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Monday, November 28, 2016

Review: Playing It Cool by Amy Andrews

Yes! My faith has been restored in this series!

Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: Brazen
Release Date: September 12, 2016

Harper Nugent might have a little extra junk in her trunk, but her stepbrother calling her out on it is the last straw... When rugby hottie, Dexter Blake, witnesses the insult, he surprises Harper by asking her out. In front of her dumbass brother. Score! Of course, she knows it's not for real, but Dex won't take no for an answer.

Dexter Blake's life revolves around rugby with one hard and fast rule: no women. Sure, his left hand is getting a workout, but he's focused on his career for now. Then he overhears an asshat reporter belittle the curvy chick he'd been secretly ogling. What's a guy to do but ask her out? It's just a little revenge against a poser, and then he'll get his head back in the game.

But the date is better than either expected. So is the next one. And the next. And the heat between them...sizzles their clothes right off.
Suddenly, this fake relationship is feeling all too real...

I really loved the set up to this story! Dexter Blake wants to concentrate on his rugby playing and leave the woman chasing to the other guys on the team. After all, he feels he only has a few more years left of playing before it’s time to move on and he figures he can chase women all he wants after that. However, after he hears a reporter insult the curvy woman he’s secretly been checking out, all bets are off. Dex asks Harper out in front of her insulting stepbrother just to needle him, and Harper agrees, well aware that it’s all an act to make her stepbrother fume. But the chemistry between them goes from 10 to 100 quickly and soon one “fake” date turns into another, and another, and another.

After the first book in the series left a bad taste in my mouth, I cautiously began Playing it Cool and I’m so glad I did because it definitely hit the right notes with me and was just a good time overall.

Dex is just a lovable guy. He’s fun, he’s professional, he’s a sexy athlete, but there’s no ego with him. He knows he’s good but he doesn’t use it to make himself seem better than everyone. He’s like a superhero in that way and yeah, Harper notices that too. I thought Dex was charming and sweet in an alpha kind of way. He didn’t make me feel like he was there just to point out how sexy Harper’s extra curves were. He was just a guy who was attracted to a woman and fell for who she was once he got to know her. Also, he’s a little bit of a geek, so extra points for the athletic stud muffin who also has a fun appreciation for games and the like. The only downside to Dex was that when he panicked, he tended to lash out at the people around him instead of realizing that the blame was on his shoulders. A well timed reality check was a nice cure for that though.

I loved Harper and it wasn’t because she was a “curvy” girl. It was because she was so down-to-earth cool with her curves. It wasn’t a focal point for her and yet while she owned her body shape, she had moments of real self-consciousness because she lived in a world where “skinny” is everything to most men. However, she wasn’t the type of hypocrite who said she loved her curves but constantly needed Dex to reassure her that he loved her body the way it was. If he loved it great, but she wasn’t going to go on some stupid diet to get a body shape that wasn’t natural for her. But aside from her realistic and positive body outlook, she was funny. Not the “adorably clumsy” or “secretly cute” kind of funny but a real kind of funny. This is a chick I would totally want as my best friend because then we could go out and have fun without having to worry that she was on some kind of diet kick.

Dex and Harper didn’t lack in the heat department and there were some pretty steamy scenes between them but I actually enjoyed the non-sexy times between them the most. The moments where they were talking, playing games, or just looking at each other and yes, most of those moments were right before sex or even after but it was in those moments that a lot happened. When Dex and Harper were together they were more themselves than with anyone else. Amy Andrews didn’t just focus the attention on the lust and love between these two, she built a friendship between them as well that was just a good as the sexy romance between them. Oh and while Harper was practically addicted to Dex’s body, she wasn’t about to let that be all he was going to give her, she definitely had her “Aha” moment and let him know that he wasn’t the only man that would ever find her attractive.

Of course, Dex couldn’t be an athlete without interacting with members of his team and I loved the way they teased each other and spent time off the field together. I’d love for all of them to get their own story but Linc seems like he needs to fall the most, if only to knock him of his playboy pedestal.

My only complaint about Playing it Cool was how quickly the conflict was resolved. Not only was it quick but I had a hard time believing in it just based on how quickly and easily it was done.

Final Verdict: Playing it Cool more than makes up for the not so good time I had reading the previous book where the heroine was an unlikable sort.

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