Changing the Game (Play-By-Play - Book 2) by Jaci Burton
Publication Date: August 2011
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Genre: Erotic Romance (Contemporary)
Pages: Paperback, 320pp
(Received for an honest review from Berkley Heat)
Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound
Jaci Burton on the WEB: website, blog, facebook, twitter
Excerpt from Changing the Game WARNING: This excerpt may not be appropriate for readers under the age of 18.
MOST PEOPLE PLAY BY THE RULES, GAVIN AND LIZ AREN'T MOST PEOPLE...
Win at any cost. That's always been the mantra of sports agent Liz Darnell. When she carries things too far and risks losing her number one client - baseball pro Gavin Riley - Liz realizes that she'll have to work extra innings to regain his trust. It might not be too much of a stretch. She's had a thing for this player's moves since she first laid eyes on him, and by the looks of it, he wants her just as bad.
Gavin is more than ready - especially when Liz is offering herself as part of the bargain. As mush of her as Gavin wants. For added thrills, he decides to throw a little curveball Liz's way to see just how far she's willing to go to keep him as a client. But when love unexpectedly enters the playing field, neither Liz nor Gavin is ready for the biggest game changer of them all.
Author Jaci Burton continues her Play-by-Play series with the second book, Changing the Game. Burton who has been writing erotic romance for some time now takes on professional sports and athletes in this latest series. Fans of Burton's work will enjoy this sexy, yet tender love story about two people whose fears threaten to destroy their love for each other. Sports takes a backseat to romance in this steamy end of the summer read!
Liz Darnell has fought her way to the top of the male dominated profession to become a respected sports agent. She works tirelessly and ruthlessly to get her clients the deals she thinks they deserve. Now she is risking loosing her top client a professional baseball player named Gavin Riley, if she doesn't come up with a plan quickly. Liz has had her eye on Gavin for a long time, he hasn't seemed to notice her until now. When she offers him, herself as part of the bargain to keep him, the attraction between them is palpable, but neither of them is prepared when love threatens to upset their plans.
Jaci Burton introduces readers to sports agent Liz Darnell in the first book of the series, The Perfect Play. In that book Liz comes across as a hard-nosed, cold-hearted, and not a character that one could probably turn into the heroine of a romance novel. But Jaci Burton proves us wrong in the second book of the series, Changing the Game. Liz is just as cranky, intelligent and hard to get along with in this book as she was in the first book, and it's up to Burton to either change Liz's character completely or change how the reader views Liz. What makes this character tick? What makes her react the way she does? That's the key, and Burton pulls it off with style, giving authenticity to Liz's feelings and actions. She may not be the girl next door, but she has a heart and it certainly comes into play in this game.
Gavin is a typical athlete. Lean, good looking, naturally talented. Everything comes easy for Gavin. Women, great games, fast cars, he has it all. He is happy with how his life is playing out. He gets to do what he loves and he gets to be surrounded by a wonderful, if meddling family. Burton could have gone several ways with character. Some characters with the same attributes would come across as smug and entitled but not Gavin. He remains true and grounded despite his success and I think Burton did a great job of pitting him against a woman who had, had to fight tooth and nail for everything she had. The relationship between them starts out passionately and soon turns into a genuine and tender love, that neither of them is prepared for.
I liked the way the author was able to convey to the reader the extebt of Liz's feelings for Gavin even from the start. She tries to convince herself that it's just sex... really, really good sex, but that's not it. She has been watching him for a long time and once they begin spending time together and she learns more about him and his family, it's obvious that it was more than that all along. Unfortunately, the odds are stacked against them. Liz is no angel and her reputation sometimes comes back to haunt her. Gavin's family and friends are not exactly fans. Burton does a great job of showing the family dynamic and the protective nature between Gavin's family members. They were exceptional supporting characters in the book and added a lot of depth to the story.
This book gets pretty hot and steamy in parts, including a kinky outdoor love session that might have readers turning red from embarrassment. But, I'll have to say that enjoyed the way Burton described the encounters between Gavin and Liz. It doesn't come across as contrived or the main focus of the book. Their passion for each other stems more from who they are, it comes across as real and believable. The tender moments and real love the starts to grow between them feels the same way. It's all a part of really good progression, that readers get to be a part of. Very well written in my humble opinion.
I recommend this one to readers of erotic romance and mainstream romance as well. Sometimes I think erotic romances focus too much on the act and not on the essence of the story, not so with Jaci Burton. I look forward to reading more from her in the future. Definitely one of the best erotic romances I've read this year.
Changing the Game is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
Jaci Burton is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling, award winning author of over 50 books. She lives in Oklahoma and spends a fair amount of time on the back of her husband's Harley, where she often gets lost plotting her next story as the warm (and sometimes cold) breeze whips her face. She loves gardening, reality television, is a sucker for romantic comedies, and completely loses track of time when reading a great book. She's a total romantic and longs for the happily ever after in every story, which you'll find in all her books.