AUTHOR:  Lauren Blakely

GENRE:  Romantic Comedy

RELEASE DATE:  September 1, 2017

Available @ AMAZON

REVIEWER:  Pistol Annie

(ARC provided by Netgalley)

RATING:  ♥♥♥♥♥ Perfect TDs


Hands down, my favorite thing in the world is to score. Touchdowns.

Don’t let the fact that I’m the leading pick in the Most Valuable Playboy charity auction fool you. These days, I’m only a player on the field. I’ve kept my pants zipped all season long — and it has been long — because nothing’s more important than leading my team to victory every week. Except maybe escaping from the team owner’s recently-widowed and handsy-as-hell sister who’s dead set on winning more than a date with me.

Enter Violet and a well-placed Hail Mary.

She’s my best friend’s sister with a smile as sweet as cherry pie and a mind that runs quicker than the 40-yard-dash. After Violet saves the day with the highest bid, I don’t even give her a two-minute warning before I kiss her in front of the whole crowd and then announce that she’s my girlfriend. Which would be fine except my agent tells me we’ve got to keep up the act while he’s negotiating my contract.

Violet takes one for the team and pretends to be mine, but our boyfriend-girlfriend scrimmage quickly turns into a full contact sport, and I want it to go into overtime. The problem is — I’ve been riding the bench for years.

How can a guy like me, who finally has a chance to prove his worth on the field, convince the girl she’s most valuable to his heart?

***************RELEASE DAY REVIEW***************

MOST VALUABLE PLAYBOY is a brand new standalone sports romance written in the guy’s POV!

GAME ON!  It’s that time of year again and football season has me shakin’ my pom-poms and doing a shimmy/shake victory dance!  And so does that easy-on-the-eyes book cover!  Lauren Blakely may have given us one of the sweetest and most generous players ever — but it is this author who is the “MVP.”  Her writing drops five perfect touchdowns into the end zone with two strong and lovable fun-to-get-to-know main characters who’ll treat you to a real good time in their all-star game.

No fumbles here — the blurb has covered the pigskin action in this friends-to-lovers (best friend’s sister) sports-related romance without the need for any additional help from this fan.  With a light dose of angst and plenty of humor — an enticing and entertaining plot — along with lots of action on the gridiron and between-the-sheets, readers get a full blitz from all the revelations and surprises Blakely adds to her playbooks.

And the heat is on — in a perfect match-up . . .

“I’m crazy fucking in love with her.  Like, to-the-moon-and-back shit.  

Like the rest of my life, no one else, she’s the one.  The sun and all the stars in the sky.”

Cooper Armstrong might be the sexiest and bestest in Blakely’s stable of male leads thus far.  This one is all in Cooper’s POV and it conveys his attitudes, feelings, misgivings, thoughts and worries so well.  And I’m absolutely in love with Cooper’s voice (and that “Best Butt in the NFL label) as he puts it all on the line, telling how he sees it, envisions it, feels it, and how he wants to live it.  Cooper is full of surprises — not at all your average playboy — charming, confident with a heart of gold that he shares generously.  He’s a great son and has a terrific relationship with his mom — but he’s still a dirty-talker in the bedroom and he sings a mean karaoke, too!  Cooper just never expected the heat that one kiss could generate.  But it’s Violet he’s kissing — his best friend’s sister — the bro code screams loudly in his ear!  But the top dog in the Renegade Man Meat Parade has gone rogue where Vi is concerned.  His reactions to her are inappropriate and off-limits.  But what’s a guy to do when his old pal, the girl with amber eyes, peachy smelling chestnut hair and gorgeous long legs and yes,  kisses that make him lose control at every turn?

Violet Pierson has known Cooper Armstrong since elementary school when she thought “boys were yucky.”  That didn’t last long before she moved into feeling a lot more for her brother’s best friend.  Besides being pals and kidding around since they were kids, running her fingers through his dark brown strands of hair and adding a little Goop for Guys hair gel to it now and then as his hairstylist, is about as far as she’s gotten in twenty years.  Smart and adorable Violet, the funny, kind and sweet girl-next-door type is the one you’d pick for a BFF — she’d do anything for a friend.  Heck, look at her now — playing fake girlfriend to the man of her dreams, probably heading for a direct blow to the heart.  Even though Cooper is the narrator, Violet has her own special techniques for sharing her personality and feelings with readers throughout the story.  Self-describing herself an “everything woman,” Violet is confident, strong and sassy.  That’s just who she is!  How can you not love a girl like Violet?  

The Renegades’ secondary comes alive with a bunch of hunky and sexy football players, and you’ll be on the gridiron side-by-side with the team.  These  players stand strong together and make a real impact.  With all their allegiances pledged to one another for a winning year, along with honoring their superstitious rituals — and let’s not forget the locker room sexual innuendos and irreverent remarks, they’ll have you laughing so hard you’ll find it hard to catch your breath.  It’s jocks being jocks — unfiltered.  Hopefully, they’ll find a way into a playbook of their own someday.  Are you seeing this Coach Blakely? 

I love a good fake romance that becomes anything but . . . and, with the inclusion of the best friend’s little sister element, this one is at the top of the rankings.  And the main characters deserve the game ball for playing their parts perfectly.  But I must admit that having Trent and Holly, Violet’s brother and sister-in-law, involved in the game was pretty sweet, too.  The sibling banter adds a whole other level of laughter.  I’m gonna sit right here on the fifty-yard line, and refuse to move until this one is in the record books.

It’s all those extra special touches that shoot Lauren Blakely’s books up and over the bar and through the goal posts.  For example, Violet is a hairstylist and owns her own very successful salon, adorably named Heroes and Hairoines.  And oh those silly little jokes thrown in make for some spectacularly funny moments.  Right out of the gate, the Mister Ed teaser was a perfect precursor for how their relationship would go.  For me, sometimes all it takes is a few clever, snappy, or witty additions to make something extraordinary.  Blakely often writes from the hero’s point of view – and is an expert as proven here letting Cooper open himself up and exposing his innermost feelings.  I can’t think of too many authors who rock a male POV like this one.  She’s almost always right-on without it feeling unnatural.  As for the research that goes into her subject matter, never doubt she doesn’t know her game.  She’s put the work into proving it over and over as demonstrated in her use of football lingo on and off the field in calling the plays, translating league rules, and on paper in contract negotiations, etc.  The whole shebang is so well-mastered and works brilliantly.

It’s spirit week — one game down already and this is my second sports-related (football) novel.  Just what the ref ordered to keep spirits high!  A Super Bowl ring is a strong possibility for Cooper as he leads the Renegades team to victory!  It’s a sure bet for ending the season at the top of my ten best teams of 2017.




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