Every so often, I like to mix things up and read something that is just pure escapism. In times like these I turn to something a bit more “steamy” and is as different from my usual fare as possible.
The Perfect Play is a book that is so hot and steamy, it really should come with a hazard warning. It literally led me to having to take a cold shower.
The book opens with our ruggedly handsome American Football player, Mick showering and dressing after a game. He is trying to muster up some enthusiasum for going to a function, organized by the owner of the football team.
In a stroke of fate, our heroine Tara, gets lost in the belly of the stadium, only to walk into a barely clothed Mick in the changing rooms. For a first meeting, it is not highly charged with sexual tension, at least not with Tara. Yes, she does take in the “sights” of Micks impressive physique, but it is no different than me oogling Chris Hemsworth’s naked torso in Thor. No, it is not until the function that the sparks begin to fly between the pair. The witty banter between Mick and Tara, is both teasing and fun. While reading it, I couldn’t help but smile.
They quickly fall into bed with each other, even after the protests from Tara at not wanting to. Somehow Mick manages to convince her otherwise. From here on out, what starts out as bit of a fun fling between Tara and Mick, turns into a relationship, with surprising outcomes. Both parties have hidden secrets. They are not the picture perfect people that they pretend to be to the outside world.
This is what makes the book so great to read. The author has painted very three dimensional characters. It is true that the sport’s star falling for the girl next door, is the stuff of many a romantic comedy or contemporary romance. Yet, the skeletons in the closet that both Mick and Tara hide are most excellently handled. It means that when the two do come together, you feel happy and pleased.
As the age old saying goes, the road to happiness never runs smoothly. The main obstacle to their happiness is Mick’s publicist, Elizabeth. She comes across as a ball busting sex kitten. Elizabeth admits to using her good looks and sex appeal to her advantage in order to get the best deals for her clients. For this, she expects them to toe the line by being seen with the latest hot starlet at parties and benefits. When Mick chooses Tara over all the women that Elizabeth throws at him, war is declared. She decides that Tara is a threat to Mick’s success and that she has to go.
At times I could almost see Elizabeth sitting on a swivel chair, stroking a white cat a la Bond Villian style. Yet, we see small chinks in her carefully constructed armour throughout the book. It seems that she uses her bitcheness as a disguise. It humanized Elizabeth, making her not completely detestable. That doesn’t mean to say that I despised what she did to Tara.
As I said before, what really made this story much more than just pages and pages of bedroom action, was the human element with Tara and Mick. Tara was a really loveable character. She is hardworking and hopes that her event planning business will branch out. The motivation behind this is so that her son has a better life than she has.
Pregnant at 16 after a very rough childhood, Tara manages to construct a very good life for herself and her son, Nathan. Everything she does is for him, but it doesn’t mean that she doesn’t worry about him. Nathan is at the age that she was when she began going off the rails. He is moody and sully, pretty much like every other teenager. Yet, Tara is almost driving him further away by being too protective. The male influence of Mick seems to help both of them.
Mick could have come across as the stereotypical jock, but Burton writes him in such a way that you can’t help falling for him yourself. What I really liked about him was the fact that he still battles his demons. Every day is a battle for him, and it’s done ever so subtley throughout the progress of the book. I won’t spoil what it is, you just have to read the book yourself.
While other books could have concentrated on the steamy hot sex scenes, Burton manages to construct a good old fashioned love story, that just so happens to have two leads that are dynamo’s in the bedroom. This for me is important as I really did care for both Tara and Mick. I have to feel a connection with one or both of the leads.
I loved this book and devoured it in a couple of days. It has great flow to it which meant that I didn’t notice how far through the book I had gotten. The balance between story and hot sexy bedroom scenes is just right. It feels rather natural in how the two came together and the progression of their relationship doesn’t seem forced. The happy ever after was brilliant and I am now a convert of this author. I have the other three books on my TBR list and I can’t wait to read each and every one, especially as the hinted storyline for the next one involves Mick’s brother. So go, take a stab at these books. You won’t regret it.
Rating: 4.5 Stars
The Perfect Play by Jaci Burton
(Play by Play #1)
Contemporary Erotic Romance
Berkley Heat (Feb 2011)
Paperback: 324 pages