Format: .mobi (provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review)
Release Date: April 14, 2014
Where do you go to escape everything when you're one of the most famous rugby players in the world? For Liam Callaghan, that place is a remote lodge on Venezuela's Caribbean coast. Perfect, except he doesn't exactly want to be alone with his thoughts. Enter Tess Chambers, the ultimate distraction.
Still reeling from a professional disaster that's made her all but unemployable, Tess understands the desire to move through life as somebody else. So when instantly recognizable Liam uses a fake name, she runs with it and creates a temporary new identity of her own.
Their time spent together in paradise is idyllic but brief—after one passionate night, Liam wakes up to find Tess gone. Returning to London, he's shocked to learn she's taken a job with his team's new sponsor. As the Legends' captain, he'll have to not only figure out how to work with the one woman who ever left him wanting more, but also convince her that their feelings in the present mean more than any lies they've told in the past.
I’m not a sports fan at all and until recently avoided sports romances but I’m glad that I’m adding a light sprinkling of them to my list because then I would miss books like Playing it Close!
Taking on the world of rugby (I had to Google it, that’s how non-sporty I am), author Kat Latham created a story that even non sports fans like myself could enjoy and characters I could fall in love with.
Liam and Tess at first glance seem like they would make a perfect couple with Liam being a top rugby player and Tess being such a fan of the sport. However, Tess carries a lot of baggage that seem to take over her life. She doesn’t handle stressful situations very well and tends to make a bad situation worse but that’s what made me like her so much, she’s not a calm, cool, and collected 100% of the time and she makes very real mistakes, ones that I related to because I’m not the best in stressful situations either. Even while I was thinking Ouch, that was a bad call Tess, I still liked her and wanted her to overcome her personal problems and win Liam in the end.
Liam to me didn't have an athlete's personality or even the perceived stereotype. He's confident about his skills but he didn't annoy me with an over the top ego and a two track mind that started with rugby and ended with sex. In fact, Liam came off as a sweetheart kind of guy who only played the role of typical athlete but had more to offer any one who took the time to get to know him. He even had me falling for him and athletes are not my thing! That's how sexy and adorable he can be!
I understood why both Liam and Tess felt the need to create a false identity in the beginning. A false identity provides both freedom and safety for the person and that’s what both of them needed, a safe way to be themselves. That’s part of what drew me to these characters, I wanted to know what was so bad about their lives that they felt the need to hide and I wanted to know how they would find a way to reveal the truth to one another without it creating too much of an obstacle for their romance.
There’s a lot of chemistry between Liam and Tess, they create some serious tension and the way they play off each other makes the romance all the hotter, I enjoyed the way they danced around their attraction, acted on it, then went back to dancing around it until they figured out what they wanted.
With rugby being the sport of choice in Playing it Close, there was the requisite rugby vocabulary that appeared now and again with the sports scenes. While I still have no idea what any of it meant, it didn’t stop me from enjoying the romance and the thrill of the (imaginary) game.
Final Verdict: Playing it Close is one of the handful of sports romances that I actually enjoyed. I didn't feel like I was being forced to picture game after game or endless babbling about the game. There was just enough to remind me that the hero was an athlete but not too much to distract from the romance. It was fun, hot and I would definitely read Kat Latham again.