The Game of Love by Jeanette Murray
Published: August 29, 2011 by Carina Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Chris St. James is ready for normal. After walking away from her pro tennis career and a toxic relationship with a star hockey player, she’s starting a new life as a teacher and tennis coach in a small town. Now all she needs is an average guy to share it with.
Brett Wallace is no average guy. Forced to retire from the NFL after an injury and suddenly single after being dumped by his status-conscious wife, he’s returned to his hometown to coach the varsity football team. Wary of women interested only in his celebrity, Brett finds Chris’s indifference to his former career refreshing.
The last thing Chris needs is to get involved with another pro athlete, but she can’t deny the sparks that fly between them. So she agrees to a purely physical, no-strings-attached affair. But the rules of the game change when she falls for him…
Chris starts out with a hair trigger and very little patience and I wasn’t sure how this would work for me in the long run. Immediately on the wrong foot with Brett after an inappropriate remark by his assistant coach, Chris assumes Brett is exactly the same. It takes time, but Chris begins to let go of her biases toward pro athletes and see Brett for who he really is. After I began to understand Chris’s motivations, I came to really like her; she’s incredibly strong and refuses to give up on her team or herself. Chris’s life hasn’t been easy but she refuses to give up and is determined to live the life she wants, not what others want for her. Chris is the epitome of a firecracker personality and by the end of the book I loved every part of her.
Brett was surprisingly romantic and I adored the way he tried to take care of Chris. Initially, Brett is intrigued by Chris because she doesn’t care at all about his history as a pro-athlete; this is refreshing for Brett whose ex-wife divorced him when he left the NFL after an injury. But then Brett begins to see the woman beneath the cold exterior and he loves what he sees. Both Brett and Chris have trust issues which create some unnecessary obstacles to their relationship, but also provides moments of growth for both of them. Easily one of my favorite things about Brett was this relationship with his mother which was beautiful, funny, and just perfect.
I was sucked into this fun and entertaining plot from the beginning. All the characters were wonderfully developed and Brett and Chris were great as individuals and as a couple. On top of that, the side characters were so real I was wishing for an entire series just to get their stories. The more I read the more I fell for The Game of Love and it’s easily my favorite book by Jeanette Murray so far.
**Reader Safety: Heroine was emotionally abused in the past (referenced, off page)
5 stars – loved it!