Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Review: Making a Play by Victoria Denault

Making a Play by Victoria Denault
Series: Hometown Players, Book 2
Publisher: Forever Yours
Genre: Contemporary Romance Making a Play Cover
ISBN: 9781455564040
Release Date: September 8, 2015
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

He’ll do whatever it takes to win–on and off the ice.

Luc Richard is the hottest player in the NHL–and it has nothing to do with hockey. His racy relationship with his supermodel ex set the tabloids on fire but nearly put his career on ice. To avoid being traded, Luc agrees to take a break from the spotlight–and from women–and spend the off-season at home in Silver Bay, Maine. It's the perfect plan… until he reconnects with Rose.

Rose Caplan is tired of being shy, sweet, and safe. She’s ready for passion, romance–and Luc. Having loved him longer than she can remember, she’s finally ready to prove she’s not the same innocent little girl he once knew. Off the ice Luc doesn’t do games, but this new Rose makes him feel like playing a little dirty. If he’s really got a shot at her heart then he’s not just playing to win. He's playing for keeps.

I love a good friends-to-lovers romance and I’m a sucker for a hockey player hero, so of course I snatched up Making a Play. Victoria Denault’s second Hometown Players story is a sultry tale with a healthy dose of angst and it moves at a satisfyingly fast pace.

Rose is the classic good girl who’s loved her lifelong friend from afar. Now, with Luc single and home for the summer, she’s finally ready for him to see her as a woman he would desire. What Rose doesn’t know is that her attraction has never been one-sided. But Luc doesn’t want romance, commitment, or a real relationship – all the things he knows Rose wants. Thinking it’s for her own good, Luc keeps her in the friendzone until the temptation of her gets to be too much for him to resist. From there Making a Play heats up and Ms. Denault does a good job of keeping things sensual and emotional.

There is genuine affection and love (in the non-romantic sense) between Rose and Luc from the very beginning, which is what kept me invested in the story, even when I grew frustrated with both hero and heroine. Rose is 21/22 and Luc 24/25, and because the do act their age, the story feels like something between new adult and adult romance. This isn’t a mark against the book, merely an observation. There’s a lack of maturity on Rose and Luc’s parts that would have been more logical in a new adult romance, but the story is written as a straight contemporary romance. It’s an awkward in-between which drew me out of the story and may or may not do the same for other readers. A lot of Rose and Luc’s problems would have been solved had they been open with each other from the start and had taken responsibility for their actions. They don’t seem to truly take control of their destiny until the very end, which serves the plot but not the characters.

There are a lot of romance formulas at play in the story, and though they don’t feel fresh or new, the formulas work. And though I had some issues with Rose and Luc, I did like them both overall. Rose is sweet and charming, and Luc is sensual and protective. Their shared history carries them through and makes the ending mostly satisfying (things were wrapped up quickly enough that I still had a few questions). The familial relationships with secondary characters added depth to the story and made me want to learn more. So while Making a Play was hit-or-miss for me at times, I’m still interested in reading more of Ms. Denault’s work. And with Callie’s story on the horizon, there’s no way I’ll be missing out on the next Hometown Players book, The Final Move.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.