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Review – Out of the Game by Kate Willoughby

Out of the GamePublisher: Carina Press
Publish Date: Out Now
How I got this book: NetGalley
Reviewer: MinnChica

Alex Sullivan may be the San Diego Barracudas’ resident playboy, but he hasn’t been able to forget the woman who kissed him like her life depended on it ten months ago. When he sees her again at a teammate’s wedding, he can’t think of anything but spending more time with her. Preferably naked.
Claire Marzano lost years catering to an overbearing husband, and she’s not going to answer to anyone ever again. A hot fling is just what she needs to get back in the game, and that’s exactly what sexy Alex offers—one wild long weekend away, with no promises or obligations.
But that one weekend changes everything. Despite knowing full well Alex isn’t the kind to ever commit, Claire is falling for him. And Alex secretly imagines a future with his strong, smart “accidental girlfriend.” Until a surprise announcement and an on-ice accident threaten to derail everything…or cause Alex to finally ditch his old ways and become the man Claire needs him to be.
*Blurb from Goodreads*

It’s no secret I have a deep, insane love of sports romances, and I’ve adored Willoughby’s previous books, so I was excited to dive back into her world.

Alex is a playboy to the core, and his obsession with Claire is something he’s never experienced before. He is drawn to her and although he’s never wanted a happily ever after, Claire makes him rethink his ways. But getting Claire to come out of her shell after a horrible marriage is harder than Alex expected, and taking all the tricks in his book.

Claire isn’t looking for romance with Alex, but a sexy fling might be just what she needs to get her confidence back. Unfortunately for Claire, falling for Alex seems to be inevitable. But when Claire announces a life-changing event, and Alex takes a hit he might not recover from, everything gets thrown up in the air for them both.

While I enjoyed this one, it wasn’t my favorite in the series. I thought Claire and Alex were cute together, but the progress of their relationship didn’t grip me like Willoughby’s previous books.

I enjoyed Claire, and totally understood her reluctance to getting invoiced with Alex. Given her history, I was surprised she was able to open up as much as she did. There were some times I wanted Claire to fight harder for what she wanted, but at the same time I got her motivations for handling the difficult situation as she did. She wanted to make sure that Alex came to her for the right reasons, and I totally get that.

I liked Alex. He was a playboy, flirt, and that fun kind of bad boy everyone loves. But he had some major issues, especially at the end of the book. I loved the way Willoughby handled Alex’s injury and his subsequent way of dealing with it. For a man who lived and breathed nothing but hockey have to suddenly re-evaluate his life was huge, and I loved the way it played out on the page, even if I wanted to smack him in the head a few times.

Like I said, there was something about the progression of Claire and Alex’s relationship that didn’t grab my heart and pull all my strings. It was cute, and I enjoyed reading their journey, but I didn’t connect to them as a couple as much as I have the previous books in the series. It might have been because of Alex’s actions toward the end of the book, or not. Either way, I liked it, but it didn’t pull me in 110% like I had hoped.

All in all, Willoughby continues to have a fabulous hockey romance series, and I’m looking forward to the next book in the series. The group of guys on the hockey team are so wonderful together, and I love their dynamic. I’m excited to see who’s up next and what type of heroine will bring him to his knees. 🙂
I give Out of the Game a B-

By MinnChica

MinnChica can usually be found with her nose in a book (or nook), and can ALWAYS find a few minutes to read: stuck at a red light, sitting in the doctors office, on her lunch break. She's so addicted to reading that her family frequently threatens to host an intervention. Currently MinnChica is devouring every romance book she can get her hands on, especially ones that feature 'friends to lovers' stories. Some of her favorite authors currently are Ilona Andrews, Jill Myles, Meljean Brook, Nalini Singh and Susan Mallery.

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