Published by NLA Digital LLC The Game Plan on November 1st 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
A beard-related dare and one hot-as-hell kiss changes everything.
NFL center Ethan Dexter’s focus has always been on playing football and little else. Except when it comes to one particular woman. The lovely Fiona Mackenzie might not care about his fame, but she’s also never looked at him as anything more than one of her brother-in-law’s best friends. That ends now.
Fi doesn’t know what to make of Dex. The bearded, tattooed, mountain of man-muscle looks more like a biker than a football player. Rumor has it he’s a virgin, but she finds that hard to believe. Because from the moment he decides to turn his quiet intensity on her she’s left weak at the knees and aching to see his famous control fully unleashed.
Fi ought to guard her heart and walk away; they live vastly different lives in separate cities. And Dex is looking for a forever girl. But Dex has upped his game and is using all his considerable charm to convince Fi he’s her forever man.
Lou: I adore the Game On series. I super adore to the point where I gush awesome about the books after the very last page and I think about the stories for days afterwards. The Game Plan is no different. While Gray and Ivy’s book still remains my favourite of the series so far, I’m claiming Dex for my own because holy moly was he wonderful, sweet, kind, sexy, and so into the heroine that it made me fall in love with the romance genre all over again. Dex and Fi’s story didn’t have as much up and downs as the first two books. Fi and Dex were pretty grown-up (except for some moments) in how they solved their issues, though Fi wasn’t as sure and it took her a while to get on the same wavelength as Dex. But Dex was patient. He was wonderfully patient because he waited for Fi fo so long, and even when he had her, he was still so patient.
Has: I so totally agree with you about that gushing, giddy feeling you get when you read a good book. I think Kristen Callihan’s NA books recaptures the tone of New Adult themes really well. I also found that The Game Plan was a quieter toned book compared to the previous two, although it did not distract from the emotional and relationship issues, which both Dex and Fi underwent. I especially liked how there was a parallel with Fi who slowly thawed to the idea of a relationship with Dex. He was so head over heels for Fi you could sense he would do mental cartwheels with joy everytime she entered the room. But Dex also had a few issues which he kept closed and it was great to see them figure their problems out, which felt authentic and real. I can’t stress enough how those scenes worked with me because it never felt forced or wangsty and that for me is the magic ingredient on why NA works.
Lou: I loved the role-reversal Callihan did for this book, where Dex was the inexperienced other half and Fi more experienced in dating, relationships, and her sex life. But Dex was super rawr and so smooth in his courtship of Fi. The first scene in which he kissed her was so sexy and their relationship kept progressing and progressing. There was no will they or won’t they. They were definitely going to (you know, S-E-X) and it was just waiting for the right moment. Friendship is one of the biggest themes in the Game On series and the bromances these heroes have with each other is really heart-warming and so humerous. Dex dropped everything to help Gray and Ivy with baby Leo. Dex’s loyalty is strong, sure and the love he had for Fi was so swoon-worthy. It did take Fi longer to figure out what she wanted because Dex wasn’t planned. The big guy never factored in her life until he made his move and then he was there and he wasn’t budging. That sounds freaking awful but it’s not LOL. He was a patient and sexy boulder waiting for the woman he loved.
Has: I also loved how Dex’s seduction for Fi developed, because that is how he won her over. It was slow, sweet and had that sexy intense undertone which was just fantastic to see play out. Dex was a wonderful hero, and I loved that he had this gruff, big giant exterior but underneath was someone who was sensitive and thoughtful. It was the perfect combination for a swoon-worthy hero.
I initially took a longer while to warm up to Fi’s character, but seeing her struggles with a work colleague who has been stealing her design ideas was really sad to see and I really got the sense of her frustrations and fears. I especially loved how this tied in with the NA themes of finding a path in life and tackling careers and relationships, which was realistic. I also enjoyed how the subplots with fame and its fallout especially on the internet was great. I really felt immersed into those scenes and it was due to the strength of Callihan’s writing.
Lou: Dex was rock solid in his football career. He excelled and loved everything minute of playing on that field and the pain helped him focus. Yes, quiet Dex had a little love of pain, and he had some very surprising piercings which Fi absolutely adored. Dex’s history of why he stayed a virgin was really sad and mostly like a true indicative of what happens in real life amongst that type of partying scenes where football players and star athletes are treated like Gods. Their relationship was so sweet and sexy and like Has said above, Dex was so swoon-worthy because he was so into Fi. Like she was his entire world and *happy sigh* it was so freaking romantic. Fi’s issues with her co-worker were really sad but I loved how Fi raised above it all. Also, she’s a freaking carpenter too which was amazeballs.
But my heart really hurt towards the end after what happened with some awful photo reveals which broke Fi’s and Dex’s heart. Fi did something that she should have told Dex about but they patched it up like grown-ups after a little heated argument (Dex go HULK SMASH). I adored this book and I love this series so much. Seeing past characters is always a great happy feeling and I can’t wait to see who is up next up for their HEA.
I give The Game Plan a stinking-happy A.
Has: And those are the reasons why this makes me such a fan of Callihan’s books because she conveys emotions which are brimming with authenticity and well fleshed-out memorable characters. I love that when they’re engaged with fun and sexy flirty banter or serious dark moments because it sucks you right in. I also liked that each book in this series has a different tone. I also like that The Game Plan had a lovely subtle mature undertone which showed how far the supporting characters changed from the earlier books, and how Fi even states that she was a different person a few years earlier to the point in life that she is living now, which again highlights the NA theme which is done very well.
But overall, this was a standout fun and sexy romance, with amazing banter and a heartfelt and sweet romance with one of the most memorable heroes I’ve read this year.
I give The Game Plan an A-