Game Play (Power Play, #1)by Lynda Aicher Published 16 Feb 2015
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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?
"Game Play (Power Play, #1)" Reviews
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.
Game Play is so much more than your typical sports romance... Simply put, it's romance at its finest! Dylan and Samantha had me hooked from their first encounter and I couldn't wait to see how their relationship would play out.
Samantha is not at a good point in her life when she meets Dylan. She's turned her back on hockey, the thing she loves most, and she's trying to figure out what to do with her life. She wants to pave her own way and follow her own dreams... If only she really knew what they were.
Dylan is at a pivotal point in his hockey career and after Samantha schools him on the ice he knows she's just the person to get him where he wants to be. While I wasn't exactly sold on Dylan at first, once he stopped with the fake cowboy charm he really grew on me.
I love the banter between Dylan and Samantha and I absolutely loved watching their relationship bloom. Samantha comes off tough and cold but once you get to know her and learn why she acts the way she does you can't help but love her. And the fact that she put aside her feelings to be there for Dylan when he really needed her made me love her that much more.
Game Play had so many of the real life difficulties that go along with relationships that anyone could relate to it. There are the difficulties of finding love when you least expect it, trying to find your place in the world, the fear of having your dreams shattered, but most importantly, letting go. Letting go of that fear and even letting go of the person you love.
For a while I wasn't really sure how it was all going to work out, but like every great love story... They found their way and I couldn't be happier. My only complaint would be the lack of an epilogue but since Game Play is part of a series I'm hoping we'll see more of Samantha and Dylan in the rest of the books.
Overall, this was a great read and I'm looking forward to Back in Play, the next book in the series.
*ARC kindly provided in exchange for an honest review.
I received an ARC courtesy of Carina Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
The concept for this book was GREAT! I love how the story and characters were set up, but sadly that's all I loved about this book.
My first problem came with Dylan Riley's mask that he puts on. The opening scene felt off to me, at the time I couldn't understand why but as I continued reading I began to understand. For his own reasons Dylan 'Cowboy/Pretty Boy' Riley like to keep up the persona that he was a party type of guy when honestly that was further from the truth. When he was confronted about it, he really didn't have a solid reason why he wanted to be perceived this way. If the character can't come up with a reason to justify their actions how can the readers be expected to understand the character.
My second and lasting issue with this book was Samantha. I'm usually not critical of a relationship in a story unless it hinders the growth of the story or its connection to me as the reader, but Sam's impact and influence over her relationship with Riley really fell flat for me. At first I actually looked forward to their soon-to-be relationship based off their banter on the ice rink in the beginning, but once sex entered the picture (too quickly in my opinion) and Sam became cold and distant I was then both confused and put off by her attitude. I truly don't feel that her attitude was a realistic result to her reasons behind it. She played, sometimes intentionally, with Riley's emotions and she only admits to feelings of remorse close to the end of the book. She was always back and forth on her feelings towards Riley where Riley had no problem fessing up to having feelings whether with words or actions.
Overall, Game Play was an 'okay' read, there was nothing that jumped out at me. The up and down emotional roller-coaster on Sam's part left me with a bad taste in my mouth, this story just wasn't for me.
In a rare twist on the norm, Game Play looks at what would happen if the man wanted more from the relationship than the woman. After a one-night stand with Samantha, Dylan can’t get her out of his mind. He finds a way to get her back in his life by hiring Sam to help with his game on the ice. Even though Dylan’s insistence that he needs assistance sounds a little fishy she agrees to help. It’s obvious by the way they can’t keep their hands off each other that there’s an attraction. But Sam is trying to leave her life with hockey behind her, and a pro hockey player boyfriend doesn’t fit into that plan.
There was something incredibly hot about a girl as cute as her who could also play that well.Sam was a unique character. Instead of being a girly-girl she was more of a tomboy. She had a fantastic hockey career of her own, playing for the women’s Olympic team, but now she wants to cut all ties to the sport. I liked that Sam could hold her own. She kicked Dylan’s ass a couple times while skating and it was fun to see a female who was an exceptional player. But, I didn’t fully understand her reasons to push Dylan away as well as turn her back on the sport she loved. It felt like Sam was creating reasons to make herself unhappy.
