I started reading this in college and I love this series
A new Book “The Final Score” in September
Here is a review of 14 books
Tara Lincoln is a 30-ish, hard-working, fiercely independent single mother of a 14 year-old-son, who owns her own event planning business. Tara’s worked hard to overcome her crummy childhood, and her newly established business (The Right Touch) is about to take off. She’s not looking for a relationship–men have let her down in the past–she’s all about securing the future for her son Nathan and making sure that he doesn’t make the same mistakes in his life that she did in hers. But when she meets Mick Riley at the summer team party that her company has planned, she’s tempted. Oh, so tempted…He’s charming, funny, interesting, and drop-dead gorgeous! And he seems interested in her. Why is that when he could have any woman he wanted?
Well, I’ll say no more. Mick and Tara embark on a relationship, and what a hot, sexy ride it is! Jaci Burton fills the story with plenty of detail, so you know where the characters are coming from and you can understand their actions. There’s oodles of juicy hot sex, of course, and there’s plenty of wining and dining of (the initially reluctant) Tara by Mick. Tara is introduced to a world that is very foreign to her, one of red carpet events, vacations to exotic beaches (oh, was that a hawt escape), and flights to St. Louis to hang out with Mick’s wonderful, loving family, and to watch his professional baseball player brother in action. All the time they spend with each other brings them closer together, yet Tara is constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop, it seems. She knows they come from different worlds, and wonders how once the NFL season starts, if their relationship can last. Do they really have more of a relationship than the “I’ve-got-to-have-him/her” hot sex? Does Mick want more than just a hot summer fling? And what about her business? Will it start to suffer if she’s all wrapped up in Mick? And how about Nathan? Is she shortchanging him if she continues to see Mick? Shouldn’t her first priority be her son?
I have to say I adored Mick. Yes, he had a bit of a womanizing past, put I figured that’s just par for the course for a professional athlete. He wasn’t perfect (he had a ‘secret’ that he kept hidden and worried about revealing it to Tara), but he was real. He had a big heart, was great with Tara’s son (that alone should’ve sealed the deal), and was a fantastic, giving lover. He was close to his family, super rich, and gorgeous–what woman wouldn’t want him?
Tara had a bit of a ‘this-can’t-be-happening-to-me” attitude going on, and who couldn’t blame her. She wavered between going all out and giving herself to Mick (and she had no problem on that end–the lady knew what she wanted!) and let the chips fall where they may, to “should-I-protect-my-heart” before it’s too late? I could understand her feelings, since Mick had never been in a long-term relationship and she didn’t know if he was capable of love. But she did tend to frustrate me a bit. I wanted her to trust Mick and believe in a future with him.
I really enjoyed this story. It had all the elements that I’m looking for in an erotic romance. Besides the extremely hot and well-written love scenes, there was a story here–one that took up three quarters of the book. Plenty of detail, a fast pace with no boring parts, lots of background on the characters and their families, interesting supporting characters, funny dialogue, white hot dialogue, a bit of drama and some angst, a revealing look into the life of a celebrity, and most importantly, likable characters that you can root for.
If I had one tiny quibble, and this doesn’t usually bother me, it was this: Whenever Tara and Mick were intimate, it was always “F*** me, Mick!” Never once did Tara say “Make love to me Mick.” I know it may sound silly, but that kind of bugged me, especially when the I-love-yous” had been exchanged. At first it didn’t matter to me, because Tara was still thinking that the relationship may just be all about the sex, but once you knew their feelings went beyond that…I don’t know, I was just kind of waiting for it, and didn’t get it. But in no way did this mess with my appreciation of the story.
Fans of (erotic) sports romance, Jaci Burton scored a touchdown with this one. As for the next story in the series (Changing the Game), about Mick’s brother and his agent Elizabeth…I dunno, she’s going to have to do some creative writing to get me to like that barracuda. She’s already dropped some hints that Elizabeth may have a heart beneath that tough shark veneer, but is it enough to make her character likable? I guess we’ll have to wait and see. For The Perfect Play? I’ll award the extra point and give it 5 stars.
Warning: This book contains explicit sex, including oral, (one) anal scene, and a rimming scene; and graphic language. Not for the faint of heart
Changing the Game? Ohh, it was good, it was close…but unfortunately it fell just a tad short of 5 stars for me.
JB had an uphill battle with this one, mostly because she had to make a very unlikable character from the previous book (sports agent Elizabeth Darnell) into a likable one. But I’m happy (and a bit surprised) to say that I think she accomplished that. She gave the tough, independent career woman Liz a decent backstory that explained why she acted the way she does. A young Liz saw first hand what a controlling man (her parent’s miserable marriage) could do to a woman’s spirit and she vowed that no man would ever have control over her (or her heart). Liz had a tough shell around her heart, and the only man who could possibly crack it was the man she had secretly loved for years, her client, 1st baseman for the St. Louis River, Gavin Riley.
