Returning home for his estranged brother’s wedding is the last thing Ben wants but his mother hasn’t given him a choice. Ben might be a famous hockey player with all the required confidence but showing up single isn’t going to work. He might be awkward about hiring an escort but it seems like the best solution. He can be respectful and professional and he’ll ultimately get what he wants. Storming out of her crappy job was not Ryan’s best idea; she really needs the money for herself and to pay the friend who is giving her a place to live. Pretending to be an escort and agreeing to date Ben might also not be the best idea but Ryan never gives up once she sets her mind to something.
Another enjoyable Elizabeth Hayley book with fun characters, silly situations, and a pretty good romance. I really wanted more tension between the characters. The reason I love the fake relationship trope is the tension between being a loving couple in public and resisting each other in private. Ben and Ryan sleep together so early in the book that the relationship based tension is gone. They’re pretty much a real couple the whole book.
Ben was a great hero whose genuine, sweet, and respectful to Ryan. I loved his awkwardness when he was hiring Ryan and his attempts to act the way he thought he should around an escort. I also enjoyed his quieter, more humble nature. The family dynamics between Ben and his brother were written really well. Ben might have needed a buffer between him and his family but I liked that they weren’t all portrayed as bad people; Ben’s mother was particularly sweet. I’m also happy that Ben was able to clear some of his festering feelings about his brother, even if it did hurt Ryan in the process. The man clearly needed to get some things off his chest.
Ryan’s determination and will to survive was certainly admirable. I don’t know that I could pretend to be an escort in order to make money but I respect the hard decisions she’s had to make in order to get by in a life that has continually kicked her down. However, I felt it was painfully obvious that Ryan wasn’t an escort. She was really bad at pretending and she even tells Ben that she can’t act, which I think is the first requirement for an escort. She’s endearing but not the best at pretending. The scene where Ryan goes off on Ben about his living habits just really didn’t work for me. Some of the things she pointed out contradicted the down to earth, sweet personality that Ben had and it just made Ryan seem slightly crazy. The bickering was supposed to act as tension that propels them into bed, but it just didn’t come across that way to me.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book provided by Netgalley. All thoughts expressed in this review are my honest opinion.
••• Book Details •••
The Players #2 • Romance, Contemporary • SMP Swerve • October 31, 2017
Professional hockey player Ben Williamson doesn’t quite know how he got himself into this situation; hiring someone to be his date to his brother’s wedding is way out of character for him. But with family pressuring him to settle down, going stag just isn’t an option. It would just be one more thing his polite, cultured family uses as ammo against him.
Ryan Cruz is having a bad day. Wait, make that a bad year. Broke, technically homeless, and living on a friend’s couch, she’s now also unemployed after her sharp tongue gets her fired from her job. So when a handsome stranger approaches her out of the blue with a proposition–he’ll pay her to be his date to his brother’s wedding for the weekend–accepting his offer is a no brainer. She needs the cash and figures it wouldn’t be in the best interest of a professional athlete to murder her.
What starts as a simple business arrangement soon becomes more as these opposites attract and get caught up in the wedding magic. Will Ben and Ryan be able to turn their relationship into something more? Or is love based on a proposition too much of an obstacle to overcome?