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Play by Play #4

Playing to Win

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A football player has to let down his guard in this Play-by-Play novel from New York Times bestselling author Jaci Burton.

Football star Cole Riley is notorious for doing as he pleases—on the field and off. He parties hard and fights harder, but if he doesn’t clean up his act, his career is over—so Cole reluctantly agrees to work with image makeover consultant Savannah Brooks. He’s not used to being told what to do, especially by some (admittedly hot) Southern belle. As for Savannah, she’s not convinced she can transform this cocky (and aggressively sexy) force of nature. But she’s determined to give it her best shot.

When the sparks start to fly, Savannah lays down the ground no personal complications. If she can turn off the tingle she feels every time Cole gives her a hot stare with his gorgeous baby blues, he can turn off his desire as well. But for two people determined to have it all, a hands-off policy can only last so long before one of them yields.

308 pages, Paperback

First published September 4, 2012

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About the author

Jaci Burton

172 books8,048 followers
Jaci Burton is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling, award-winning author of over 85 books. She lives in Oklahoma and when she isn’t on deadline (which is often), she can usually be found wrestling with her uncooperative garden, wrangling her dogs, watching an unhealthy amount of television, or completely losing track of time reading a great book. She’s a total romantic and longs for the happily ever after in every story, which you’ll find in all her books.. Visit her website at www.jaciburton.com for excerpts, book information and contests.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 699 reviews
Profile Image for Krystal.
156 reviews33 followers
September 4, 2012
Let's start with the cover of this book first, shall we?

Next, let's move onto Cole Riley...

"With his inky black hair and gorgeous, well-toned and muscular body, he stood out, even if he did wear his hair a little long and shaggy."

And how about that Savannah Brooks?

AND those hot sex scenes?!?!

That pretty much sums up this book for me. Loved everything about it. Cole needs to marry me. And all of you need to read this damn good book.
Profile Image for Auntee.
1,280 reviews1,380 followers
September 16, 2012
Wow. Yet another winner in Jaci Burton's Play By Play series...I don't know how she does it but keep 'em comin', Jaci!

In Playing To Win we get bad boy NFL wide receiver Cole Riley-- cousin to Mick (The Perfect Play), Gavin (Changing the Game), and Jenna (Taking a Shot) Riley. Twenty-nine year old Cole is 6 feet 200+ pounds of gorgeousness, but he has a fatal flaw--his self control. His short fuse has gotten him into trouble with the media, and has NFL teams giving up on him (despite his football talent). Nobody wants a hothead who can't get along with the media on their team, and it looks like hometown team St. Louis Traders may be Cole's last chance. Both ownership and Cole's new agent Liz (Changing the Game) want Cole to toe the line and change his ways. But Cole may need a little help remaking his reputation. That's when image consultant Savannah Brooks enters the picture. The southern blond beauty never met a client she couldn't help, but Cole may prove to be a difficult subject. He's stubborn and refuses to take responsibility for his actions. He's self-contained and not a friend to his teammates. People have him all wrong--he's not a bad guy, he's just being goaded by the media. Can Savannah work her magic on someone who doesn't think he needs help?



Well. Cole starts out as a bit of a jerk in this book, with the whole spoiled athlete bit. But gradually, as he starts to take Savannah's suggestions, he comes around and becomes waaay more likable. And there's definitely some major chemistry between Cole and Savannah (or "Peaches", as he calls her). Cole wants to hook up with the pretty, proper, blond, and Savannah fights like mad to keep their relationship "professional". In her mind, her career is all she has, and she's not about to blow it for a guy who's never been in a real relationship. Due to her upbringing, Savannah is too wary to let herself care for someone--and falling in love? Forget it. But what if Cole keeps tempting her? Can she really resist his charm and risk it all?

Typical of this series, this was another well-written, fast moving, super sexy book. At first Cole comes off as a stubborn, spoiled jerk, and wasn't that easy to like (no matter how hunky he was). But gradually, hearing his POV, we get to know him better and hear what he's thinking. And he becomes more likable.

Needless to say, the romance between Cole and Savannah is white hot, so have a cool drink handy.:) The sexual tension is quite high, builds and builds until...whew!

