Playing For Keeps
The York Bombers #3
By: Lisa B. Kamps
Releasing June 28, 2017
Tyler Bowie is the serious and focused goalie for the York Bombers. He has his mind on the game and his eye on the future. And he always plays by the rules–until he meets Jennifer Emory, his teammate’s sister. What is it about the troubled woman that tempts him to break the biggest rule of all?
Jennifer Emory is looking to start a new life and finds the distraction she needs in Tyler Bowie, her brother’s intensely sexy teammate. But the distraction quickly turns to something else. She knows all about the bro code, but there’s just something about Tyler that makes her want to take a chance and risk so much more than her brother’s ire.
Will the couple find the strength and courage to put it all on the line when love means playing for keeps?
SASCHA DARLINGTON’S REVIEW
Back in February, I reviewed Lisa B. Kamps’ Playing the Game. (You can read that review here.) This was one of several hockey romances that I have read and it was just really, really good with Harland definitely being one of my favorite characters in the past year.
Like Playing the Game, Playing For Keeps is a hockey romance featuring the York Bombers (somehow between February and June, I missed the second installment Playing to Win ; I must have blinked!) And, like the previous novel with the delicious Harland, Playing For Keeps‘ hockey-playing hero, Tyler Bowie, is adorable. He has the right amount of boyishness and earnestness and sexiness. But boyishness might be a term that sticks out for me here because both Tyler and Jennifer struck me as immature and made me long to read about Aaron, the older, wiser, introspective member of the team.
A couple of scenes left me feeling a little “meh,” like Jennifer focusing on Tyler’s body during a hockey game and thinking about what it could be doing with hers rather than focusing on the game. Yes, I realize that this is a sexy romance novel, but I guess I thought it would be cool for her to admire his athleticism without the sexual obsession, especially since their friendship/relationship was so new. (I think that this is my feeling lately that I want characters, even in romances, to be as multi-dimensional as possible and not just obsessed with sex.)
With that said, I liked how Kamps made Jennifer take a stand when she sees something that violates her sense of what is right, especially in the treatment of women and how the tables are semi-turned when it comes to her needing support after earlier bad judgment on her part comes to light. Also, there is the acknowledgement of the allowed disparity in behavior between men and women–a man can do what he wants without a raised eyebrow (except mine, heh) while a woman is bashed for the same behavior.
While I didn’t find Playing For Keeps as good as Playing the Game, it’s still a very good and sexy romance novel, despite my little nitpicks. Kamps certainly provides an entertaining, rounded and sexy story for her romances. I’m just hoping that there’s an Aaron novel in my future.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
4 out of 5 butterflies
Lisa B. Kamps is the author of the best-selling series The Baltimore Banners, featuring “hard-hitting, heart-melting hockey players” [USA Today], on and off the ice. Her Firehouse Fourteen series features hot and heroic firefighters who put more than their lives on the line. She’s introduced a whole new team of hot hockey players who play hard and love even harder in her newest series, The York Bombers.
In a previous life, she worked as a firefighter with the Baltimore County Fire Department then did a very brief (and not very successful) stint at bartending in east Baltimore, and finally served as the Director of Retail Operations for a busy Civil War non-profit.
Lisa currently lives in Maryland with her husband and two sons (who are mostly sorta-kinda out of the house), one very spoiled Border Collie, two cats with major attitude, several head of cattle, and entirely too many chickens to count. When she’s not busy writing or chasing animals, she’s cheering loudly for her favorite hockey team, the Washington Capitals–or going through withdrawal and waiting for October to roll back around!
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But God, she hated it. Hated running away. Hated having to rely on her brother. Hated feeling like a burden.
Hated knowing that no matter where she went, one tiny little mistake could follow her forever.
She sighed and drew her knees up to her chest. It didn’t matter how gorgeous Tyler Bowie was, or how much she was attracted to him, or even if she had a tiny little crush on him. She couldn’t allow anything to happen. Not that he was interested but still…no, nothing would happen. He was a hockey player. He was her brother’s teammate.
No—no matter how hot Tyler was, it was strictly a case of look but don’t touch. She didn’t think he was like her ex but she couldn’t be sure because she didn’t know him that well. And she couldn’t trust her own judgement, not anymore. Not after what her ex had done.
Except it had been ten long months and Tyler was so gorgeous. Would it really hurt, just to sample a small taste?
