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Pre-Release Review! PLAYING FOR KEEPS by Jill Shalvis (Heartbreaker Bay #7)

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Playing for Keeps
Heartbreaker Bay – Book 7
By: Jill Shalvis
Avon Books – Jan 22nd, 2019


 If you’re planning on falling in love…

When it comes to the confident, charismatic Caleb Parker, Sadie Lane feels the spark—the kind that comes from rubbing each other the wrong way. She’s yoga pants, he’s a suit. She’s a tattoo artist, he’s a straight-laced mogul. But after they accidentally co-rescue an abandoned dog from a storm, Sadie sees a vulnerable side to the seemingly invincible hottie.

You’d better be sure…

Caleb doesn’t do emotions. Growing up the underdog, he’s learned the hard way to build up an impenetrable wall. Perfect for business. Disastrous for relationships. He’s never worried about it before—not until he finally gets behind Sadie’s armor and begins to fall.

Someone is there to catch you.

Both guarded and vulnerable, Sadie and Caleb are complete opposites. Or are they? Shocked at their undeniable connection, can they ever admit to wanting more? That all depends on what they’re each willing to risk.

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*Read the First Chapter,

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"I believe you're deciding between kicking me in the nuts and kissing me...but that last part might just be in my dreams."


So happy to be back at Heartbreaker Bay, with its love-wish-granting fountain, Tina’s heavenly muffins, and Jill Shalvis’s LOL-inducing banter 🙂

As a bonus, this time we get a three-legged dog, too–Lollipop, who pretty much steals each and every scene that she’s in, and picturing Caleb carrying or holding her while using any of her shiny patent leather Hello Kitty accoutrements is pretty fatal to the reader’s womanly parts, so… (a breif pause, remembering…)


Like most romance heroes and heroines, Caleb and Sadie have all kinds of baggage in their backstories that are keeping them from wanting to/being able to have romantic entanglements, and as often happens, their families play into their problems, both past and present. Ms. Shalvis does her best to give them doozies! Caleb grew up as an asthmatic geeky boy in a family of women, and now tries to take care of his mother and sisters (who apparently mis-read the memo and still think they know better than he does what’s good for him–though to be fair, he does seem to have a problem feeding himself, so…) Taking care of people has become a major thing for him, a trait which we (and Sadie) soon find out extends beyond his family, Lollipop, and Sadie. Honestly, the guy’s almost too perfect–sweet, thoughtful, brilliant, rich, gorgeous, and ripped–I guess his flaw is…he can’t cook? And he made two questionable tattoo choices?

Sadie’s always felt like the odd one out in her family, which lead to her cutting herself when her life careened out of control. When her family figured out what she was doing, that led to even worse things happening, and now her mother *still* hides sharp objects when she comes over, which obviously is overkill and a half. Just when I got aggravated with Sadie for her (frequently) fairly irrational behavior, a scene would pop up with her mother in it and make it all seem more plausible. It did feel like Sadie had to be talked down from her crazy perch a bit more than should have been necessary (a little more character growth, maybe?) but still, talked down she was, and I’m going to believe that she’ll completely get over her over-reactive tendencies in her post-book life. (Because in a continuing series, characters do this, yes? Have post-book lives? Just smile and nod, people. Give me this one. ;))

Neither Caleb nor Sadie were super-connected to the original core series characters, so if you’re new to the series this would be an okay place to start without feeling like you’ve missed something major. The roles that characters from past books play here is pretty small, but those tiny glimpses into post-book life are just what series fans live for, and the ones Ms. Shalvis gives us here will not disappoint. 

So ready for book #8! 🙂

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

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Author Info:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Shalvis writes warm, funny, sexy contemporary romances and women’s fiction. An Amazon, BN & iBooks bestseller, she’s also a two-time RITA winner and has more than 10 million copies of her books sold worldwide.


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