Sunday, April 16, 2023

Review: Playing it Tough by Amy Andrews

Playing it Tough by Amy Andrews
Series: Sydney Smoke Rugby, Book 8
Publisher: Entangled: Brazen
Genre: Erotic Contemporary Romance 
Playing it Tough cover
ISBN: 9781649374417
Release Date: April 17, 2023
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Entangled

Cosmetic tattoo artist Orla Stewart doesn’t do anything in half measures. She went from being the ultimate party animal to living a life that’s ridiculously straight and narrow. Turns out, cancer can change a girl. A lot. Adios to delicious cheeses, boozy dance parties and easy men. Hel-lo to celibacy and a sweet house-sitting gig with a massive pool. Until one very hot, very unwelcome intruder turns things upside down.

American rugby import Ronan Dempsey’s partying is trashing both his reputation and his game—and risking his chances for making the US Olympic team. He needs to clean up, and the pool house belonging to a family friend is the perfect place to hideaway. No. More. distractions. Which is exactly when a gorgeous, pink-haired hellion knocks Ronan on his ass…

The chemistry is instantaneous, charged, and absolutely, completely, totally off-limits. Proximity makes temptation nearly impossible to resist. Now it’s a deliciously torturous game of pushing boundaries and holding out. It’s just a matter of time before someone breaks…

The hottest players on the pitch are back in Playing it Tough. This time it’s the Sydney Smoke’s American rookie, Ronan Dempsey, meeting his match in a pink-haired tattoo artist.

Ronan has been living it up as the Sydney Smoke’s newest star, but when he realizes his game is suffering he calls a halt to his partying ways and takes a vow of celibacy for the season. He doesn’t expect his willpower to be challenged by his new neighbor, Orla Stewart. Orla used to be a party girl but for the past three years she’s been on the straight and narrow. With the women in her family having died from or battled hard against breast cancer she is determined to do everything she can to negate her risks. She also doesn’t want to get close to anyone for fear of the pain of loss. Her walls are ten miles high, but Ronan is a skilled climber. He isn’t put off by Orla’s prickliness and his charm gets through her tough exterior.

Falling in lust is easy, but forming a true and lasting relationship isn’t as simple for these two. The attraction between them burns bright and hot, but it’s the emotional beats that make this romance for me. Orla has gone through a lot and though she’s a warrior she is also keeping herself from living a full life. I loved watching her embrace pleasure. Ronan is a sweetheart through and through. He’s tempting as all get-out but it’s his metaphorical strong shoulders and loving nature that made him shine for me. Amy Andrews made it easy to root for them and I adored watching them fall from lust to love. Their openness and unwillingness to shy away from hard conversations and realities took their romance from sexy fun to something strong and true.

Playing it Tough is the eighth book in Andrews’s Sydney Smoke Rugby series but it can easily be read as a standalone. Past protagonists make cameos in this story and I enjoy any time spent with these endearing rugby stars and those who love them. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed Orla and Ronan’s story and I am very much looking forward to more Sydney Smoke Rugby books.

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.