Publisher: Berkley Heat
Publish Date: August 2nd
How I got this book: ARC from author
An erotic new game from the New York Times bestselling author of The Perfect Play.
Sports agent Liz Darnell will do anything to win back her number-one client, baseball pro Gavin Riley. And Gavin’s more than ready- especially when Liz is offering herself as part of the bargain. But when love unexpectedly enters the playing field, neither Liz nor Gavin are ready for the biggest game-changer of all.
*Blurb from Goodreads*
It’s no secret that I love and adore all things sports romance, so when Jaci Burton first announced her play-by-play series, I was immediately sold. Then I saw her covers start to trickle out and I knew, right then and there, that I would read these books.
Liz left the first book as the bad guy, she had manipulated Mick’s girlfriend Tara and her son to work in her own agenda, and in the long run lost a client and good friend. When Mick’s brother Gavin forces her to talk to him, she worries that he is going to fire her. Instead, he offers her a place in his bed, no strings attached.
As Liz and Gavin get closer and closer, family tragedy strikes and had the potential to rip them apart. First with Mick’s hostility towards Liz that he isn’t afraid to voice, loudly. Then, when Gavin’s parents go through an unexpected tragedy, Liz and her love might be the only thing that can pull Gavin out of his funk and get him back in the game.
I was very, VERY worried that Burton would have a hard time putting Liz in a decent light, especially with her behavior in the last book. I have to say; Burton did a great job of showing her remorse, and making sure that Liz was forced to go through hell and back in order to redeem herself. Especially having to put up with Mick’s never ending put downs and rants, she really did pay for her mistakes. I was happy with her apologies to both Tara and Nathan, and thought it was the perfect way for Liz to handle everything.
The relationship between Gavin and Liz started on an odd foot for me. Gavin was still somewhat upset by Liz’s actions, and while he wasn’t looking to fire her as his agent, he was very wishy-washy about what he wanted from her. The friends with benefits situation seemed to come from left field, and while we know why Liz jumps on it, Gavin’s reasons were a little unclear and muddied. That being said, once these two got into a rhythm with their relationship, I really liked them together. Gavin was constantly being challenged by Liz, having to really work at a woman for the first time in his life. For Liz, she was really forced to be more laid back, to take a step back from her career and live life. They were good for each other and I liked that.
Let me just say that when Gavin screws up, he screws up big. His way of putting Liz down -not defending her against his brother, even after he came to a few realizations – was a doozy. He really went for the heart stomping, ripping out of her chest and spitting on it trifecta. It had me tearing up a little on Liz’s behalf. And his redemption could have used a little bit of work, sure he suffered, and his big gesture was pretty HUGE, but still. After the things he said…. DAMN!
I’m super excited for the continuation of this series. Burton has set up the next book so well, with Gavin and Mick’s sister Jenna as the leading lady and Liz’s newest client Ty as the hero. From the first moment we met Jenna, I instantly liked her. The more and more page time she gets the more I enjoy her character. I can’t wait to see how she handles falling for a sports guy, even though she claims to hate all things athletes. When Ty was first introduced in this book, I was smitten. He was funny and charming and sweet and not the kind of guy you would expect to be a huge hockey star. I’m very excited to read more about them and get their story!
All in all I liked Changing the Game. Sure it had it’s ‘huh?’ moments, but overall it was a joy to read. Burton has a way with her characters, making them flawed and yet easy to fall in love with. I was happy to read Liz struggle with her decisions, and thought she did a commendable job redeeming herself.
I give Changing the Game a B+