Series: Play by Play,
Also in this series: Changing the Game, Taking a Shot
Published by Berkley Books on 01 February 2011
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Also by this author: Changing the Game, Taking a Shot
Place(s) Traveled To: San Francisco, California // St. Louis, Missouri
First Line(s): Sweat dripped down from Mick Riley’s face and arms.
The Perfect Play by Jaci Burton is one of those books that I’ve heard a lot about from friends who have similar reading habits to me and I finally decided to check it out. Its a sports themed romance and those are usually good for fun time. This story follows Mick Riley and single mom Tara Lincoln. As with most male leads Mick was a major player but unlike the stereotype he was tired of all that and looking to settle down. Tara on the other hand was just looking for a single night of sexy times as she has a teenage boy and tells herself that she has no time for a relationship as it might scar her son for life.
Tara has a ton of crazy hangups throughout the book and while some I understood others were just plan whack-a-doodle. She’d fly off the handle over the littlest thing and often project all of her anger onto Mick. Yes, sometimes he did mess up but most of the time it was her own assumptions or due to the interference of another character, Elizabeth. Oh boy did I dislike Elizabeth. She’s a tough as nails character who is successful at her career but I just didn’t buy some of her life choices. Based on many other books I’ve read usually the manager of the celebrity-type character is trying to get them to settle down to not be such a player, to go to parties but not be all crazy-crazy with the drinking, etc. Elizabeth on the other hand was the opposite of all that. She wanted Mick to date every female celebrity in Hollywood and Tara would be oh so terrible for his image and so she undermined that relationship every chance she got. One thing I did like was that there were consequences for actions. At first Mick was blind to Elizabeth’s ways but when he clued in he laid down the law.
Mick was a nice guy, not perfect by any means, but he was a genuinely nice guy and I loved the scenes he had with Tara’s daughter. I also liked most of the scenes that he and Tara shared, well, those scenes when she wasn’t flying off the handle. The scenes where she was just an insecure wreck I did like. Not because she was insecure but because those scenes where very realistic. Here she is your average single mom trying to run her own business and in walks in this very well-known football star. Its a very daunting thing and the celebrity lifestyle isn’t for everyone. I can understand why it would make her wary especially since she didn’t just have herself to worry about.
For the most part, I liked the secondary characters, Mick’s brother and his parents, although I am not looking forward to the next book featuring Elizabeth as the female lead. Ugh, she was just so unlikable and I don’t see how she can be redeemed and I am not sure that I want to see that. So I might just skip over that story and move on to the third book which involves Mick’s sister.
The overall plot of the book was a bit so-so. There is nothing special about this book and its filled with some awkward dialogue and poor scene transitions. I even noticed a few typos during my read which took me out of the story. Where The Perfect Play succeeds for me is in the fact that it was a quick read. I read it in just a few sittings and despite its flaws it was a good escapist story. I also think that if there had been less Elizabeth and more Tara, Mick, and Tara’s son that I would have enjoyed the story more.