Oh yowza! Gavin and Liz go waaay beyond talking at his Florida beach house. Liz knows this is wrong, to surrender to the commanding-in-the bedroom Gavin. She thinks Gavin is not about to commit to her, he likes his play-the-field lifestyle too much and will surely dump her when he tires of her. The only thing she can do to avoid getting hurt is keep it light, and don’t ever reveal to Gavin her true feelings for him. But what if Gavin starts to want more from Liz than just a no strings affair? Will his family (namely his brother Mick who still hasn’t forgiven Liz) make things difficult for them to have a relationship? Does Gavin even know what he wants? He’s never been in love before–will he recognize his feelings for Liz as love?
This book starts out pretty hot and heavy. Gavin and Liz jump right into an affair, and JB leaves no detail unwritten. Verry steamy. But I thought this book started to get good once we learned a little more about Liz’s background, and got her POV. I started to understand her, and forgave her for being such a b**** in the previous book. I enjoyed the relationship she shared with two of the Rivers’ wives (Shawnelle and Haley)–they had some funny conversations and got into some trouble together. It was nice to see Liz have some female friends.
I also appreciated that JB gave Liz an unlikely career–that of a sports agent. I think I learned a thing or two about agents, and how hard Liz must have worked to achieve success at a young age (32).
What really surprised me in this book was how unlikable JB made Mick! Mick became the villain–trying to get between Gavin and Liz’s relationship at every turn! Sometimes I just wanted to haul off and slap him! I was so glad when Liz finally told him off, but I wish Gavin would’ve had the guts to do it instead…
Jaci Burton also sets up her next book in this series quite nicely, when Liz becomes the agent for a St. Louis Ice hockey star, Tyler Anderson. Tyler and his reluctant future heroine (Mick and Gavin’s sister, ) share a couple of conversations–looks like Tyler’s going to have his work cut out for him.
So all in all, a pretty good book. I loved watching Gavin fall in love with Liz. Plenty of heat, likable characters, some nice family dynamics (got a few tears in my eyes when one of the Rileys faced a medical crisis, and Gavin leaned heavily on Liz), and a kind-of-corny, but cute ending, when Gavin finally gets his head out of his a** and recognizes his feelings. A very entertaining read. A solid 4-4 1/2 stars.
Warning: This book contains explicit sex (both oral and one anal scene) and graphic language. Not for the faint of heart.
I just love this series. Give me a hot, erotic sports romance with a feisty heroine, a sexy, swoon-worthy hero, plenty of spicy dialogue, some terrific female bonding moments, the return of characters from the previous books, and most of all…a decent story, and I’m going to be all over it!
In this third book of Jaci Burton’s Play By Play series, youngest Riley sibling Jenna gets the HEA she is not looking for. Jenna’s the bartender/manager of her family’s St. Louis sports bar, taking over for her dad who’s had some health problems. Jenna’s the responsible type, and while running the family business isn’t her dream, it’s something she’s good at and feels she has to do.
Pro hockey star Tyler Anderson has been making a lot of post-game visits to Riley’s, and it’s not just for the great food and drinks. He’s intrigued by the tattooed, pierced, beautiful bartender Jenna. Despite Jenna not being his usual physical type, he likes her feistiness and their conversations, and the sexual sparks between them keeps him coming back for more. But Jenna has made it clear that she doesn’t date athletes…does Tyler even stand a chance with her?
Oh wow. I just loved Tyler. Not only is he hot, gorgeous, a sexual stud in the bedroom and a gentleman elsewhere, but he is just so darn supportive to Jenna, and knows just how far he can push her. He’s perceptive, understanding, patient, puts up with her sometimes bitchy moods and gets her. Even though he has no intention of ever marrying or having a serious relationship (due to witnessing his parents own unhappy marriage) he pursues Jenna in the most exciting way, breaking down her walls and fears. You just know he’s going to change his mind about marriage, once he realizes he doesn’t want to live without Jenna. But can he get Jenna to conquer her fears of failure, and take a shot at what she really wants in life?
Now Jenna…there were things about her I didn’t understand at first. Why the anti-athlete stance? (I kept waiting for a big reason) Why didn’t her family know about her singing talent? Why was she so hesitant to go after what she really wanted? I loved how Jaci Burton used the relationship with Tyler to let the reader learn more about Jenna and her fears. Despite her outward confidence, Jenna really did have a fear of failure, which surprised me. I felt that the relationship with Tyler was the best thing that could’ve happened to Jenna. She learned an awful lot about herself when she was able to open up to Tyler and reveal her past and why she quit pursuing her dream. With his encouragement Jenna realized it was time to start living life for herself and stand up for what she wanted and deserved. I just loved the support he gave her (and the support she gave him regarding his parents).
