York Bombers #1
In Playing the Game (York Bombers #1) by Lisa B. Kamps, Harland Day is struggling with his game as an ice hockey player. Even worse, he's been dumped from the pros and now plays in the minors, and unless he can find a way to improve, he could find himself tossed off the team altogether. He knows one thing that might help, but who knows whether his ex will be able to forgive and forget the horrible way they parted. Can Harland find a way to earn her forgiveness, especially when he discovers the secret she's hiding?
Ever since reading my first book by Ms. Kamps, I have looked forward to every book she's released since and this first book of her newest series starts it off brilliantly. It's a second chance romance about finding forgiveness and having hope that a second shot at happy ever after is possible and encompasses a heroine that finds it difficult to forgive the hero after what he did in the past, a hero struggling to stay focused on the game he loves and the fight the hero has on his hands in winning his ex back after learning her secret. Right from the beginning, this story had me intrigued with what happens in the prologue. How can Harland guarantee the words he says to the heroine?
As for the dialogue, I loved every moment of it whether Harland and Courtney were angry at each other or getting along. Certainly, the heroine has every right to not want to let the hero back into her life after how he treated her when they parted ways in the past. How could he be so blind in believing his father over the woman he loved, especially when he only ended up hurting her with his accusations? However, there were also some light-hearted moments that had me smiling, especially with the young boy Harland gets to know who turns out to be someone very special to him. He'll do anything to make the little boy more comfortable around him, even if it means he has to step out of his comfort zone by figuring out how to communicate with the child better.
Both the main characters entertained me from start to finish with their past history and their growing relationship. Can Harland overcome Courtney's fears and be able to prove that he won't leave her a second time? Courtney is strong, brave and I liked how determined she was to protect herself from hurt again, even though it was palpable that Harland wasn't about to make the mistake of abandoning her again. This time around, he had responsibilities and he was going to make certain he didn't turn out like his father; a man that only thinks about what is best for him and doesn't care who he hurts in the process. While Harland, he's a man desperate for a second chance and I liked all the effort he made to get Courtney to give him one, even though the heroine doesn't make it easy until he gets desperate enough for her to yield to his demands. Furthermore, I liked that he finally stood up for what he wanted and wasn't about to let anyone come between him and Courtney again. Seriously, it was about time.
Overall, Ms. Kamps has penned a fantastic read in this book where the secondary characters entertained me just as much as the main characters did and the romance was nicely-detailed and filled with plenty of spice that illustrated how right these two are for each other. The way this story ended had me smiling, because Harland finally revealed what was keeping him from being unable to stay focused while playing the game he loves and it really helped. However, it was the epilogue that wrapped this story up perfectly. Harland made me laugh with how he rocked up to a certain place. Luckily, he doesn't embarrass easily and he had a good reason for the mishap when it came to his clothing. I would recommend Playing the Game by Lisa B. Kamps, if you enjoy sports romances, second chance romances or a story where the hero and heroine are a couple meant to be.
Harland Day knows what it's like to be on rock bottom: he was there once before, years ago when his mother walked out and left him behind. But he learned how to play the game and survived, crawling his way up with the help of a friend-turned-lover. This time is different: he has nobody to blame but himself for his trip to the bottom. His mouth, his attitude, his crappy play that landed him back in the minors instead of playing pro hockey with the Baltimore Banners. And this time, he doesn't have anyone to help him out, not when his own selfishness killed the most important relationship he ever had.