Friday, June 22, 2018

Lynda Aicher - Game Play

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?

Comment: I decided to add this book to my TBR list after looking through a sports list at goodreads. I'm not particularly dedicated to this theme but once in a while it does make for interesting reads and I was hoping the protagonists would bond over the sport so that their story felt even stronger.

This is the story of Dylan Rylie, a young hockey player who has started his career with the reputation of being a party boy when the reality is that although he has tried to give that impression he has very serious expectations of the game and of what he can do in his career.
One day he meets Samantha Yates, a woman that has recently ended her connection to a female hockey team, who has represented her country in competitions but who knows there's no professional career for women playing hockey. She decides to get a bit of revenge on this impossibility by out playing Dylan in an event where cameras would be. Their connection ends up being a positive one, they feel attracted to one another and agree on a one time encounter. 
However, Dylan isn't really ready to let her go and he proposes something to his coach which will impact both their lives from then on...

All things considered, this is not a bad story. It has several elements that validate its sports themed label, it has a progressing romance and a HEA. I think the author shows a relatively good knowledge of how hockey works - or it seems so to me, who have no great notion of it besides it's played on ice and can be quite violent - and there are some details about the characters that made them interesting.
After finishing the story what went through my mind was mostly the feeling that this was very common. It read just like any other sports romance and most of the time it wasn't as memorable as I imagined it would be.

I wouldn't call it boring, although there were some parts I think were presented with a slower pace. I also skimmed the sex scenes because they didn't really conveyed any special feelings besides the basic. I just think everything was done very superficially.

There were some details that I enjoyed reading about, no matter how repetitive or under done they might have looked like to me at the same time.
I especially liked Samantha's character and her sense of defeat because she could pursue hockey as a profession, the way men do. Even in many other, mostly team, sports it's all focused on the men's abilities and paychecks and not the women's and I do think this subject was well portrayed. I also understand why Samantha acted a little bitter at times.
She also had a softer side, which does play well into the whole relationship development status but overall, she didn't come across as really likable. Nothing wrong with her but I wasn't always that interested.

Dylan too provided some interesting situations to think about, namely the expectations fans have of players, how they are seen as an asset and not always as a normal person and how the fear of injuries can be difficult to endure and deal with if they happen. These details were the interesting part, which, along with Dylan's personality and memories he shares with Samantha, made me happy when they got their HEA.

Like I said, the story wasn't bad but the sum of all the parts didn't really add up into a very good story, only average. I've read other sports stories and I thinking about it now, I can't seem to have noticed enough details to distinguish this from many others. I'd say this is just one more sports book.
Perhaps this is unfair and I do see by grades that many people loved it but the characterizations weren't always appealing and the relationship wasn't as romantic as it could either.
Or, thinking a little about it, perhaps it just wasn't clear based on the way the author wrote it, that we are supposed to understand the characters' choices and attitudes.

This is one less book in my pile and for that I do feel glad I've read it. But with so many yet to be read, and this not being as strong as I imagined, I don't see myself reading more by the author so soon.
Grade: 6/10

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