Of course being a Jaci Burton book, you know there’s going to be ample hotness, and JB doesn’t disappoint. Tyler and Jenna have absolutely no problems in the bedroom (actually, they have more adventures outside of the bedroom–a private box at the rink, on a pool table, on a bar top, in the shower, on the floor…and the most risque–against the boards on the ice!) Yeah…like I said, no problems with their sex life whatsoever.
This book was such an easy, enjoyable read. There were no slow spots, the dialogue flowed smoothly, the sex scenes didn’t overwhelm the story, and the characters were fully fleshed out. There were plenty of details and no fillers. Everything made sense (except for some clunky descriptions regarding the hockey action). I loved seeing Mick and Tara, and Gavin and Liz again, and loved when Jenna got together with her two sisters-in-law for some heart-to-heart talks (some lol moments there). I wanted to keep turning the pages because I was curious to see how it would all play out. And when it ended, not only did I have a few tears in my eyes, but I was disappointed there wasn’t more (sure would’ve loved an epilogue)! But maybe, just maybe, we’ll catch up with Jenna and Tyler again in the next book–Jenna has a football playing cousin–Cole–who we briefly meet in this book, and he’s getting his own book (Playing to Win). Yay! 5 stars
Warning: This book contains explicit sex (including oral and one anal scene) and language. Not for the faint of heart
Wow. Yet another winner in Jaci Burton’s Play By Play series…I don’t know how she does it but keep ’em comin’, Jaci!
In Playing To Win we get bad boy NFL wide receiver Cole Riley– cousin to Mick (The Perfect Play), Gavin (Changing the Game), and Jenna (Taking a Shot) Riley. Twenty-nine year old Cole is 6 feet 200+ pounds of gorgeousness, but he has a fatal flaw–his self control. His short fuse has gotten him into trouble with the media, and has NFL teams giving up on him (despite his football talent). Nobody wants a hothead who can’t get along with the media on their team, and it looks like hometown team St. Louis Traders may be Cole’s last chance. Both ownership and Cole’s new agent Liz (Changing the Game) want Cole to toe the line and change his ways. But Cole may need a little help remaking his reputation. That’s when image consultant Savannah Brooks enters the picture. The southern blond beauty never met a client she couldn’t help, but Cole may prove to be a difficult subject. He’s stubborn and refuses to take responsibility for his actions. He’s self-contained and not a friend to his teammates. People have him all wrong–he’s not a bad guy, he’s just being goaded by the media. Can Savannah work her magic on someone who doesn’t think he needs help?
Well. Cole starts out as a bit of a jerk in this book, with the whole spoiled athlete bit. But gradually, as he starts to take Savannah’s suggestions, he comes around and becomes waaay more likable. And there’s definitely some major chemistry between Cole and Savannah (or “Peaches”, as he calls her). Cole wants to hook up with the pretty, proper, blond, and Savannah fights like mad to keep their relationship “professional”. In her mind, her career is all she has, and she’s not about to blow it for a guy who’s never been in a real relationship. Due to her upbringing, Savannah is too wary to let herself care for someone–and falling in love? Forget it. But what if Cole keeps tempting her? Can she really resist his charm and risk it all?
Typical of this series, this was another well-written, fast moving, super sexy book. At first Cole comes off as a stubborn, spoiled jerk, and wasn’t that easy to like (no matter how hunky he was). But gradually, hearing his POV, we get to know him better and hear what he’s thinking. And he becomes more likable.
Needless to say, the romance between Cole and Savannah is white hot, so have a cool drink handy.:) The sexual tension is quite high, builds and builds until…whew!
JB deals adequately with Savannah’s crappy background, and the reader will certainly sympathize with her. She’s a hard-working, self-made woman, and I was rooting for her to get her HEA with Cole.
Readers of this series will be happy to know that we get an update on all the couples: Mick and his now pregnant wife Tara ; Gavin and Liz (who has lots of snappy dialogue with both Cole and Savannah); and little sister Jenna and fiancé Tyler. We also get to meet Cole’s family, including his sister Alicia whose story (Thrown by a Curve) is up next.
