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 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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Every time I read a series of interconnected standalone novels, I can’t help but hope that each minor character that’s introduced will get his or her own story. And in my favorite series…they usually do, like with the Heartbreaker Bay Series by Jill Shalvis. Between the full-length novels and the novellas prior to the newest release, Playing for Keeps, I had read 8 installments in the series, where readers were introduced to several new faces outside of the core group of friends, who invited the possibility of new romantic pairings. From the moment Sadie Lane and Caleb Parker came into the picture, their fiery chemistry and antagonistic, yet flirty vibe made it obvious that we’d be seeing more of this particular pairing.
A straight-laced, wealthy businessman and a brazen, free-spirited tattoo artist are the perfect example of opposites attracting. A reluctant (on Sadie’s part), nonplussed (on Caleb’s part) mutual attraction leads to verbal sparring, which leads to a constant wariness between them. For the year they’ve known each other, they’ve been on guard, keeping each other at arm’s length. It’s not until they adopt a three-legged stray dog together that each begins to looks past the other’s surface and discover that they have more in common than they initially believed. As much as Caleb claims to be emotionally unavailable, Sadie and their canine friend work their way under his defenses and, as much as Sadie’s shield comes across as impenetrable, Caleb easily sees through her carefully-constructed façade of indifference. Neither claim to be perfect but it’s their imperfections that make their story so enthralling.
With a romance that’s the perfect combination of sweet and steamy, characters that are compelling because of their flaws and complexities, and a storyline that’s gripping and heartfelt, Playing for Keeps is an unforgettable addition to Jill Shalvis’s Heartbreaker Bay Series. The narrative is lighthearted, interspersed with moments of profound introspection and deep emotional connection, tackling a more serious subject matter than previous books, while maintaining the author’s signature small-town-feel type of charm. The *only* thing that would’ve made this book better is having a visual to go along with it…mainly one of Caleb snuggling with Lollipop. *Googles pictures of hot guys holding dogs* Overall, Playing for Keeps is a must-read!
*complimentary copy provided by publisher for an honest review
Rating: 5 Stars
New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill's bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.
She shook her head.
“Look at me. Please?”
It was the damn please that had her opening her eyes. He’d closed the gap so that if she so much as took a breath, they’d be touching.
So she did just that. She took a deep breath, and then their bodies were up against each other, his warm and hard. Everywhere. “What’s happening?” she whispered.
“I believe you’re deciding between kicking me in the nuts and kissing me.” One side of his mouth curved very slightly as he lifted their still joined hands above her head, against the wall.
“But that last part might just be in my dreams.”
“Yes,” she whispered.
“Yes, it’s just in my dreams?”
She meant to say yes again, she really did.
She even opened her mouth to say it, because this was insane, this incredible . . . craving she had for him. It made no sense. Less than no sense, and yet . . .
She went up on tiptoe and touched her mouth to his.