PLAYING IT COOL (Sydney Smoke Rugby #2)

PLAYING IT COOL                                          AMY ANDREWS

Harper Nugent might have a little extra junk in her trunk, but her stepbrother calling her out on it is the last straw… When rugby hottie, Dexter Blake, witnesses the insult, he surprises Harper by asking her out. In front of her dumbass brother. Score! Of course, she knows it’s not for reals, but Dex won’t take no for an answer.

Dexter Blake’s life revolves around rugby with one hard and fast rule: no women. Sure, his left hand is getting a workout, but he's focused on his career for now. Then he overhears an asshat reporter belittle the curvy chick he'd been secretly ogling. What's a guy to do but ask her out? It’s just a little revenge against a poser, and then he'll get his head back in the game.

But the date is better than either expected. So is the next one. And the next. And the heat between them…sizzles their clothes right off.

Suddenly, this fake relationship is feeling all too real…

MY REVIEW:
What at first starts out as a gesture to be nice and rescue a beautiful woman from her evil step brother.  Quickly turns into making that same situation appear no better than if he had allowed said stepbrother to belittle and degrade her after all.  Which is totally not what he wanted.
     You see Harper Nugent 23-years old, has a handsome sexy sports anchor step brother that all the women love but her.  He has been nothing but cruel to her since she was 10 and they became a blended family when their parents married.  He realized that she was not the kind of girl that would need rescuing so rather than be embarrassed by her he openly took pot shots at her.  Making himself feel better.  It only continued to get worse and fueled by his mother he never outgrew it even to this day.
     So when Chuck was at work on the rugby field today doing an interview Harper was waiting on the sidelines.  He knew she was there but kept ignoring her.  Until she wouldn’t be ignored any longer.  With the whole team watching she called him.  But when he sees that she had come onto the field Chuck nuts up on her.  They have words in front of the team.  He doesn’t think they can hear but they can.  They hear how cruel he is being about her weight and how disgusting she is and an embarrassment to him.  That he has and image to uphold and she gives him a bad name.  Well, that was it!  Dexter Blake 30-years old, and one of the top players of the team could not hear any more from the douche bag.  He storms over there ready to knock out Chuck.  Instead he starts flirting thinking putting hands on Chuck could cost him. 
     Harper doesn’t know what to make of Dex.  Eventually Dex asks her out on a date.  Which everyone knew was not him because he NEVER DATES!   EVER!  Chuck’s mouth was hanging open at first but then he was throwing daggers at Harper.  Harper knew if anything it was a pity date.  At that moment she didn’t care it was all about pissing off Chuck.  Dex takes her phone and adds his number in and even calls himself so he will have her number.  That way he can call her and set up the date.  The sad part is Chuck and her step monster (mother) call and leave messages saying things like, “You know it’s a pity date.”  “Don’t embarrass Chuck just cancel.”  “You could damage my career by going.”  “Set your sights lower when dating.”
     Which only allows for the behavior that follows.  Yes, women are part of a new and always exciting sexual revolution but…You have things about your image.  You’re a young 23-year old girl who has been beaten down all her life because she didn’t fit the modeling guidelines.  She does for a BBW.  But not for a twig.  Now she has a famous sexy handsome guy who is into BBW’s.  He comes on like the nice guy who wants a platonic relationship because he is this dedicated rugby robot player.
     Well, all to soon he’s taking it to the next level.  Next thing you know they sleep together.  And she justifies it that she is okay with it because they are just friends with benefits only, but when he falls asleep and sneaks out they both panic.  After a couple of days, she texts him to come over for a booty call/fun.  But when he comes he is dressed for an event where she knows he’ll be escorting another skinny model more than likely.  She never asks and he never says.  She still gives herself to him.  Why because during sex he says she’s beautiful.  Yet, a few days earlier, when his friends know he had a date, he right away friend zoned her.  Nice right?
     But then the Sunday afternoon, after they had sex again, he spends the afternoon at home with Harper and her twin brother and sister (Tabby & Jace) which seems to change everything.  That weekend Dex slayed two dragons at once on behalf of Harper and something inside changed he may have side it was to torment Chuck but it appeared to be so much more but neither was allowing their hearts to get involved just yet.
     See what started the turn in this platonic relationship on its ear.   Words had the ability to injure your mind, body, and soul.  But as Harper and Dex were about to find out actions or lack of actions could do the same thing.  No one can make us feel anything it’s what we allow or teach that is an okay way to treat us that can cause problems in the long run.  No matter what we may say sex comes with feelings.  Maybe not right now but down the line the emotions come to roost and when you have to face facts it’s never as simple as you told yourself it would be.  As Harper found out and later on Dex does too.
     I really enjoyed Amy’s humor and sensitivity used in dealing with Harper’s feeling and emotions as she finds herself.  She’s a BBW who has been teased most of her life by her stepbrother and step monster.

     What I loved is that Dex was a character I loved then hated then loved etc.…That made this such a page turner because you wanted to see how he was going to stick his foot into it again.  I give this 5++++ stars.  Provided by netgalley.com.  Follow us at:  www.1rad-readerreviews.com.

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