Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Jeanette Murray - The Game of Love

Chris St. James is ready for normal. After walking away from her pro tennis career and a toxic relationship with a star hockey player, she's starting a new life as a teacher and tennis coach in a small town. Now all she needs is an average guy to share it with.
Brett Wallace is no average guy. Forced to retire from the NFL after an injury--and suddenly single after being dumped by his status-conscious wife--he's returned to his hometown to coach the varsity football team. Wary of women interested only in his celebrity, Brett finds Chris's indifference to his former career refreshing.
The last thing Chris needs is to get involved with another pro athlete, but she can't deny the sparks that fly between them. So she agrees to a purely physical, no-strings-attached affair. But the rules of the game change when she falls for him...

Comment: I got this book after some good opinions somewhere. I also checked GR and the average rating is good as well. I was quite interested to see how the author would deal with the "enemies to lovers" sort of vibe the blurb indicates.

In this book we meet Christ St James, a former professional tennis player who not only had a not so amazing career but her family and boyfriend were never the support system she could rely on. Now Chris is determined to teach, to coach and wants to finally do something she feels happy about.
Brett Wallace is a known NFL player who retired due to an injury and he too is coaching these days. The two meet at a teachers meeting at the school where Chris has recently come to teach in. Although they seem to have a lot in common, they don't start of with the best relationship they could, even professionally. But with time they start to get to know one another and there's more to both than only appearances indicate...

I had fun reading this book, I liked how the characters behaved and how they acted in certain situations. I enjoyed this book a lot and was ready to give it a higher mark when the last pages came and a situation there which I think could have been avoided if only they talked instead of simply assuming, it could have been so much better, especially when it comes to a mature and logical behavior following what was quite a steady but romantic relationship too.

I liked Chris a lot, in particular how she was so nervous for her team of students. I really liked having this notion Chris was human, she had issues and he was still suffering from nerves despite begin the grown up and the one who should set the example. It's nice to have a heroine who isn't perfect but not a whiny person either. I also felt for her when we become aware of what she went through, the lack os support she has always felt...it's not easy to imagine a life where those around you don't help, but Christ was still a great person and it was interesting to have notions about her personality not just by seeing the good things she does now.

Brett seems to be a simpler person but I did like learning of his more vulnerable side, he has many good things in his life but he was betrayed before so he is concerned about letting someone else become close to him. At the same time, he is dedicated to his family and he doesn't act like the world owns him. He isn't too broody or too much of an alpha to not try to be a nicer person or to genuinely help Chris when he thinks she might need it.

The relationship between these two practically makes the plot. There isn't a big plot device in here, this is mostly Chris and Brett's romantic journey towards a HEA and I liked going along with them. The sex part wasn't too much either, which was fantastic, we could glimpse their relationship so much better without having countless pages of kinky sex to mud through.
Like I said, towards the end, there is a situation which could be avoided in my opinion or, if not, it could have been done differently. I just think the aim for drama wasn't necessary.

At the end of the day, though, I can say I had fun reading this and learning things about the main characters. I liked them together, as a couple, as friends and as teachers who wanted the best for their students and tried to go one step ahead in order to help. This is not the best book ever, but it's a good escapism novel and I still think about the cute moments where Chris and Brett interacted with his family and their students.
Grade: 8/10

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