JB deals adequately with Savannah's crappy background, and the reader will certainly sympathize with her. She's a hard-working, self-made woman, and I was rooting for her to get her HEA with Cole.

Readers of this series will be happy to know that we get an update on all the couples: Mick and his ; Gavin and Liz (who has lots of snappy dialogue with both Cole and Savannah); and little sister Jenna and fiancé Tyler. We also get to meet Cole's family, including his sister Alicia whose story (Thrown by a Curve) is up next.

This is one of my favorite contemporary/erotic series right now. Jaci Burton always delivers a well crafted story with believable characters, smoldering sex scenes, and the perfect HEA to warm your heart. Although she may run out of Rileys soon, I think this series still has plenty of legs. Just keep serving up the studly sports stars, and I'll be reading them! 5 stars
Profile Image for Rosalinda *KRASNORADA*.
268 reviews503 followers
May 27, 2013

Nothing special, it was an ok read. Hot characters but the plot is very similar to the previous books. Predictable but enjoyable.
Profile Image for K.
130 reviews8 followers
August 3, 2013

Scared to start this because of all the bad reviews. The only book I've even enjoyed was Changing the Game. Had high hopes for Taking a Shot, but it sucked. *sigh* Well, it's due back at the library in a few days, so I'm going to just give it a go...

Edit - Horrible book. Everything about it. I only gave it a star because of the parts with Elizabeth. She was the only thing I enjoyed. I don't know why I continue to read books by Jaci. They're always written so badly. The dialogue is always so damn unrealistic. It's so frustrating. I've read every book in this series, and they've all sucked, except for Changing the Game.

Savannah was the fucking worst. Everything about her annoyed me. She was weak and unprofessional. She couldn't resist kissing Cole less than 24 hours after taking him on as a client. She kept going on and on about not wanting to risk her job, but she kept inviting him over to her house or going over to his, knowing that she found him completely IRRESISTIBLE. *rolling my eyes* Look, I love Liz and she risked a lot to be with Gavin, but at least she held off fucking him for four damn years. Savannah kept putting herself in ridiculous situations knowing how she felt, and then kept promising not to do it again. No one likes a tease! I don't even want to get into how she treated Cole like a infant. I swear, you would think he was the fucking Hulk. Make him mad, and he'd explode and kill everyone in the room. She was just an annoying, condescending bitch, and I hate everything about her character. The book should've ended with her death.

Cole didn't annoy too much. I hated the lame-ass dialogue he was given, but I understood him. He was a loner, like me. They made it seem like he was such a horribly mean person, but none of that was shown in the book. Yeah, it happened in the past, but none of the supposed anger he had shown the other teams even made a slight showing in this book. He was just able to immediately stay calm after a few talks with Savannah. If he had a real anger problem, this would not have been the case. Sure he got annoyed with Savannah a few times, but who wouldn't? She was an annoying bitch. I hated that he apologized to her so much, especially when he didn't do anything wrong. The part at the restaurant with wine made me want to strangle her. Could she have been any more condescending? Because being able to order wine really fucking matters? Knowing the last name of your friends really fucking matters? He was a saint to put up with her bullshit. Cole liked to go spend time at a club, drink, and dance a little. Maybe he'd go home with a girl and fuck. Big fucking deal. The media does exaggerate and dramatize things for celebs and sports figures, so I felt his pain. They didn't really go into details about the fights he had with his previous teammates and coaches, so I can't comment on that, but he seemed like a pretty level guy. Jaci should've written his character different because the shit didn't match up, in my opinion.

I skimmed the last 100 pages of the book because it was so bad. Worst book of the series. I want to say that I'm not going to read any more of them, but I just read the excerpt at the end for Thrown by a Curve, and it seems kind of interesting...lol I think I'm going to give it a shot. *sigh* I'm a glutton for punishment. I can't help it. :)
Profile Image for Kelly22.
417 reviews142 followers
September 18, 2012
4.00 Stars - Contemporary Sports Erotic Romance.

