My rating: 5 of 5 stars
5 Hot Gamer, Max-is-mine-don’t-even-think-about-it stars
Arc generously provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
“Everything’s a game, Payton. That’s the big secret. Work, life, sex. If you’re not playing one game, you’re playing another. If you can’t tell you’re playing a game? You’re losing.”
Sooo, where to start? “Play” was a nice surprise It was also my first book by Piper Lawson and her amusing, clever style definitely got to me. I’m a sucker for witty heroines and stormy, brilliant heroes, so this book was right up my alley.
But first, let me introduce you to the main characters. Payton is a financial advisor that is climbing the corporate ladder (is it even a thing? anyway) and is asked to cover for a friend with a new client. Now, enter Max: pale, spiky dark hair, eyebrow piercing and lips to die for. They’re off to ride toward the sunset, right? Er, no. What I loved most about them is that they really started off hating, or at least strongly not-loving each other. Sure, with both of them being attractive, lust was omnipresent, but the negative feelings they had for each other always prevailed.
Their first interactions were stilted and funny especially given the mutual disappointment and hatred for one other. Also, Piper Lawson has a way to make every situation so funny and light, she managed not to turn the story into a cumbersome journey from hate to love.
So, as Max, who is a video-game engineer/visionaire/genius tries to keep her at bay from himself (past issues) and from his business, Payton manages to sneak in his world and under his skin.
What I loved about them was how slowly yet meaningfully they progressed in their interactions. It was a slow burn, but damn if it didn’t result into a mind-blowing explosion. In the end, I got to see so many facets of Max’s personality that it got my head spinning and my heart reeling. Under the cool, detached facade hides a very generous, passionate heart that conquered mine.
Max was sweet at times, then possessive, then funny and light. Uptight. Downright assholish, stand-offish. Amazingly romantic. And no, he doesn’t come off as crazy moody (okay, only a bit).
“I was watching you tonight. Dancing like no one else was there. And the thing was, there might as well have been no one there. Twenty thousand people, Payton, and you’re the only one I see.”
Swoon. Max is so… I don’t know if I’m biased given my professed love for Hot Nerds, Hackers (“Heart-Shaped Hack” anybody?) and computer Geeks. But he’s both genius and so human, you know? Half the time you want to curse him up one way and down the other for even being so smart and the other half you want to crush him to you because he’s like a lost kid.
Anyway, back to the book. You should totally read it. It’s fun, it’s spunky, it will make you cry a bit and then it will warm your heart. Payton and her best friend Charlie are some cool chicks, and the hero is amazing. The story picks up slowly but I can guarantee you won’t regret it. The second half is what really brought my stars from four to five.
I’m looking forward to reading more books by this author! Piper Lawson definitely knows how to write steamy, heartfelt, fun romance!
“You know, Payton, the only game I hated as a kid was Super Mario. I didn’t get the rush-the-tower, save-the-princess shit. Why you’d do everything just to get the girl. But I get it now. Because you’re the girl. And you’re all of it. The prize, the gold, the ever-fucking-after.”
And with this, Talia’s out (drops the mike)