Play My Rating:
Published by: Createspace on September 14, 2016
Genres: Cliffhanger Free, Coming of Age, Contemporary, HEA, New Adult, Romance
Disclosure: I was invited by the publisher to read this title in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. I received no monetary compensation, and all comments are subjective and mine alone.
Content Warning: sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence make this title appropriate for readers 18 and over.
I'm Payton Blake. Just another twenty-something girl, living the dream.
That’s what I tell myself every morning. That I’m successful, self-aware, and well-balanced.
It's just a tiny fib. I would be all of those things, if I had friends who didn’t work with me at the bank. And if I made it to pilates more than once a quarter. And if watermelon slushies weren't the main source of nutrients in my diet. It wouldn’t hurt if I’d had sex in the last year, either. (My best friend insists Jorge the Nightstand Boyfriend doesn’t count.)
But when you know where you're going, you don’t need to enjoy the ride. Right?
Even if some teeny part of me did want to fool around, Max Donovan would be the last guy I’d call. Sure, he made the indie video game that broke the internet. And yeah, his eyebrow piercing’s sexy, in a ‘what-are-you-in-a-band?’ kind of way. And fighting with him gets me going faster than Jorge on bezerker mode…He’s still colder than a cactus and twice as prickly. And I’m not talking about his face, because the guy’s barely old enough to shave.
It’d really be best if we just ignored each other. Which is a problem, because Max Donovan is my new biggest client.
So what happens when the girl who lives to work meets the guy who was born to play?
Play by Piper Lawson was sweet, sexy, and a little bit geeky. I’ve read a few books lately with game developers as the main character. I like that type of story line. I find it interesting. Maybe because it’s so foreign to me.
Max is obsessed with his business and the games he develops, almost to a fault. His head is stuck so far into code, he sometimes misses what is happening in life around him. Until Payton. She unhinges him—in the best possible way.
“…You’re my escape, Payton. You’re the good place I get to go when I need to forget about work, and all the shit that goes along with it. And, maybe I wanted to keep you out of the darker bits of my world.”
His words touched me. “Max?”
“I kind of want to be in all the bits of your world.”
Fresh out of college, Payton is fighting her way to the top in her career. She’s independent, driven, and not at all impressed with Max at first. In fact, their first meeting goes up in flames…
“… Listen, Patty—“
“Payton.” My fingernails dug into my palm under the table.
“—I called Alliance because I need a loan. Not some college co-ed on a break between classes.”
If I’d ever wondered how many assholes it took to crack me? Now I knew for sure.”
And so begins the love/hate relationship. Which always seems to pair nicely with: sexual tension, and it was dripping from every page of the book and it was so good.
I liked that Lawson didn’t muddle the plot with a lot of angst or “past” problems, mistakes, crazy families or boy/girlfriend stalkers. She just gave us two people from different worlds: Max who lives, eats, and breathes tech and Payton who has the corner office locked on target. The author put them in each other’s lives, gave them chances to get to know each other and their worlds, put a few bumps in the road (No, I’m not telling. Read the book.) and ultimately gave us a great romance with a HEA and a flutter in our belly.
There are plenty of giggles throughout the book, especially in the jabs Payton and Max throw at each other. The comedy portion of the story helped balance the “hate” part of their love/hate relationship at the beginning of the book. It kept it light and almost fun and I’d quickly flip pages to see what they’d say next.
“You’re the dick whisperer.”
“I think I prefer ‘Service-Oriented Professional.’”
Payton and her friend Charlie (love her!) talking.
But with everything going on in the story—and there is a lot. This story has meat. It isn’t all fluff and star shine—at its core, Play is a romance. And a swoony one. Max, despite his surly personality, is totally book boyfriend material.
“…His lips hovering over mine for a trembling moment before they found their mark.
His kiss was new. The drugging intensity I craved came wrapped in a gentleness I’d never experienced. His hands stroked down my sides with unusual thoroughness, like it was his mission to touch me everywhere.”
Bottom line: Play was the first book I’ve read by Piper Lawson, but I’m sure it won’t be the last. I enjoyed it a lot. From the strong heroine to the sexy-geek boyfriend, and their love/hate relationship that developed slowly into a love/love… it was done just right. The secondary characters were fun and had a purpose in the story other than “filling” the page.
Play has something for everyone. A young business woman trying to break through the glass ceiling, a technology/gaming genius trying to stop an unknown threat from leaking trade secrets, and a sweet, stomach fluttering, leg crossing, romance.
My advice? I highly recommend you get your copy.
Check out some of Piper Lawson’s other books…