The Negotiator (Games People Play #2.5) by HelenKay Dimon
Series: Games People Play #2.5
Also in this series: The Fixer, The Enforcer (Games People Play #2), The Pretender (Games People Play #3)
Published by Harper Collins, Avon Impulse
Publication Date: November 14th 2017
Genres: Romantic Suspense
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Lauren Gallagher’s life changed almost three years ago. After her husband disappeared at sea, she was left with a failing pleasure boat company and more than a few secrets. Now, after years spent rebuilding the business and paying off the pile of debts, she finally feels in control. But when she finds her husband, actually dead, on the floor, she becomes the leading suspect in his murder investigation.
Garrett McGrath wants Lauren in his bed, not his heart. He doesn’t do emotions, but every time he sees her, holding himself back gets harder and harder. When Lauren comes under suspicion for killing her previously presumed-dead husband, he knows he has to help her, any way he can.
But as the danger becomes more intense and Garret and Lauren grow closer than either planned, they’re in danger of losing everything…including their hearts.
Did you read any of the other books in the Games People Play series? If so, you encountered Garrett McGrath. He works for the hero from book 1, Wren. Garrett is…Wren’s assistant? Right hand man? I’ve never been entirely clear on his exact role, but he’s kind of the go-to guy who helps Wren with all manner of tasks. He’s also very funny, snarky, and kind, which is what made me fall in love with him in book 1. Unfortunately, his book 2.5 story wasn’t as good as he deserved.
When the story opens, Garrett has apparently been getting friendly (actually friends, no friends-with-benefits!) with Lauren, the best friend of the heroine from book 1. He really likes Lauren and wants something more than friendship, but that’s all she’s comfortable with so he takes it. When it turns out her supposedly dead husband shows up very much alive, but then is murdered in her house, Lauren turns to Garrett for help. He works for The Fixer, remember, so fixing is literally his business. He has to help Lauren figure out why her husband disappeared in the first place, why he returned, and who murdered him for real. And of course, he’s hoping along the way Lauren is willing to take a chance on a relationship with him.
I got frustrated with Lauren’s standoffishness at times, but I didn’t think it was unreasonable given what happened with her awful ex. It made sense that she would be cautious and not trust easily. I enjoyed that she wasn’t perfect but that her choices were a product of the messed up lessons she’d learned from her past. The problem was, I never felt like I understood why Garrett loved her. This story was just too short. We are told that Garrett and Lauren have been hanging out, but we missed all that. Instead, we see them at this crisis point and have to trust that they did indeed have a friendship going beforehand. I wanted to see a bit more of their relationship growing. It was difficult to step into a story that felt like it was ⅓ of the way through already.
I really wish Garrett had gotten a full-length story. He’s hilarious and sweet, and I wanted to see more. Still, the dialog and humor in this series are wonderful, and it’s sexy. I enjoyed getting to know Garrett and Lauren, and I was happy to read it.
Games People Play Series
Grade: 3 out of 5