The Final Score (Play by Play, #13) by Jaci Burton
Series: Play by Play #13
Also in this series: Holiday on Ice, Rules of Contact
Published by Berkley
Publication Date: September 12, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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In the new Play-by-Play novel by the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Contact, a star quarterback is torn between his love of the game—and the woman who may be the love of his life.
Nathan Riley is ready to follow in the footsteps of his famous football player father. He’s been drafted as quarterback for his dad’s former team, and his sports future is bright. When his friend Mia Cassidy moves to the same city, their years-long friendship suddenly sparks hot, reminding him of the one night they had together in college that he can never forget.
Like Nathan, Mia is from a sports dynasty family and embarking on an incredible new career—as founder of her own sports management company. Her friendship with Nathan means everything to her, and tossing sex into the mix again could jeopardize it all. But the chemistry between them has always sizzled, and it isn’t long before Mia realizes she wants more with Nathan than just late-night talks and pizza.
Passion has a funny way of changing the rules, and soon Nathan and Mia realize that to win it all, they’ll have to make an unexpected play for love.
The Final Score is the thirteenth book in the Play by Play series and it was another cute contemporary romance that made for a pleasant way to spend a few hours.
Nathan Riley and Mia Cassidy have been best friends since college. They’re good as friends. They’re supportive of each other, they care about each other and Nathan has wanted more for a long time. Mia has dug in her heels and has refused to risk their friendship on a relationship that she wasn’t sure would work out. His friendship meant too much to her and she didn’t want to rock the boat…even though they rocked the boat once in college. So they continue on as friends only and Nathan has put his feelings for his bestie on hold.
Fast forward a few years and they’ve graduated from college and are both working hard in their respective careers. Nathan is the new starting QB for his father’s team and he’s feeling the pressure to lead a team that has always been his father’s team. Mia, on the other hand, has opened up her own sports management business and she’s feeling her own pressure to make the business a success. She’s got employees who are relying on her to keep them employed and she’s doing everything she can to not let anyone down. They’re both busy, much too busy for a relationship but when Nathan brings up that they could be friends with benefits, Mia at first says no but Nathan keeps after it and before long, Mia has caved and the benefits begin.
I liked both Nathan and Mia as characters but my favorite part of this romance was how normal it was. Sure, both Nathan and Mia have high profile jobs but at their cores, they were normal everyday people who loved and wanted to be loved in return. I loved that Mia was a planner babe (I’m one too!) and I adored that Nathan was very upfront about what he wanted from Mia. He didn’t fight his feelings, he just waited for Mia to be ready for him. I totally respected that.
I didn’t understand a lot of Mia’s hangups about a relationship with Nathan. I wish she had more faith in him as a partner but those were just little gripes in an otherwise, perfectly put together contemporary romance. I enjoyed seeing all of Mia’s family and Nathan’s too. I’ve been itching for a baseball romance so I’m going to look into reading Mia’s brothers books since I haven’t gotten around to them yet.
Overall, this story was refreshingly simple. It wasn’t bogged down with angst and feelings and the characters didn’t have any of that annoying push and pull crap. It was a straight up romance about two friends who fall in to love with each other and find a way to make it work. It was perfect for what I was in the mood for so I enjoyed it.
Grade: 3.75 out of 5