Review: Game On by Tracy Solheim


Game On (Out of Bounds #1) by Tracy Solheim
Berkley (May 7, 2013)

Rating: C
Heat: Hot

Heroine: Carly March – Assistant, Sweetheart 
Hero: Shane Devlin – NFL Quarterback, Bad Boy 






Shane Devlin, aka Devil of the NFL, has been stamped a bad boy in the press due to his hot temper and reputation with the ladies. Because of the bad press and a bad play he made, his team lets him go. Now he’s trying to find another team to play on. In the meantime, he heads to Mexico to get a little bit of R&R, and to get away from the media while his agent negotiates a new contract for him. As he’s waiting for the phone call that could get his career back on track one night, he sees a sexy and beautiful woman at the same bar as him. He immediately finds himself fascinated with her and can’t stop starring.

Carly March is the assistant to the General Manager of The Baltimore Blaze football team. She’s supposed to be on vacation with a friend, but as luck would have it, Carly and Shane are at the same vacation spot. So, Carly is now trying to gather information on Shane for the GM instead. Shane has no idea who Carly is. Bombarded by fans of his famous father, Shane decides to use Carly as an escape to get away from them. They end up having a hot and heavy dance where there is obvious chemistry between them. But, all too soon, the dance ends and they go their separate ways. Soon after their encounter, Shane receives the long awaited phone call that offers him the job as QB for The Baltimore Blaze.

Now they are both back in Baltimore, Shane is surprised to find out who Carly is. And Shane realizes the woman he can’t get off his mind is completely off limits. He doesn’t want to risk his job and she is in no place in her life to get involved with another athlete. So they both agree it’s best to stay away from each other… until they can’t. They decide that one night together will get the sexually charged attraction they have towards one another out of their system, but one night turns into many nights of passion and heat, and a relationship is formed.

For years, Shane has been angry at his father for never being there for him and his mother when he was a child, and angry because he basically abandoned him after the death of his mother. He has lived his life trying to be better than his father – a former NFL football star. This anger and hate towards his father is heavy baggage Shane has been dealing with all his life and has no idea how to just forgive. There are two sides to Shane: sweet and passionate and the angry devil side. And it felt like the devil side to him made an appearance too often. I can handle an asshole hero, but Shane just rubbed me the wrong way. Especially with the way he treated his half-brother, Troy. If it wasn’t for Shane’s rudeness and stand-offish ways towards Troy, I might have been able to forgive Shane for being such a jerk. Maybe.

Carly, on the other hand, is a complete sweetheart and opened her arms to anyone and everyone. She’s extremely loving and caring. She brought heart and emotion into this story. And, if it wasn’t for her, I may not have liked this story at all. Even though I thought Shane was a jerk, Carly brought out the sweet and passionate side to him that I did like. Carly’s big heart and compassion was good for Shane. I really liked the scenes with her family and the scenes she had with Troy. But mostly, I really liked that she didn’t put up with all of Shane’s crap and put him in his place when needed.

Shane and Carly do have great sexual chemistry that lit up the sheets. And I didn’t really mind the angst between them. Both of them struggled quite a bit with their decision to be with each other – which some of their reasons for avoiding their feelings were understandable. I did empathize with the characters on an emotional level. Everything they both went through tugged on my heart strings, especially with Shane’s little brother. Troy’s story touched me the most and was my favorite part of the story.

On top of not really liking the hero, there is too much drama in this story that kept me from enjoying it. This drama includes a stalker, tragic deaths, an unwanted guardianship, and a sick sister. There is other drama, but these are the main conflicts of the story. The first 30% of the book starts off good, maybe a little slow, and then the pace picks up, and the drama just kept on coming. There was so much going on that it hindered the relationship development between the hero and heroine. I felt like we barely got any page time with them together, which took away from the romance.

I had high hopes for this one. Give me a sports romance any day and I will read it. Unfortunately, this book simply wasn’t my cuppa. I can see why some readers would enjoy this book though. This would be a great summer read on the beach. Because I am curious about the secondary characters, I will most likely read their story.


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