Saturday, January 9, 2016

Playing for Fun ~ Tracey Alvarez ~ Review

PLAYING FOR FUN is the sixth story in Tracey Alvarez’s best-selling Due South books set against the stunning backdrop of Aotearoa, New Zealand. If you like Jill Shalvis, Marie Force, or Bella Andre, then you’ll enjoy diving into these heart-warming, sexy & seductive small-town romances with authentic men and women struggling to find their special someone. 

A woman for Ford. Ford Komeke can’t deny he could use an up-skill in the dating arena. It’s a local in-joke that his game, as far as women go, sucks. Thanks to the meddling of New Zealand’s worst octogenarian matchmaker, he’s got an online dating profile, a new wardrobe, and a haircut from Stewart Island’s sexy hairdresser, Holly Parker. But since he’s well and truly mired in the friendzone with Holly, what’s the harm in exploring his options? A little jealousy could work wonders. 

Dream job with a catch. What do you say when you’re offered an un-turn-downable career opportunity? You say, hell-to-the-yeah! Only there’s a problem. To get the dream job Holly must leave Stewart Island and her two best friends, Shaye and Ford. But if Holly can distract Shaye with wedding planning and set Ford up with a nice girl so she can stop imagining him naked, neither will notice if she exits stage right. Neither will notice if her feelings for Ford stop being strictly platonic. 

One kiss is never enough. As addictive as the chocolate stash Holly hides in her fridge, one kiss forces them out of the friendzone—way out of the friendzone. Heat and hunger explode, but the ugliness in Ford’s past hold his heart hostage. Playing for fun or playing for keeps? Holly and Ford must decide because the consequences of falling in love means that someone’s heart or someone’s dream will ultimately end up shattered. 

 Praise for the Due South series! 
 "It’s official…I’m hooked on this series! I want to jump on a plane and fly to this island, because apparently they grow them big and HOT in New Zealand…men that is!!!" ~ Swept Away By Romance 

"Perfection comes in many shapes and forms, and Ms Alvarez delivers in her contemporary voice and quirky character traits that make a distinctive difference between average and stellar storytelling." ~ InD’Tale Magazine 

"Just as the must-read series of Donna Kauffman (The Bachelors of Blueberry Cove), Jill Shalvis (Lucky Harbor), Terri Osburn (Anchor Island), Marie Force (The McCarthys of Gansett Island), Sherryl Woods (Chesapeake Shores) have entranced me with their seaside settings and caring communities - so has Tracey Alvarez - and I'm adding her series to my must-read shelf too."~ Fab Fantasy Fiction 

Don’t miss any of the Due South books! Book 1: In Too Deep. Featuring Piper and West. A smoking-hot reunion which may lead to a second chance for them both... Book 2: Melting Into You. Featuring Kezia and Ben. Can this widowed single mom and the stubborn but sexy single dad ever make one big happy family? Book 3: Ready To Burn. Featuring Shaye and Del. Two chefs, one workplace where things get seriously overheated—and a passionate enemies to lovers romance. Book 4: Christmas With You. Featuring Carly and Kip. A New Zealand holiday romance where becoming friends with benefits can sometimes make the sexiest Christmas present of all... Book 5: My Forever Valentine. Due South Short Stories. Book 6: Playing For Fun. Featuring Holly and Ford. New Zealand’s octogenarian matchmaker has Holly and Ford in her cross-hairs, but do best friends really make the best lovers?

Goodreads ~ Amazon

Elizabeth's Review

3.5 stars - Worth a reader's time

Review Copy Provided by Author

Tracey Alvarez takes us back to Oban in NZ to the small community we have gotten to know in the previous Due South books. Don't worry if you are new to Ms. Alvarez's work, you can jump right in with this one and be just as comfortable as someone who has been with the series from the beginning. I should know - this is just my second Due South book and I felt right at home.

Playing for Fun follows Holly and Ford. These two have been friends for a long time and each want out of the "friend zone." Unfortunately for them, neither will say so. Their friends team up to encourage them to get their acts together - leading to several funny moments before they dive into a romantic relationship. Both Holly and Ford have emotional baggage that causes them to stumble as they get things figured out. Ms. Alvarez does a great job of letting us see them dealing with their issues without feeling we are on the doctor's couch with them. I enjoyed the fact that Ford could be in tune enough with Holly to know what she needed from him, even when he couldn't deliver. Holly's ability to love Ford, but not sacrifice her own feelings had me respecting her too.

Playing for Fun is a great balance between a growing romantic relationship and individual growth for both characters. The supporting cast is fantastic! They add dashes of humor as well as needed sounding boards for our friends turning lovers. Add is several dashes of fun pop culture and you have a great read; perfect for curling up on the couch!

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