Changing the Game (Play by Play, #2) by Jaci Burton
Series: Play by Play #2
Also in this series: Holiday on Ice, Rules of Contact, The Final Score (Play by Play, #13), Shot on Gold (Play by Play, #14)
Published by Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: August 2nd 2011
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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Most people play by the rules. Gavin and Liz aren't most people....
Win at any cost. That's always been the mantra of sports agent Liz Darnell. When she carries things too far and risks losing her number-one client, baseball pro Gavin Riley, Liz realizes that she'll have to work extra innings to win him back. It might not be too much of a stretch. She's had a thing for this player's moves since she first laid eyes on him, and by the looks of it, he wants her just as bad.
Gavin's more than ready—especially when Liz is offering herself as part of the bargain. And as much of her as Gavin wants. For added thrills, he decides to throw a little curve ball Liz's way to see just how far she's truly willing to go to keep him as a client. But when love unexpectedly enters the playing field, neither Liz nor Gavin are ready for the biggest game-changer of them all.
Changing the Game is the second book in Jaci Burton’s Play by Play series and it features Gavin Riley, the hero of the first books brother. Gavin’s heroine is the villain from the first book and I didn’t know how I’d come around where Liz was concerned, knowing what she did to Mick, Tara and Nathan in The Perfect Play but Burton did a great job of redeeming her character in my eyes.
What surprised me was how much I wanted to knee Mick in the balls in this book. We really see him in the eyes of his brother and he was annoying as hell but alls well that ends well because in the end, he turns back into the man everyone loves.
Gavin Riley plays professional baseball in St. Louis and loves his life. He loves the freedom he has to be with whoever he wants, he spends his days training for or playing his favorite sport in the world and his life comes with a lot of perks. He knows that he shouldn’t be attracted to his agent, after the hell she put his brother and family through but he can’t help it. She creeps into his thoughts and he wants her. When she starts avoiding him, Gavin finds the right opportunity to clear the air between them…and maybe dirty up his sheets.
Liz Darnell has been in love with Gavin for years but he’ll never know that. She’s worked really hard at keeping her feelings for her client at bay and now that she royally screwed up with his brother (and her #1 client), she is waiting for Gavin to drop her as an agent just like Mick did. When Gavin corners her for a meeting and then that meeting turns into spending time together knocking boots, Liz is equal parts thrilled and scared to death because what is she going to do when he’s had his fill of her and moves on?
Watching the sparks fly between Gavin and Liz was fun. This wasn’t one of those books where there is major angst and so many things are happening at the same time that the main couple is falling in love. No, this book was simple romance where the story hinged on the reader connecting with the characters and for me, it totally worked. I wanted to read a baseball romance after being completely obsessed with the World Series and a pretty remarkable season from my Dodgers and this book really fit the bill.
Gavin was such a normal younger brother. Not wanting to live in his brother’s spotlight but wanting to shine on his own. I really enjoyed getting to know him and seeing him connect with Liz. I also really enjoyed seeing his own connection with his family. The Rileys were family goals and I loved seeing them again. Don’t get me wrong, there were times when I was right there with his parents and wanted to strangle him for being such a dumbass but he gets it right in the end and Liz’s love for him was strong and I was happy that he was able to make things right with her before it was too late.
Liz was such a strong heroine and getting to know her was great. She was remorseful for her actions in the trouble with Mick and his family and I loved that she learned her lesson and wanted to make things right for everyone involved. She was a damn grown up and handled everything that came her way the same way that I hope I would and I just admired the hell out of her when all was said and done. She was a good person, inside and out and she worked hard and loved deep and I was so happy when she finally got her happy ending because I truly thought she deserved it.
Overall, Burton did a great job of writing Gavin and Liz’s story and I’m low key mad at myself for waiting so long to read this book. It’s a good one and I definitely recommend it if you’re in the mood for a contemporary with a strong romance and a great secondary cast. This will hit you in the feels, I promise.
Grade: 4 out of 5