This is one of my favorite contemporary/erotic series right now. Jaci Burton always delivers a well crafted story with believable characters, smoldering sex scenes, and the perfect HEA to warm your heart. Although she may run out of Rileys soon, I think this series still has plenty of legs. Just keep serving up the studly sports stars, and I’ll be reading them! 5 stars
Handsome Garrett Scott is a star pitcher for the St. Louis Rivers. Garrett injured his shoulder late last season and is in the process of rehabbing it, yet things have hit a plateau. Is it the physical therapists who are ineffective, or is Garrett just not giving it his all? Enter Rivers therapist Alicia Riley (sister of Cole–Playing to Win). Alicia’s devoted her life to becoming the best sports therapist there is, and she’d like a crack at rehabbing Garrett. When tell-it-like-it-is Alicia has some blunt words of advice for him and how he’s going about his rehab, Garrett is intrigued and decides that he’d like Alicia to take charge of his rehab. This is a big challenge for Alicia–she’s never had such an important client, and although she’s confident she can get Garrett ready for the season, there is a slight possibility that things might not work out. Alicia lays it on the line for Garrett, and tells him just what she expects from him. They work hard, and begin to see some results. But will the attraction between Alicia and Garrett get in the way of the rehab? Alicia would like to keep it all business…but Garrett makes it hard to stick to that resolve. What harm would it cause if Alicia and Garrett give in to their desires…?
I also thought the character of Garrett was a little underdeveloped. We learn that he was still traumatized over his parent’s divorce when he was a teen, and this affected his thoughts about love. I would’ve liked to learn a little more about him (although we do get a scene where he meets up with his college buddies–setting up some future books, I’m sure)–I felt I didn’t know him all that well. He did come off as being a bit self involved, but I’m sure that’s all part of being a star athlete and having people fawn all over you. He ended up being a good guy, but I just wasn’t blown away by him.
If you’ve been keeping up with this series, you’ll enjoy seeing some characters from the other books pop up here (Tara, Liz, Savannah, Jenna, Gavin, Cole) and catching up with them. Jaci Burton has a way of writing that makes you feel like you know these characters as old friends, and the reading is always easy. If there had been a little more going on in this one, I would’ve given it a higher rating. All of the books in this series are winners, but some characters are more memorable than others. I’m afraid Alicia and Garrett and their story aren’t quite as memorable as Tara and Mick (The Perfect Play) but still they rate a solid 4 stars.
Drew Hogan’s a star hockey player for the fictional New York Travelers (kind of a weird name for a team but whatever…). Carolina Prescott is the daughter of the VP of the USA, fashion designer with her own company and ready to take on her first fashion show in February. Drew and Carolina share a past–he’s her brother Gray’s best friend (One Sweet Ride) and the former object of her teenage fantasies. Those fantasies finally came true one semi-drunken night in college when Drew finally gave virginal “Lina” what she wanted–a sexy night between the sheets.
Jaci Burton shows no sign of slowing down with this series. Drew and Carolina are a sexy, interesting couple with a friendly past that ended in heartbreak for Lina. I did think she started out as a little uptight and thought she held onto this grudge for a bit long. Eight long years and she’s still thinking about it? After all, she threw herself at this guy and he never made her any promises, and they were both young and stupid. Yes, he did owe her an apology but she needed to move on. That was my initial impression of Lina, but as the book progressed she really grew on me and I ended up liking her.
I liked Drew from the get go. He was funny, charming, and sexy, and apologetic to Lina. And he wanted to win her over, so I was on board with that. This couple had some strong sexual chemistry, but both were in denial that this was an actual “relationship” since neither really experienced a real relationship. I loved how it progressed, step-by-step. I loved that they had a friendly background, and once Lina was able to forgive Drew, I loved watching those sparks fly! I loved how Drew took time out from his own schedule to make sure the work-a-holic Lina had some fun in her life. I loved how they gradually fell in love.
About that sexual chemistry…yowza! They sure made up for some lost time. There was one scene, where Lina was taking some photos of Drew in his underwear (that she designed) for a print campaign–this took place at Madison Square Garden. And OMG did things get out of control (*blush*) in front of the net…and in the locker room. And nobody saw this? Hard to believe there were no witnesses…
If I had one complaint about the book, it was regarding some hockey issues. So maybe JB isn’t a hockey fan, but there’s such a thing as research. And maybe the Travelers don’t even play in the NHL…but the hockey season does not start after Thanksgiving–unless there was some sort of strike or lockout? And the Travelers were playing preseason games in November. (Preseason starts in September, and the season starts in October, not December). A minor quibble, I know, but that kind of took me out of the story and disappointed me at the same time. It took me a while to get over it, and I tried to ignore it since I liked other aspects of the book. But if you’re going to write a sports themed book, this sports fan wants you to get all the details correct.
To sum up: an easy, sexy read, with some naughty times, a sexy hero who mostly makes all the right moves in wooing the heroine, and a decent storyline/romance that made you want to turn the pages. Gray and Evelyn (One Sweet Ride) are back (with some exciting news), and we meet Drew’s friend Trevor, who’s quite the ‘player’ and destined for his own book next (Straddling the Line. Fans of this series will not be disappointed. 4 1/2 stars