I couldn't help but picture Tom Brady as Cole Riley! Typical much?:P

Although football superstar Cole Riley excels both on the field and with the ladies, he falters big time in dealing with the press and the public! When his public image needs severe brush up, Savannah Brookes is just the magical PR lady hired by the team to do the job. But never did she imagine avoiding the super magnetic charm and killer good looks of this Riley would be such a chore in keeping things professional. Cole, an arrogant yet unexpectedly sensitive jock knows when a woman wants him. And he intends to play the game to win the lady! Piercing her practiced shield could either be a walk in the park for this experienced bad boy or could easily be the reason to lose his heart forever. Ms Burton skillfully writes to solve the dilemma.


With excellent dialogues, super heated love scenes, and striking protagonists, this installment proves well worth to be part of this super hit wonderful series and doesn’t disappoint.
September 6, 2012
Cole is a cousin to the rest of the Riley's and just moved home to St. Louis to play with the Traders football team. The problem is he has a bad attitude and needs some adjusting. Savannah Brooks is an image consultant and just the woman for the job.

If you've read any of the other books in the series, you'll know what to expect in this one. Cole and Savannah are really sweet together and it was great seeing Savannah break through Cole's bad boy shell. There are plenty of smexy scenes...especially one outside the bar!

My favorite part is all the family and prior characters coming together and hanging out. We get a few good scenes with them and it's funny hearing the girls give Savannah a hard time.

The next book is about Cole's sister, Alicia, who you get to meet in this book and there's a nice excerpt at the end.

Favorite quote:

♥ “Yeah, you’re a juicy little marshmallow, all right.”

{you have to read the book to get the quote but it makes me giggle!}

Profile Image for Choko.
1,198 reviews2,583 followers
March 6, 2016
*** 2.5. ***

I am a romance novel addict and since they were my first love, I tend to be very generous with my ratings. Usually. And I have learned to bite my tongue and take many shovenistic trades subtly encouraged in this genre. I can take a bullieing alpha, I loooove a good Dom, even an overprotective neanderthal can at times be tolerated. What l can not stand is a whiny man-child who never takes responsibility for any of his actions and blames all others for his mistakes and bad fortune!!! That is not a man, it is an useless baggage! This is how I perceived the male love interest in this book. I not only hated him, I had no respect for him, which is worse... Since he did reform some at the end, I am adding a point, but I could not buy a smart woman falling for him as he was throughout the rest of the book. It erased all sexyness that occurred, so all we were left with was a very mediocre read. I am hoping for better in the books to come!
Profile Image for QuinnReads.
2,828 reviews123 followers
January 26, 2021
I really like this series and this book! It gets a little deep sometimes - Savannah's childhood, Cole's reasons for not opening up- but also has plenty of light hearted moments.

This one has a plethora of steam to go with the egotistical, closed off football player and his image consultant. Savannah works her magic off the field, while Cole works his in the bedroom... and occasionally on the field.

Cole is a Riley so if you've read the other books in the series, you will get peeks at the couples in those earlier books. This is one of my favorite things in this series. On the other hand, you won't feel left behind if you pick this book up without having read the other books. Burton does a good job of providing enough details to make the story a standalone within the series.

Lucy Malone again takes the helm as the narrator.

Story: 4 stars
Narration: 3.5 stars
Profile Image for Juls.
450 reviews65 followers
September 5, 2012
The 4th installment in the play by play series by Jaci Burton did not disappoint! I was already half in love with Cole even before his book and he only got better and better throughout his story.

Savannah was hired by the Traders to “fix” Cole Riley. He’s the new guy who has been let go and picked up by multiple teams. He’s good but it seems as though no one really wants him.
Savannah is there to get him into shape, not physically but mentally. He’s got a bad attitude and isn’t shy about what he says or who he says it too and the media LOVES and feeds off that kinda of ruckus. But no more. She’s going to put a stop to it all.

Cole is the love em and leave em type. He never felt the need to get close to anyone. This has put a damper on his relationship with his team. He doesn’t feel as though he belongs and never made the effort to do so. So with the help of the sexy Savannah he’s spreading his wings.
He’s really a good guy at heart and it doesn’t take long for him to show his true colors. That bad boy persona was just an act to keep his heart safe. With help from Savannah and a lot of training and hard work on his part they both show everyone who he really is.

