by Dani Jace
Series: Seaside Heat #2
Published by Lyrical Press on June 21, 2016
Sub-Genre/Theme: Contemporary, Sports
Format: ARC, Ebook
Buy: Amazon, B&N
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I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley.
It's time to take it to the next level.
Heath Lancaster's happy to be on the practice squad of a professional football team, but instead of a lucky break taking him to the next level, a league-wide strike leaves him unemployed. Until he finds a new semi-pro league in Virginia Beach, where a bikini-clad hottie snags one of his passes on the beach and offers him a tour of the area...
A scandalous affair turned Jordan Kelly into media fodder--and in no hurry to get back into the dating game. But the easy going tight end of the new Triton's team unleashes an inhibited wild streak in her and has her tempting him with a game of her own. But when she finds out who the owner of the Tritons is, she's wondering if she'll repeat her mistakes...
Game On! is book #2 in Dani Jace’s Seaside Heat series. Although it’s book #2, each book seems to be a standalone since they’re about different couples. I haven’t read book #1 and had no trouble following the story. Admittedly, I picked this up because of the novelty element: the book takes place in Virginia Beach, where I live. I love a good sports romance, which is another reason why I was drawn to this story. Unfortunately, the romance itself isn’t very developed and I struggled to like the main characters.
Heath is a practice squad tight end for an NFL team. But when the league goes on strike, Heath and his teammate join the Virginia Beach Tritons, a semi-pro football team. On the beach one day, Heath meets Jordan, a local teacher. Sparks fly immediately and the two agree to a temporary “game,” aka fling.
Here’s where I started to have issues with the writing. There are SO many football metaphors in this book. Whenever Heath and Jordan refer to their arrangement (for lack of a better word), they always use some kind of football terminology, like “calling the play,” “scoring a TD,” etc. It quickly became repetitive. Additionally, Heath and Jordan are always winking at each other, so much that I took notice and rolled my eyes whenever it happened again. It’s like it kept happening in every chapter. Even supporting characters started doing it, too. Who actually winks that much?
As for the romance itself, I didn’t really understand why Heath and Jordan are so attracted to each other, other than on a physical level. They definitely have good sexual chemistry, but I found both of their characters rather flat and didn’t grasp what they see in each other’s personalities beyond that.
Jordan has some issues from her past that she’s still recovering from. Her last relationship ended badly and in a publicly humiliating way, so she’s hesitant to trust Heath. She begins to develop feelings for him, but rather than express her emotions, she shoves them down since she assumes that Heath won’t be staying in Virginia Beach long term. Similarly, when Heath finds himself falling for Jordan, he doesn’t really tell her how he feels. He just chalks things up to their “game” being temporary. I wanted these crazy kids to talk to each other, for crying out loud. Poor communication made this a frustrating read for me. Additionally, when the major conflict is revealed toward the end, Jordan flounces off without giving Heath a chance to explain what’s going on. I found her behavior really immature.
The sex scenes are plentiful, but toward the end there are hints of kink and light BDSM, which seemed random to me. As I mentioned, since the relationship itself felt underdeveloped, it seemed there was something missing from the sex scenes (and I’m not talking about handcuffs).
What I liked most about the story were things other than the central romance. I liked all the Virginia Beach references, which were frequent but not overdone. Of all the characters, I liked Jordan’s friend GiGi the most. She’s very direct, gets to the point, and has no trouble putting Jordan in her place when Jordan’s acting mopey and immature. Unfortunately, the person I liked the most was a supporting character.
I think that if the relationship between Heath and Jordan had been explored more in depth, I probably would have liked the book–and, subsequently, them as characters–more. This, combined with the other issues I had with the writing, caused me not to love this as much as I had hoped I would.
Rating: 2.5 stars