Monday, February 16, 2015

Game Play by Lynda Aicher

Title: Game Play
Author: Lynda Aicher
My Rating: A+

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: Power Play #1
Main Characters: Dylan and Samantha
Release Date: February 2015
Publisher: Carina
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
One night, one time, nothing more. That's all it was supposed to be. They'd agreed their first night together would be their only night together—and Minnesota Glaciers defenseman Dylan Rylie was fine with that. Giant hickeys and claw marks on his ass had never been his style, even if the very memory of Samantha Yates's merciless sexual energy gets him hard within seconds. He needs to focus on getting a better contract, not mind-blowing orgasms.

One night, one time, nothing more. Fresh off representing the US at the Games and with nowhere else to play, Samantha gave in to one night of frantic passion with the Glaciers' brawny hotshot. She couldn't get hurt—not if she controlled the outcome. And she planned to leave Minnesota soon, anyway. She didn't expect to be recruited to coach Dylan after they'd gotten down and dirty.

When brutal on-ice workouts lead to kinky locker room sessions and "one night" falls by the wayside, Samantha insists on keeping things casual, despite Dylan's quiet hope for more. But when Dylan goes down—hard—and his career is in jeopardy, Samantha is the first one by his side. What will it take to keep her there after he's healed?
 

My Review:
I discovered Lynda Aicher last year when I picked up her Wicked Play series mid-way through. I fell in love with her writing, so I expected to enjoy this series. Because let's face it...one of my favorite authors writing one of my favorite sub-genres...sports, especially hockey. This book was already set up to be a winner in my book. 

And I will tell you right now this book turned out to be so much deeper and more meaningful than I ever expected it to be. It was just an excellent read. 

The story is about Samantha and Dylan, but it's really about Samantha. Samantha is at a crossroads in her life. Hockey has been her life, but as a female she has done all she can with the sport. Regardless that she is as good as any NHL player and definitely at the top of her game, there's no where else for her to go as a hockey player. She hates that. She resents that. She doesn't know how to deal with that. 

And then Dylan enters her life. He's 23 and also at the top of his game. He has everything Samantha wants. He's on the cusp of getting a massive contract and having his future set. Plus he gets to play the game he loves day in and day out. While Samantha is happy for Dylan and all that he's earned, she's also jealous that he can focus on the game and do what he loves. She realizes her feelings are wrong, but that doesn't change the reality of them. 

This book follows Samantha as she learns to live and accept her new reality. As well as try to love someone who has what she wants so badly. It's not an easy road and I honestly was sitting reading the book at 92-93% thinking that Lynda Aicher was going to lose her spot as beloved author if she didn't figure out a way out of the mess she had written for these two characters, as I cried with every turn of the page. No spoilers, but L. Aicher is still beloved in my book...so all is good. 

Obviously I fell in love with these characters. I love how pure Dylan is with his feelings for Samantha. Did he want to fall in love at this point in his life? No. But he's willing to accept that and wants Samantha in his life. He just has to convince her. But he also realizes that he can't really be the one to do that. Samantha has to come to that realization herself. And I loved him for it. And Samantha...wow, this girl is awesome. I love how tough and accomplished she is on the ice. I loved how she stood Dylan up when they met. I love that she has so much to offer the hockey world even if she doesn't see it. 

Everything about this book is good. Um...hockey! Hell yeah. But there is also some seriously hot and heavy sex that was so incredibly sexy especially with the marks left afterward. The locker room shower scene had me giggling. There is emotion...a ton of it, romance...so much it made me smile softly, and angst...so much, I was definitely crying through the end. I'm a hockey romance reader and this one is one of the best I've read. I HIGHLY recommend it!

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

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