Savannah wants to be professional and do her job but she’s finding it hard to deny her attraction to Cole. Cole and Savannah spend a lot of time together. She may have been hired to change his image but slowly they are falling into a role that neither one of them are prepared for. And as much as she wants to fight it she cant and the lines between professionalism and personal become blurred.

The one things Savannah’s always needed and wanted was to feel as though she belonged to someone. Her childhood was no picnic and moving from one foster care to another because her mom didn’t want her has left her heart with a gaping void.
Can Cole heal her hurt or will Savannah be disappointed again?
Can Cole get his act together to save his career?
Will they find love?

I really enjoyed Cole and Savannah’s story and highly recommend to all romance readers.

Profile Image for Val ⚓️ Shameless Handmaiden ⚓️.
1,827 reviews29k followers
September 8, 2012

I've read all the play-by-play books and in my opinion this is the weakest of the series, which was disappointing because I was so looking forward to its release. Both Savannah and Cole are very like able, however, Savannah is really hot and cold and a bit of a cock tease, frankly. One minute she's adamantly refusing to jeopardize her career by sleeping with Cole and the next second she's jumping his bones and then fleeing. Repeat several times over. Cole's character betterment seemed to happen a little too quickly to be believable in my opinion. Also, something kind of trivial, and yet inherently annoying to me, were random timeline discrepancies. One night there was a party and a big deal was made of the players going home early and not drinking due to a next day practice, but then the next day rolls around and they wake up, go to breakfast, a tux fitting and then bam they are at a charity dinner. What happened to practice? Trivial I know, but poor editing? Also, Cole seemed to always, always, always, magically have a condom in his pocket. In every sex scene. Anyway, still a decent read, but the first of the series that doesn't make my "keeper shelf." Bummed.
Profile Image for Sheryl C. Nash.
1,714 reviews430 followers
Currently reading
September 5, 2012

Look at that cover!!!!! I'm going out of my MIND looking at it!!!!! Yummy... I'm such a book cover whore, I wonder if that is that hunk Jed Hill again. For that cover alone I'll give the book 5 stars!!! I'm shallow, I admit it! Really looking forward to this story!
Profile Image for Amanda Adams.
484 reviews63 followers
September 21, 2014
Let me start off saying I love this series. This book was good but it wasn't as great as the previous books. Seems like every single book seem to have the same plot. They meet fall in love then run from each other then make up and get engaged. Maybe I'm playing too much into it. *shrugs*.
Profile Image for Vasya.
381 reviews25 followers
January 30, 2016
It's not that this book is bad, I am just not in the right frame of mind for it. I'm not even going to rate it.
The point is, that if you liked the first three books in the series, you will also like this one. I would have, too, but the timing was just wrong.
Profile Image for Tori.
2,814 reviews477 followers
September 6, 2012
Originally posted at http://smexybooks.com/2012/09/review-...

Favorite Quote: “He took her breath away.”

Talented wide receiver Cole Riley should have the world at his feet, but his antics on and off the field have made him a liability. His agent tells him to shape up or else he’s done. Image consultant Savannah Brooks has agreed to help Cole clean up his image but isn’t sure she can take the bad out of this aggressively sexy man. When the sparks start to fly, Savannah lays down a few rules; hands off. But even Sam can’t help but respond to the sexual appeal Cole has, especially when he turns that gorgeous gaze on her. When Cole decides that he wants Sam in his life and bed, can she resist or will she play to win?

First off, once again, let us discuss Jaci Burton’s cover models. ZOMG! I know I’m not the only one who is staring at the strings on those pants, hoping they will magically start to unravel. Le sigh.

Playing To Win was, to me, a deviation from her last four books. The harder edges are distinctly softer, the romantic “conflict” more emotionally based, and there is none of the heavy external conflicts that came in to play with the previous installments, making it a little less enjoyable for me. Of course, we still have Burton’s requisite smoking hot male lead, sassy intelligent female, a solid plot, and some heavy, heavy smexying everywhere in between. I enjoyed the way this story reveals itself to you. It starts out with a VERY sexy masturbation scene and just goes uphill from there.

