Review: The Perfect Play by Jaci Burton

Posted February 3, 2011 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Holly‘s review of The Perfect Play (A Play-by-Play novel) by Jaci Burton


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.

First things first: that cover. I want to lick it. I’m actually a little disturbed by just how much. Yum.

I really struggled with the first few chapters of this book. I had to work hard to suspend disbelief when it came to the actions and opinions of both main characters. I’m glad I persevered because the novel turned out very well, but the overall conflict still bothered me somewhat.

Mick Riley is tired of playing the game..not the game on the field, but the game off the field. He’s ready to settled down into a quieter lifestyle and he thinks he may have found just the person to do that with in event planner Tara Lincoln. This is the beginning of my issue with this novel. Mick meets Tara at an event and decides she’s not like the other women in his life because she didn’t throw herself at him. That’s it. He bases his opinion of her on nothing more than the fact that she didn’t cling to him or try to pick him up while she was working.

He’s a jaded, cynical guy who’s been around the block a time or five, but that’s enough to convince him to chase after Tara for the next 3/4 or so of the book? And she really led him on a merry chase. She didn’t want to start a relationship, so she constantly pushed Mick away. Although her reasons may not have been the most solid, it surprised me more that Mick put up with it so long. He continued to chase her long after any other reasonable person would have given up. Especially a superstar football player.

Don’t let that put you off, however. After the first few chapters, the issue of Mick’s immediate acceptance of Tara is forgotten as an emotionally charged story emerges. Because of Tara’s trust issues and concern for her teenage son, their relationship doesn’t progress as Mick would like it to. She keeps part of herself in reserve, not fully trusting that Mick is as fully invested as he claims to be. Mick tries to convince her, but even he isn’t sure of his feelings. Everything happens too fast, and becomes too deep for either of them to deal with.

Both Mick and Tara had baggage – it wasn’t just one or the other. Each had issues they had to deal with and hurdles from their pasts they had to overcome before they could settle into each other. The chemistry between the two was off the charts, but there was a lot of emotional depth there, too.

The love scenes are on the spicy side but they worked well within the context of the story (there weren’t sex scenes just for the sake of having sex scenes. Although this is a spicier novel, there’s a lot of depth and emotional involvement. Overall a well rounded novel about love and acceptance.

 4 out of 5

The series:

The Perfect Play (A Play-by-Play Novel)Changing the GameChanging the Game (A Play-by-Play Novel)

This book is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format.


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4 responses to “Review: The Perfect Play by Jaci Burton

  1. Loved the review and I can see where it could be hard to believe Mick’s reason for wanting Tara. I guess the attraction was in wanting what he couldn’t have.

    So looking forward to this one!

    Wouldn’t you love to be at the cover shoots for this series? 🙂

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