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Monday, November 10, 2014

Review: Tempting the Player by Kat Latham

Format: .mobi (provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review)
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: November 10, 2014

Libby Hart and Matt Ogden are perfect for each other—as friends. They've known each other for ages. They act as each other's plus-ones. They even share custody of a dog. And if there's always been a little spark between them, so what? It's never been worth jeopardizing their friendship.

Professional rugby player Matt is fighting for a starter position with the London Legends—and that's not the only thing he's fighting. A crippling fear of flying means he's struggling to get his career off the ground. He has no time for a relationship, even if Libby does make him ache. As an airline pilot, Libby's looking for a stay-at-home husband so she can have a family without sacrificing her high-flying career. Matt's certainly not that man.

But just because they don't have a future together doesn't mean they can't have a right now. When Matt asks Libby for help overcoming his fear, they agree to take a vacation from their platonic relationship—whenever they fly together, they can have sex. It's the perfect way to resolve all that built-up tension. As long as they can avoid getting a little too comfortable…
Rugby, planes and a little sexy time, oh my!

Longtime friends Matt Odgen and Libby Hart always have each other’s backs. They share a dog; they even save each other from having to find a date to events. Sure, there’s always been the question of “What If” but seriously, they’re just friends. As a professional rugby player, Matt has been trying to get a starting position with the London Legends, unfortunately his crippling fear of flying has made it almost impossible. So he asks Libby for help.

As a pilot, Libby’s seen it all and she thinks she can help Matt with his problem. That’s what friends do right? But when the question of “What If” keeps popping up, Matt and Libby decide to have a little fun while trying to fix Matt’s flight fear. Their agreement is that during the duration of Matt’s “treatment” they’ll indulge themselves in a sex only relationship. After all, Libby’s looking for a stay at home husband and they both know Matt isn’t that guy. Or is he?

I must say that for a sports romance series, I really like the London Legends series. Author Kat Latham infuses each story with both romance and sports yet readers don’t have to be sports fans to enjoy it. I know I certainly don’t qualify as a sports enthusiast. I’ve never seen a rugby game, nor do I always understand the terminology but a quick look at the author’s note reveals a few words and phrases for those who aren’t familiar with British English along with a Glossary of Rugby terms. I was set.

Can I start with Libby’s profession? I’ve never read a romance where the heroine was a pilot and not a flight attendant. For some reason that stood out for me. I liked that Libby had a profession that wasn’t something commonly found in romance. It matched her personality; she was a light hearted, fun and independent character. She was the light to Matt’s dark, they’ve seen each other at their worst and it just didn’t matter. She cared about Matt as a person, not a rugby player. From Matt’s point of view, he saw Libby not as just any woman, but as the woman he could count on when everyone else gave up on him. He let her see the real him. As close as these two were, I was surprised at how difficult it was for them to transition from friends to lovers and that’s where Tempting the Player hit its first bump for me.

I thought that because Matt and Libby were such good friends that when they made the jump from friends to lovers there would be this sense of “Oh, that’s what this is, this is what all our time as friends was leading up to” and it just never came. At times I felt that their romantic relationship was forced, I didn’t connect to them as a romantic couple. As friends they were great but their romance was missing something that I can’t quite put my finger on. Something that was definitely present with the previous books’ couples. Maybe it was that their chemistry wasn’t as intense, not that the sex scenes were hot but I just didn’t feel the attraction between them like I think I should have.

The pace of Tempting the Player was slower than the previous books as well. There was less focus on rugby as which wasn’t a bad thing but because less attention was placed on the game itself it left a gap that needed to be filled. That gap was filled with more Matt/Libby time that should have moved their relationship forward at a faster pace than it did. I did find myself skipping forward at some spots in the book because of a lack of total connection to Matt and Libby.

There are some great moments in Tempting the Player though, I enjoyed whenever Libby was flying, even though, like Matt, I’m terrified of it, I loved how much Libby loved what she did, her passion for it rubbed off on me. Matt and Libby’s dog Princess and the love they have for her did allow me to connect with them as individuals (I’m and animal lover). Of course, a happy ending is never to be excluded in the "Plus" column

Final Verdict: All in all, Tempting the Player is a solid story though it does slow down in the middle. It’s not my favorite book in the series but it shouldn’t be missed by fans.

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