Thursday, March 5, 2015

review || GAME PLAY { blog tour }

Game Play by Lynda Aicher

Publisher: Carina Press (2/16/2015)
Series: Power Play, book 1 
Genre: Sport Romance
Source: Tasty Book Tours
Purchase links || amazon | bn | kobo | itunes || add to goodreads

Rating: ★1/2

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?  

about Lynda || Lynda Aicher has always loved to read. After years of weekly travel implementing computer software into global companies, she ended her nomadic lifestyle to raise her two children. Now her imagination is her only limitation on where she can go and her writing lets her escape from the daily duties as a mom, wife, chauffeur, scheduler, cook, teacher, volunteer, cleaner and mediator.

{ excerpt } .
Timing was everything, and she waited for her moment to kick up some fun on an otherwise blasé event. The charity that donated hockey equipment to kids from military families was a great cause that would benefit from a little show. At least, that was what she told herself.
“Don’t be stupid,” Meg warned in her ear.
“Why not?” Sam asked. “What do I have to lose?” Absolutely nothing. She’d never do anything to smear her name, but it wasn’t like she had a hockey career to worry about. Or a coach she was accountable to.
Or a reason to behave.
Rylie was spending as much time tipping his trademark worn brown cowboy hat at the passing women as he was paying attention to the kids looking for pointers. The ends of his brown hair curled over the back of the gray hoodie he’d worn under his jersey and seemed to match his hat color almost perfectly. Too perfectly.
Nicknamed Cowboy within the hockey world, he was dubbed Pretty Boy as well. The second label was coined his rookie season by a sports announcer and as far as Sam had heard and seen, the man cultivated both brands equally.
“Hi, Rylie,” a group of teenage girls dressed in skinny jeans and overdone makeup chorused as they skated past. Rylie shot them a nod and grin that somehow managed to be appropriate for the age of the girls.
Sam shook her head and chuckled at his easy charm. The guy had it all. Talent, looks, personality—he was a star in the making. One full of potential if he didn’t get distracted by the fame and parties he seemed to enjoy.
Walters smacked the puck toward Rylie, and Sam broke through the kids to swoop across the ice and steal the puck from the preoccupied man. A cheer went up from the kids when she circled the pro player, puck firmly in her control. The air chilled her cheeks and laughter rang in her ears as she sped away.
A quick glance over her shoulder showed Rylie chasing her, the determined pull of his brows blending with a full smile that somehow managed to put a matching one on her face. She caught sight of Meg and passed the puck off before she stopped then took off in the direction she’d just come from.
The circle of kids widened as Walters got into the play, tailing Meg. She swooped around a group of unsuspecting adults, using them as a pick to cut off Walters, and she smacked the puck back to Sam.
“Think you’re hot stuff, do you, Yates?” Rylie was at her side, jabbing his stick at the puck with no effect. She was under no illusion the man knew who she was. Her name was printed in big letters across the back of her jersey.
“Just having some fun.” She cut a sharp circle and faced off Rylie, who skidded to a quick stop.
He tapped his stick on the ice, an indulgent half smile on his lips. “Come on then.” He glanced over his shoulder. “You and me to the net.”
Her stomach did an unwanted flip when his eyes landed back on her. An interesting mix of brown and green, they seemed to dance with the same excitement that flooded her. The challenge was exactly what she’d wanted and his proposition was the best offer she’d had in months. On or off the ice.
“You are so on,” she said, grinning.

{ review } .
What makes books so intriguing to read is the turmoil that the characters go through. It's the strong personalities and the clashing personalities. It's also the fear of falling for someone the character doesn't think he or she deserves.

Generally, most books will hit all these points and then some. Typically the turmoil and the self-deemed lacking comes from life experiences. 

In GAME PLAY, we have two strong leads, both of whom share a certain façade for the world, but have much hidden in their depths.

Sam is a female hockey player who had had her time to shine -- not just in the college level, but on the national level as well. However, being female is what ends her career -- there aren't many options for female hockey players. At twenty-five, she needs to hang up her skates and find something else to live for ...

And it makes her a bit bitter.

On the other side, we have Dylan, a young twenty-something who is playing in the NHL and is working darn hard to stay there. As he says it, twenty-five is the average retirement age, and he plans on staying in longer than that. Beyond being a great player, he has an image to withhold. The public sees him as a playboy, so he works to play up that image with his cowboy hat, southern drawl, and parties where puck bunnies stay the night and parade out the door in the morning.

He's over the bunny phase, but he certainly enjoys watching his buddies' conquests march out the door in the morning.

I love that Sam dares him to a little one-on-one, and that she beat him. Granted, if he were to tell you, he'd say he let her, but regardless, girl's got moves. 

I find it interesting that they are like the female and male versions of the other. Both mention twenty-five being "the year", both study the game and their opponents, and both can see past the other's image -- and are willing to call the other on it (ie. Sam rolling her eyes and telling him to drop the southern charm act).

I love that Dylan calls and refers to her as Samantha -- I'm not sure what it is about girls who like their male-ish nicknames (hey now, I'm ALL about boy names for girls, as you may someday see in my own writing) and the men who only refer to them as the more girly name, but I love it.

I also love that Dylan brings out things in Sam, and while it scares her into running away, it makes her think and come back -- groveling females are a different thing to read about in books, but it certainly works here.

There isn't often a hockey romance book that I dislike, and I am happy to say this one stays firmly in love-it territory. I'm excited to see where Lynda brings us with this series!

To read other reviews & see other tour goodies, 
be sure to click here for the other tour stops!

{ giveaway } .