Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Game Play by Lynda Aicher Blog Tour

One night, one time, nothing more. That's all it was supposed to be. They'd agreed their first night together would be their only night together—and Minnesota Glaciers defenseman Dylan Rylie was fine with that. Giant hickeys and claw marks on his ass had never been his style, even if the very memory of Samantha Yates's merciless sexual energy gets him hard within seconds. He needs to focus on getting a better contract, not mind-blowing orgasms.

One night, one time, nothing more. Fresh off representing the US at the Games and with nowhere else to play, Samantha gave in to one night of frantic passion with the Glaciers' brawny hotshot. She couldn't get hurt—not if she controlled the outcome. And she planned to leave Minnesota soon, anyway. She didn't expect to be recruited to coach Dylan after they'd gotten down and dirty.

When brutal on-ice workouts lead to kinky locker room sessions and "one night" falls by the wayside, Samantha insists on keeping things casual, despite Dylan's quiet hope for more. But when Dylan goes down—hard—and his career is in jeopardy, Samantha is the first one by his side. What will it take to keep her there after he's healed?

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Book 1
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Timing was everything, and she waited for her moment to kick up some fun on an otherwise blasé event. The charity that donated hockey equipment to kids from military families was a great cause that would benefit from a little show. At least, that was what she told herself.

“Don’t be stupid,” Meg warned in her ear.

“Why not?” Sam asked. “What do I have to lose?” Absolutely nothing. She’d never do anything to smear her name, but it wasn’t like she had a hockey career to worry about. Or a coach she was accountable to.

Or a reason to behave.

Rylie was spending as much time tipping his trademark worn brown cowboy hat at the passing women as he was paying attention to the kids looking for pointers. The ends of his brown hair curled over the back of the gray hoodie he’d worn under his jersey and seemed to match his hat color almost perfectly. Too perfectly.

Nicknamed Cowboy within the hockey world, he was dubbed Pretty Boy as well. The second label was coined his rookie season by a sports announcer and as far as Sam had heard and seen, the man cultivated both brands equally.

“Hi, Rylie,” a group of teenage girls dressed in skinny jeans and overdone makeup chorused as they skated past. Rylie shot them a nod and grin that somehow managed to be appropriate for the age of the girls.

Sam shook her head and chuckled at his easy charm. The guy had it all. Talent, looks, personality—he was a star in the making. One full of potential if he didn’t get distracted by the fame and parties he seemed to enjoy.

Walters smacked the puck toward Rylie, and Sam broke through the kids to swoop across the ice and steal the puck from the preoccupied man. A cheer went up from the kids when she circled the pro player, puck firmly in her control. The air chilled her cheeks and laughter rang in her ears as she sped away.

A quick glance over her shoulder showed Rylie chasing her, the determined pull of his brows blending with a full smile that somehow managed to put a matching one on her face. She caught sight of Meg and passed the puck off before she stopped then took off in the direction she’d just come from.

The circle of kids widened as Walters got into the play, tailing Meg. She swooped around a group of unsuspecting adults, using them as a pick to cut off Walters, and she smacked the puck back to Sam.

“Think you’re hot stuff, do you, Yates?” Rylie was at her side, jabbing his stick at the puck with no effect. She was under no illusion the man knew who she was. Her name was printed in big letters across the back of her jersey.

“Just having some fun.” She cut a sharp circle and faced off Rylie, who skidded to a quick stop.

He tapped his stick on the ice, an indulgent half smile on his lips. “Come on then.” He glanced over his shoulder. “You and me to the net.”

Her stomach did an unwanted flip when his eyes landed back on her. An interesting mix of brown and green, they seemed to dance with the same excitement that flooded her. The challenge was exactly what she’d wanted and his proposition was the best offer she’d had in months. On or off the ice.

“You are so on,” she said, grinning.

