Monday, April 04, 2016

Spotlight Review: PLAYING HARD by Melanie Scott

PLAYING HARD – Melanie Scott
New York Saints
, Book 4St. Martins
ISBN: 978-1-250-07720-2
February 2016
Contemporary Romance

New York City – Present Day

Normally a hapless (and losing) pro baseball team, the New York Saints are finally in the post season playoffs, and the team is partying to celebrate.  Star first baseman Oliver Shields has had a difficult year with a younger player, Finn Castro, nipping at his heels (and job) but life is good. When Oliver spots a beautiful woman in the crowd, he is intrigued and introduces himself. After she rebuffs him, it only makes him want her even more. He later learns that she is Amelia Graham---and a good friend of Finn’s, so getting involved with her isn’t a smart idea. The baseball rivalry between the men hasn’t died with the team’s success, and when Oliver is asked to escort a drunken Finn home, fate has another car ramming into them, leaving Oliver with severed tendons on his hand and an end to his baseball season, if not his career .

Amelia feels bad that not only was Finn indirectly responsible for Oliver’s injury but that her friend is not in the least bit remorseful. As a peace offering, she shows up at the hospital and, after sparring with Oliver, an instant attraction sizzles. She knows that with the Saints playing in the playoffs it will be tough times for him, so she’s ready to help soften the pain. She plies him with food and talk, and they soon are more than friends. Amelia is good friends with Finn’s family, and with the two men still bitter rivals, she feels as if she’s going to have to choose sides. Will she make the right choice?

Amelia has pretty much mapped out her life after watching her mother give up everything for love, only to find herself with nothing. Amelia will continue up the career track as an economist at her job, with an overseas assignment her ultimate goal. Getting involved with a womanizing baseball player isn’t on her to-do list. However, Oliver is charming and makes her laugh, something she hasn’t done much in the past few years. She feeds him and keeps him entertained, and it’s only a matter of time before hot kisses…and more…leave her wanting more than a fling. But will falling for Oliver force her to give up her dream of independence?

Oliver is pissed at the injury and at first blames Finn because if the guy hadn’t been making a stinking fool of himself at the party then Oliver wouldn’t have been roped into driving him home and into the path of another car. However, the deed is done, and while he still doesn’t like Finn, he does like Amelia…a lot. Oliver would be the first to admit he doesn’t “do” relationships, but Amelia has him rethinking this. She’s smart, quirky and fun to be around. With the team focused on the playoffs, Amelia and Oliver have reasons to be around each other at the games…discreetly. But once the playoffs end, will they continue to see one another?

PLAYING HARD is the latest tale in the New
York Saints
series by Melanie Scott, which focuses on a hard knocks professional baseball team taken over by new owners. Oliver has been present from the first book as the ex-boyfriend of Maggie Jameson, the daughter of the former owner. Oliver is a known playboy who has had many girlfriends, but with the arrival of Amelia he’s hooked into becoming a one woman man. But will her friendship with Finn come between them? Whether that happens or not, both are having too much of a good time—both in and out of bed—to worry about that right now.
A sizzling hot tale about a baseball player who faces the possible end of his career and the sexy woman that helps him forget his woes. Oliver and Amelia do a lot of dancing around each other, but in the end they know how to dance the perfect tango. Grab PLAYING HARD along with a nice cold drink and be prepared to immerse yourself in a very enjoyable reading binge.

Patti Fischer

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