sexy contemporary with just the right balance of humor, emotional trials, and smoking hot sex. Well plotted with engaging dialogue and whimsical scenes that sweeps you up into the story with no hesitation. Friends to lovers is not always a favorite trope of mine but Latham doesn’t subscribe to the normal overused plot lines and “convenient” situations that force the romance and instead allows the characters to win at love on their own merits and at their own pace.
Delightfully quirky and flawed characters carry deep vein of realism. It’s always enlightening to see a story from two different sides and Latham indulges us by giving us Libby and Matt’s points of views. Written in an enjoyable conversational style, the laugh out loud dialogue and scenes will keep you entertained all the way to the end. Latham takes her time in giving us insight into this couple’s friendship and the underlying attraction that has been there the whole time. Best friends for years, neither were been willing to cross the line for fear of losing their friendship. But circumstances have changed and now Matt and Libby have the perfect excuse to indulge their curiosity for one another’s bodies as long as they both realize nothing can come from it.
Matt and Libby are adorable together and individually. Their deep friendship makes their eventual copulation believeable. Matt is sexy, sweet, funny beta whose famous father and prior unhappy marriage has left him with a low self esteem. He has a tiny toy chihuahua he adores and host of insecurities that play off his rugged rugby personae with flair. He has been struggling to prove himself to the club and take his career to the next level and has no time for relationships.
Libby is a strong intelligent female with some childhood baggage in the romance department. She has the career she wants though she, like Matt, is looking to take it to the next level. Comfortable in her sexuality, she has no hangups about sleeping with Matt though her issues prevent her from thinking of a future with him. She doesn’t want to end up like her mother who became a stay at home parent while her father circled the globe and had a girl in every port. She wants a career and a family but she’s not willing to compromise for it.
Using Matt’s phobia of flying to instigate a physical relationship is a novel theme and I enjoyed Libby’s “rewards” every time Matt accomplished something that took him out of his comfort zone. Matt’s fears are real and Latham takes care to not rush or trivialize his issues. Their chemistry is felt from page one but the sexual tension and anticipation build at a decent pace and continue to develop throughout the story. This couple has no problems in the bedroom, it’s only out of it that their issues become obstacles that need addressing.
Matt and Libby’s path to happily ever after comes with some turbulence and a few air pockets but once they open the mike they have a direct flight to happiness. Fans of sport themed contemporary romances will enjoy the easy camaraderie and sensual journey of Latham’s newest couple.