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Mary Jo☆☆☆
Game Play tells the story of two insecure people who are doing their best to live up to the facade they show the world. Samantha Yates, is a former collegiate hockey player who is finishing her final class for her degree. Sam feels lost as her identity as a hockey player is no longer true and as such, she's avoiding her former teammates and everyone else she knows who is connected to the sport.

Dylan Rylie is a professional hockey player with the Glaciers who's trying to take his game to the next level. He does his best to portray the party image his agent wants; it’s not really him, but he goes through the motions to satisfy those around him.

When he meets Samantha, Dylan is instantly intrigued, not only by her looks, but her mad hockey skills. Seeing a way for him to improve his own game, he convinces his coach that he needs Sam to work with him.

The book focuses quite a bit on how Sam feels as she has to make a life outside of hockey. During the course of her helping Dylan with his game, she realizes that her love of hockey didn't die when she could no longer complete, but she has no way to incorporate her love of the game with the goals she has set for herself.

Dylan's fascination with Sam grows daily, but it’s hard for him to read her. One minute he thinks he may have a chance and the next she's pushing him away. When he's injured, Dylan thinks Sam has finally admitted to herself that a relationship between them can work.

As a big sports romance fan, I was excited to read this first book in a new series. I was not disappointed. I particularly liked the way that Sam slowly realised that not all was lost, even though her playing career ended due to there being no proper professional ice hockey for women. A big issue that the author cleverly couches around a hot, passionate, chemistry laden (non) relationship. It was by turns funny, moving and heartwarming, and all the characters are deserving of the stories to come - there was lots of foreshadowing, which I also enjoyed. Looking forward to the next in the series!

I really enjoyed Game Play. It’s not often that I read sports romances in which the main female character is also an athlete and I can say I have never read one in which she was a hockey player. So for that fact alone Ms. Aicher gets beaucoup points – which she ultimately did not need as I found both Samantha and Dylan to be fascinating characters and their story kept me entertained from beginning to end.

Although I’ve never been accused of being athletic, I could appreciate Samantha’s frustration with her situation and the resentment it caused. Born, bred, and fed a life of hockey, it’s in her blood and the fact that she can no longer play in an official capacity has left her feeling bitter about her forced departure from the world of competitive hockey. Refusing to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a hockey coach, Samantha has reluctantly mapped out a new life plan that does not involve hockey. Reconciled to her new path, she has begun to cut hockey out of her life as much as possible. But because of her position with the U.S. Women’s Hockey Team, a chance encounter with Dylan Rylie thrusts her back into the world she is trying so hard to avoid. The connection between Rylie and Samantha is electric, enough so that her rather cold shutdown after they have sex the first time was as shocking as it was hot. Fortunately the author gives us enough insight into Samantha to make her shutdowns and avoidance over the course of the book understandable. It turns out though, that Samantha has met her match when it comes to stubbornness and Rylie is intent on getting to know her, and not just because she was the best sex he’d ever had.

While Game Play is a romance, quite a bit of the story centers on and is effected by Samantha’s journey to find her new place in the world. While their intense passion guarantees some freaking hot sex scenes, it also insures that when push comes to shove, the ones you love are the ones who can inflict the most damage. As much as I like Samantha and understood her position, I was amazed by Rylie’s persistent pursuit. The man was borderline masochistic with the way he kept putting his heart out there for her to push it away. But a man doesn’t become a professional hockey player by giving up easily and he proved to be just what she needed, even if their timing was terrible. I will admit that I definitely shed a few tears while reading Game Play and they were well worth it. I absolutely loved the ending the author crafted for the couple. Ms. Aicher is off to a great start with the Power Play series and I look forward to reading the next book.

Lynda Aicher has always loved to read. After years of weekly travel implementing computer software into global companies, she ended her nomadic lifestyle to raise her two children. Now her imagination is her only limitation on where she can go and her writing lets her escape from the daily duties as a mom, wife, chauffeur, scheduler, cook, teacher, volunteer, cleaner and mediator.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Game Play (Power Play #1) by Lynda Aicher to read and review for this tour.


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