His heart was torn open and aching with how close yet far they were. Why couldn’t they get this right?It was easy to fall for Dylan. He was hot, hard working and sweet. When he met Sam he wasn’t looking for anything serious. But even though he didn’t want a relationship at first he could tell they had something special and was willing to try. It was hard to see Dylan try to get through to Sam. Whether he was cautious or direct Sam constantly tried to push him away. My one complaint about Dylan’s character was that I wished we had found out more about his past. I thought his reason for using the cowboy guise was a little weak and that if we knew more about his past it would have made more sense.This was a cute story. The premise was a refreshing change and I really enjoyed Dylan’s character. It was nice to have such a strong female character as well, I just wish I would have understood her actions better. If you’re a fan of hockey romance I think you’ll really enjoy this book.
Review to be posted at Romance at Random and Love Between the Sheets
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Samantha, or Sam, was an elite hockey player who played for USA in the Olympics, but is no longer eligible to play college hockey, and she’s determined to move on and put hockey behind her. Dylan Rylie, a player for the Colorado Glaciers, is in a crucial year in his career as a restricted free agent. A challenge on a public rink leads to a crazy passionate encounter, which leads to what? Romance, of course.
The Good, The Bad and Everything In Between
-A hockey romance where the hero AND heroine are players: I’ve never read anything by Ms. Aicher, and I have to say, It’s been a revelation to read a hockey romance where the hockey is so front and center and done so well. I’d venture to say it’s one of the best hockey romances I’ve ever read. It’s such a vital part of their characters, that I really had no problem immersing myself in their story. There were little things that were a bit off like reading “affiliate leagues” instead of minor leagues, or the national title instead of the Cup or Lord Stanley, but Dylan’s status with the team, the workouts, the contract concerns, it was all pretty spot on. Even when Sam is recruited to help Dylan’s game on the down low, I could buy into it because it’s such a male-dominated sport. Speaking of...
-Sam’s got a chip on her shoulder the size of a Glacier: Sam is an intriguing heroine. To read about a heroine that is so immersed in hockey was new for me, and I really liked it. She’s won an Olympic medal, performed at the highest level and yet she now, because of her gender, cannot make a living doing what she loves most. The fact is women hockey players only have limited opportunities to play professionally, and even then they have to keep working other jobs because they can’t make a living doing it. That’s just the cold, hard truth. Sam’s anger and resentment is so believable and her competitive drive is absolutely necessary in a professional athlete.
As a romance heroine, it makes her harder to love and I can easily see her harder edges making her unsympathetic to some. I loved that she had that drive, and I really felt her frustration with the limitations she faces. What I struggled with was her complete resistance to opening herself emotionally to a relationship. I appreciated her focus on her career, but her willingness to hurt Dylan to protect herself wasn’t as easy to deal with. Wasting precious time because she can’t live in the now, made sense, but didn’t make it less frustrating. What helped ultimately, is her final grand gesture. It went a long way towards making me believe in her feelings for him.
-Dylan’s a beta kind of guy, and there’s nothing wrong with that: Dylan’s intrigued by Sam and he’s absolutely attracted to her strength, and when she agrees to train him, he is the one to suggest it. Part of it is definitely because of his attraction to her, but moreover, he really does respect her talent and skills. Seeing their relationship unfold, and Dylan supporting her as opposed to letting his ego take a beating because he’s being helped by her, was a nice change of pace from all the alpha heroes dominating the romance landscape these days.
-Sexy times still had by all: The chemistry is apparent between Sam and Dylan from the start, and their first sexual encounter was so well done. It makes you sit up and take notice. Sam is the aggressor for alot of their encounters, for one reason or another. and there’s no kinky fuckery, just really hot sex.
-More Glacier players, please: The setup for future story was intriguing enough that I’d like to see more of these players. Soon would be nice.
-It’s a specific kind of story: The only drawback I foresee is, if you’re not as interested in hockey, it may be a bit more difficult to enjoy all the facets of this story. While it’s realistic that these two be so focused when it comes to their careers, the romance takes a bit of hit because of it. Also, you may or may not get past Sam’s harder edges. I do think it was very well written and it’s worth a shot.
The Bottom Line
One of the best hockey romance novels I’ve ever read. If you’re a fan of the sport, I encourage you to give it a chance. I really enjoyed it and I’m bumping Ms. Aicher’s backlist up on my TBR list.
**ARC provided by publisher via netgalley in exchange for an honest review**
Sympa qu'on pense pour une fois à la place des femmes dans le sport haut niveau. Sinon l'histoire se laisse lire, ce n'est pas la romance du siècle, ni le truc le plus approfondi ou développé qui soit mais on passe plutôt un bon moment.