Title: Play for Keeps
Author: Maggie Wells
Series: Love Games, #2
Pub Date: April 3, 2018
Mixing business and pleasure is a dangerous game…
Tyrell Ransom, the new men’s basketball coach, is ready to whip his team into shape and start winning some games. But when compromising photos of his soon-to-be-ex-wife with one of his players go viral, everything comes crashing down. With reporters thick on the ground, Ty and his team need some serious damage control—now.
When public relations guru Millie Jenkins arrives in her leopard-print cape to save the day, things really heat up… Soon they’re going to have to work double time to keep their white-hot chemistry out of the headlines.
“I didn’t plan this, and I certainly didn’t want it to happen like this. I mean, you’re right about the timing…but as Millie pointed out, this might be the only chance I get to have a kid. She can’t have any, and I…” He trailed off, using only a helpless shrug as punctuation.
Danny nodded. “You don’t want to be with anyone else.”
“Does she know? About the test, I mean.”
Ty shook his head, incapable of voicing any more denial.
“When are you going to tell her?”
Again, Ty had no words.
“You can’t wait, man. The longer you wait, the worse it’ll be. She’s been on pins and needles too,” Danny reminded him.
“I know.” Ty wrung his hands, then chanced a look at the man beside him. “But how? How do I do this? How can I have a relationship with Millie and be a good father to my kid? Will she still even want a relationship with me? She didn’t sign on for dealing with a kid…and Mari. Hell, she’s hardly signed on for anything.”
“It’s a lot to think about, but you’ll figure it out,” Danny assured him.
“Do you really think so?” he asked bluntly.
Danny clapped him hard on the shoulder, then rose, grunting a bit as his knee popped audibly. “I think you’re a good guy who tries to live a good life.” He surveyed the band members scurrying around in what looked to be complete disarray. “You know, it’s always like this.” He waved a hand in the direction of the field. “On Wednesday, they look like a pack of blind ants scrambling around for the last crumb. By Saturday evening, that mess will be a tribute to David Bowie complete with rocket ship and guitar formations.”
Ty raised his eyebrows, surprised the football coach paid any attention at all to the band director’s plans. “Will it?”
Danny nodded. “I started having a couple of film and television students video band practice and the halftime shows. I make the team watch them every Monday before we review game film.”
Stepping down a row, Danny chuckled. “They hate being compared to the band kids, but I think they’re starting to see the point.”
Ty blinked up at him. “Which is?”
Danny gestured to the field, where chaos seemed to reign. “If they can play ‘Heroes,’ then the sad, sorry bunch of misfit jocks I inherited can try to be heroes.”
“Just for one day?” Ty challenged.
Danny laughed and shook his head as he proceeded to step from bleacher to bleacher. “Hell no. I need five more Saturdays out of them.”
“Don’t forget the bowl game,” Ty called out to him.
Raising both hands over his head, Danny held up six fingers. At the bottom, he squinted up at Ty, shielding his eyes from the lowering sun with one hand. “Hey, Ty?”
And the fist in his chest was back. Resisting the urge to cover the sore spot with his hand, he waved and called down a gruff, “Thanks.”
There was a lot to like in Play for Keeps, my first–but definitely not my last!–book from Ms. Wells.
I loved the fact that Millie, the heroine, is over 40 and in shape but not tiny and waif-like. I liked her take-charge attitude, and adored her relationship with her two BFFs, Kate and Avery. I loved, loved, loved Ty as a hero, and applaud his determination not to start anything with Millie until things were legally and finally ended with his ex. Together the two of them have great chemistry, and there were a whole lot of quotes–between Ty and Millie as well as secondary characters–that I highlighted just because. Book one in the series (Love Game) went on my TBR before I was halfway done with this one, and I’ll be stalking the series page regularly to find out when (surely it’s not if…?) Avery’s getting a book.
Millie’s attitude about relationships Drove. Me. Crazy. We do get an explanation for it–eventually–and it did become somewhat more understandable from that point on, but still. I wasn’t 100% sure I wanted Ty to keep holding on at that point, especially with what happened next with his situation. The book ended well and I was happy for how it ended (though can you say abrupt? There had better be a whole lot of Ty and Millie showing up in the next series book, or I’m going to feel cheated) but I’m still not entirely convinced that events up to that point had really given Millie enough to work through her issues and hangups to really allow her to achieve an HEA with Ty.
Still, there was more to like than not with this one…let the stalking of the series page begin!
Rating: 4 stars / B
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
By day, Maggie Wells is buried in spreadsheets. At night she pens tales of people tangling up the sheets. The product of a charming rogue and a shameless flirt, you only have to scratch the surface of this mild-mannered married lady to find a naughty streak a mile wide. She has a passion for college football, processed cheese foods, and happy endings. Not necessarily in that order. She lives in Arkansas.
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