Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Review: The Perfect Play

The Perfect Play
Jaci Burton
Contemporary Romance
Play-by-Play/Book 1
Berkley Heat/February 1, 2011

From the author's website ~

Football pro Mick Riley is an all-star, both on the field and in the bedroom. But a sexy, determinedly single mom just might be the one to throw him off his game...

For years Mick has been taking full advantage of the life available to a pro athlete: fame, fortune, and a different girl in every city. But when he meets and beds confident, beautiful event planner Tara Lincoln, he wants much more than the typical one-night stand. Too bad Tara's not interested in getting to know football's most notorious playboy any better.

As the single mother of a teenage son, the last thing Tara needs is the jet-set lifestyle of Mick Riley; even though their steamy and passionate one-night stand was unforgettable. Tara's life is complicated enough without being thrust into the spotlight as Mick's latest girl du jour. Tara played the game of love once and lost big, and she doesn't intend to put herself out there again, especially with a heartbreaker like Mick.

But when Mick sets his mind to win, nothing will stop him. And he has the perfect play in mind.

This is the cover that was making the rounds and making a lot of readers dying to get their hands on it. And yes, I will admit I did my share of simply staring and gazing at all that male beauty. But if you think the cover is hot, wait 'til you read what's inside!

Tara Lincoln is a hard working single mom who has little to no time for herself between running her own event planning business and raising her teenage son. So when she meets Mick Riley, famous quarterback for the San Francisco Sabers and he shows an interest in her, she decides to live a little, just for one night. I liked Tara right from the start. She knows what she wants and while she had a very rough childhood, she hasn't let that keep her from going for her dream. She's also very attentive to her son Nathan and makes it clear to Mick that Nathan comes first.

Mick Riley is a crowd pleaser and he enjoys it. He enjoys getting out there with the fans, signing autographs and talking football. When he meets Tara he's at a point in his life that the celebrity is beginning to get old. He knows he doesn't have a lot of years left playing and he really just wants to concentrate on playing the game not being a celebrity. I liked how Burton showed Mick distancing himself from the media spotlight. It was very real to see this guy coming up for air and realizing that his focus on life had shifted. Mick was mature in knowing what he wanted and going after it. He did have one flaw - he was too perfect. I kept wondering what he was hiding in his closet because this guy didn't seem to have any skeletons rattling around in there. But then he goes for the big reveal and that's when I finally understood him.

I did think that Tara and Mick fell too quickly. With Mick going full speed ahead, bringing Tara and Nathan home to meet his parents and siblings. That happened really fast and I think some of it had to do with Mick's celebrity and Tara wanting Nathan to experience what Mick could offer them. Mick kept saying how Tara was so different from the women he was usually seen with. That, plus the fact that Tara was realistic about their chance for a seriously relationship. She didn't see it happening which I think made Mick want her that much more because he's very goal oriented.

I did love the closeness of the Riley family. It's not only the bond that Mick and Gavin have as brothers but that complete bond that the entire family has. The brothers,along with their younger sister Jenna and their parents all have a deep respect and love for each other. The Rileys are no-nonsense parents, making sure their famous sons stay grounded, not giving them any special treatment when they come home. Which I think Mick really needed. He seemed to be weary of the constant spotlight and enjoyed being able to simply be himself. One of the reasons he was attracted to Tara.

This book was seriously hot - from gorgeous cover model to the fogging up the windows, twisting up the sheets and coming back for more, sex scenes. Is the Berkley Heat line their erotic line of romances? Because the sex scenes were scorching. A pitcher of ice tea wouldn't cut it - you'd need a box of Popsicles to cool you off after these scenes. Mick and Tara may have some communication issues but they don't have any problem communicating what they want when the clothes come off. Although I was surprised at how often Tara used the f-word during sex. She doesn't come across as very experienced, having her son so young and no time for a romantic life but she acted very experienced in bed. Bossy too, which Mick seemed to like. :)

I'm glad I actually managed to open and read The Perfect Play. It was difficult at first to keep it open, I just kept going back to that cover. But once I started reading, I was able to forget about the cover for a while and get into the story. The very hot, very sexy, very enjoyable story. The next book is Mick's brother Gavin Riley, baseball star and is set for release August 2. I'm not a baseball fan but I'm a fan of Gavin's so I will definitely be reading his story. You can go here to learn more about Changing the Game and stare at another incredible cover. The cover gods must really love Ms. Burton!

Rating: B+

Books in this series ~

The Perfect Play
Changing the Game (August 2, 2011)


  1. Great review, Leslie! It's review like this that I was waiting before picking up this book. I know that Ames recently read the book as well and really enjoyed it :) Guess I'll be reading this in my near future ;)

  2. Nath ~ Thanks! Ames has good taste. :)

  3. Great review, Leslie! I've seen mostly favorable reviews and a couple not-so-favorable. But this remains firmly planted in my TBR.

  4. Thanks Lori! Have you read anything by Burton before? I think if you like any of her previous books, you'll like this.