Reviewed by Tori
“Tell me what you need.”
“An orgasm would be nice.”
A defensive end for the San Francisco Sabers, Flynn Cassidy is used to being in the spotlight—he just doesn’t enjoy it. But if getting in front of the cameras will help his new restaurant succeed, he’s willing. Now if he could just meet a woman who loved him and not his fame…
After her divorce, Amelia Lawrence is thrilled to start over as head chef at Ninety-Two. It’s just the opportunity she needs to heat up her career—if only she wasn’t wildly attracted to her sexy new boss. Their chemistry might be sizzling hot, but Amelia has no intention of being burned again.
Amelia is genuine and fun and Flynn can’t get enough of her—and Amelia loves every second she spends with the tough but tender Flynn. But trust is a hard fought battle for both of them. Breaking the rules of contact and surrendering to their passion was easy, but are they willing to risk their hearts to win at the game of love? (Goodreads)
The 12th installment in Jaci Burton’s best selling Play By Play series gives readers a sexy, sweet, and humorous romance between two people whose trust has been broken by those they cared about. More laid back than previous books in terms of conflict; food and family are the main ingrediants that are used to create this spicy/sweet romance.
Our protagonists, Flynn and Amelia, are extremely similar in their character makeup. Both are intelligent, loyal, and witty with a lack of the usual deep seated emotional baggage that often sparks tension and misunderstandings in these romances. Hard working and well liked, their personalities and humor mesh well together throughout the story, helping to push their blooming romance along at a smooth and steady pace. Flynn appreciates that Amelia seems to enjoy his company for him-not what his career can bring her. Amelia likes that Flynn respects her, trusts her, and doesn’t feel she needs changing.
Dual points of view allow us insight into their thoughts and emotions concerning the developing romance. We learn more about Amelia’s divorce and how it affected her views on relationships. Burton doesn’t make it easy for Flynn to convince Amelia to trust him, which pushes him to bring in his secret weapon-his family.
The storyline is relatively straightforward and predictable. Burton’s smooth writing and engaging helps to balance the daily ins and outs of the restaurant and the football team with Flynn’s low-key courtship of Amelia. I never felt as if the story was being rushed or crammed with information. He wants Amelia to give them a chance and he spends his time teasing, cajoling, and subtly pushing his way into Amelia’s life and bed. Amelia isn’t sure she can trust him. Fear for her job and her heart if things go bad keeps her walls up. She slowly begins to open up to him; first in bed then in her heart.
The love scenes were more playful and less scripted in this installment, though I’m still seeing a continuation of repetitive phrases during sex. Amelia’s dirty mouth was a pleasant shock as it strikes a nice contrast against her polite and reserved outer persona.
“You’re very beautiful, Amelia.”
“Thank you. Now fuck me.”
Burton uses the family fueled atmosphere of the Sabers and the Cassidy’s to draw Amelia out and help Flynn press his suit. We get to spend time with previous couples along with Flynn’s siblings, significant others, and parents. They are a warm engaging group who embrace Amelia whole heartedly, giving her the sense of family and stability she’s been yearning for. The sibling’s bickering offers readers some amusement as does Amelia’s relationship with her bff-Laura.
A misunderstanding towards the end pushes Flynn finally face his own issues but it was very melodramatic and seemed to come out of nowhere. The grovel is well done but again, the whole scene felt tossed in at the last moment and didn’t seem to mesh with what we had seen of Flynn or the story’s overall tone.
Burton’s Play by Play series continues to offer amicable, low key escapism with sexy sports heroes and the woman who steal their hearts.
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