And oh God, what was she thinking? No, absolutely not. She could not think like that, couldn’t even afford to pretend to think like that. No matter how much—
She heard the muffled sound of footsteps against the thick carpeting and turned on the sofa, her eyes widening at the sight of Tyler shuffling up the short hall toward her. His thick hair was tousled, his lids half-lowered over dark, sleepy eyes. He paused and ran a hand over his broad chest, which caused the hem of the thin t-shirt to lift. Her mouth dried as she caught a glimpse of smooth skin pulled tight over the hard muscle of defined abs.
Smooth skin broken only by a thin line of dark hair that disappeared into the waistband of the loose gym shorts riding low on his lean hips.
Jenny blinked, her face heating as her gaze travelled down his sturdy legs, taking in the long muscles of strong thighs, lightly dusted with dark hair. Even his bare feet were sexy. Since when did she ever notice a man’s feet? Since never, that’s when.
She tore her gaze away, forcing herself to look anywhere else. At the generic prints scattered on the wall behind him. At the small dinette table with its two chairs and pile of mail sitting on top of a dark green placemat. At the television, its screen now dark because she had turned it off.
Anywhere except at Tyler.
Oh God, she was in so much trouble.
Look but don’t touch? No, she couldn’t even do that, not when the simple act of just looking made her want to do so much more.
Tasty Q&A with Lisa B. Kamps
If you had a theme song, what would it be?
Honestly, it depends on my mood. But there are two that always seem to be at the top of my list:
Fight Song by Rachel Platten and…
Wait for it…
Fat Bottomed Girls by Queen!
Name three things on your desk right now.
- A large bag of almond M&Ms (I won’t tell you how many are left in the bag)
- Large mug of coffee (strong with cream and sugar if you’re really curious)
- My planner and notepad, pens and post-its (yes, that only counts as one item in my world!!)
A la Twitter style, please describe your book in 140 characters or less.
Okay, I’m really not that great at Twitter but I’ll give it a shot:
#secretpast #steamyread #bestfriendssister #forbiddenlove #nevergiveup #loveconquersall #hockeyromance #alwayshopeful
Did I go over??
What do you do when you are not writing?
Plan for the next book? Seriously, my mind is always going: thinking, dreaming, wondering, planning. Doesn’t matter what I’m doing, there’s always something involving writing going on in my head.
Except when I go into total slug-mode, which does happen every once in a while. If that’s the case, I’m either literally doing absolutely nothing (I mean I literally turn completely OFF), or I’m either reading or playing SIMS. Hey, don’t judge me J!
Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
The best piece of advice I can give (and have given) any aspiring writer is one that’s been around for ages: Just do it. Don’t think about doing it, don’t talk about doing it, don’t dream about doing it. Just sit your butt down and get those words on the page. Talking is easy, but if you’re serious, stop talking and just write. You can fix it later, worry about it later, angst over it later. But you need to get those words on paper first. In this case, actions really do speak louder than words.
Don’t get so caught up in the rules that you end up hampering your creative flow. Yes, learn the rules, be aware of them, but don’t let them rule your writing (or your creative process). There are so many rules out there that “they” say can’t be broken. But guess what? They get broken all the time, and it works. Do what works for you, your story, your characters. Don’t let the rules silence your unique voice. (Note: I’m not talking about grammar and punctuation–those are important. It’s those other pesky rules, like don’t write in first person, don’t write about a sports hero, etc.)
Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
To my current readers and fans: THANK YOU so much for taking a chance and joining me on this wonderful journey! It really wouldn’t be possible without all of you! To those readers who haven’t yet read my books: don’t be afraid to take a chance! You might surprise yourself and find a new favorite author (if not favorite, then hopefully one you really like!).
Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
My next scheduled release is PLAYING IT UP, The York Bombers Book 4.
Many of you have already met Zach and Haley in the other York Bomber titles. These two love to hate each other and are always butting heads. And when they finally get together…?
There’s a fine line between love and hate, a line the mismatched pair crosses with as much passion in bed as out of it. No strings, no expectations. When Haley’s past comes back to haunt her, putting her life in peril, Zach realizes that some things are worth fighting for—no matter the cost—and Haley learns she must let go of the past if she wants to hang on to the future.
This one is a steamy twist on your enemies-to-lovers story, with a few more surprises thrown in! PLAYING IT UP releases on August 30 and is available for pre-order now. You can find the link here: https://books2read.com/PlayingItUp