Burton does a nice job of developing Savannah and Cole’s relationship while revealing them to us as individuals. Starting out as a business relationship, even with the intense sexual chemistry, Burton keeps a healthy balance between the romance and the main plot. Savannah draws out Cole’s personality; letting us and herself get to know the real Cole. She soon realizes that he is much more complicated than she gave him credit for and not at all as the media portrays him. Cole likes to keep his personal and business life separate but his aggressive personality works against him.

Even though this is told from Savannah’s point of view, I almost felt as though I got to know Cole’s character much better than Savannah’s. Savannah is a gorgeous, intelligent woman. She is also very private and that privacy is felt in the book. She, like Cole, likes to keep her personal and business life separate and I found it very interesting how she pushed Cole to reveal all his personal life to her yet struggled to do the same. She says and does all the right things but you notice right away that she is hiding something.

The sexual heat and playfulness in this book made it a fun, abet, HOT read. Ms. Burton has a way of writing intense scenes that are both sensual and raw and neither of her characters are shy about what they want. Thanks goodness.

When he slid his hand from her breast to her rib cage to her belly, she wasn’t out to object. In fact, she rolled onto her back and spread her legs, hoping he’d get the message.
He lifted his lips and gazed down at her. “Something you want?”
“Yes. Well, I have a list, actually.”
His lips lifted in a devastatingly wicked half smile that made her clit quiver. “care to share that list with me?”
“Your hand on my pussy would be a great start.”
He glided his hand down, cupping her sex, using his fingers to rub over her sensitive flesh. she arched against him, reaching for his wrist to hold him where she needed him most.
“Feel good?” he asked.
She turned to look at him as he brought her right to the edge. “Yes.”

I love seeing old Riley’s and meeting new Riley’s. Their boisterous, nosy nature is offset by the love they feel for one another, though Liz continues to annoy me on a small level and I’m not sure why. They have no boundaries and will be up in your business in a heartbeat; offering advice, encouragement, and the proverbial slap upside the head when needed. Savannah LOVES the Riley’s and you sense that this family is what she wants and needs in her life.

As their relationship progresses, Savannah begins to fall for Cole and finds herself at odds with the feelings he invokes in her. She tries hard to keep their relationship strictly business but Cole pushes all her buttons and she finds herself wanting more but unable to admit that to herself. Here is where Savannah’s issues begin to surface. It’s all very low key though. Not her issues, but the reveal and resolution. As I stated earlier, this book is somewhat softer and more focused on the emotional issues of our hero and heroine. Savannah and Cole’s relationship has it’s ups and downs but Burton’s normally delicious tension wasn’t strong in here. I missed that. The main conflict and subplots are resolved easily and without much fanfare, and I felt like that was a weak point of the book.

I look forward to the fifth in the series, Thrown By A Curve, which revolves around Alicia Riley (Cole’s sister) and very HAWT, very bad tempered star pitcher-Garrett Scott.. Thrown By A Curve is set to release in March 5, 2013.

Overall Rating: C+
Profile Image for MARQUETTA.
1,110 reviews129 followers
August 31, 2012
Playing to Win is the fourth book in Jaci Burton’s Play by Play series, Cole Riley hasn’t had any luck with longevity with his football teams. After being traded to his 3rd NFL Team, Cole needs to clean up his image. In comes Savannah Brooks, a Georgia Peach who’s an expert at making over an image. Cole doesn't think that there’s anything wrong with his image. If his image is tainted, it’s because of the media, not him. Savannah’s job is to convince Cole to knock that chip off his shoulder and to play nice if he wants to have a long career with the Traders.

I really like this series. The covers are drool worthy and I love sports romances. With that being said, something was missing for me in this book. I could not connect with the characters or their relationship. I liked Cole and Savannah as individuals but wasn't completely sold on the chemistry and the attraction. What I want between the hero and heroines is hot, sizzling chemistry with a little angst thrown in. There was none of that. Cole and Savannah together was very blah. Cole wasn't happy about having Savannah underfoot, making over his image and I expected more outbursts from him and more conflict. I wanted passionate, heated arguments. There were arguments but they felt flat.

I kept comparing Playing to Win to Changing the Game, which is my favorite book of the series. There was so much heat and conflict and the characters were explosive in and out of bed. Maybe that's what I was hoping with Playing to Win. Is that fair of me to expect that? Probably not. But with the previous book in the series leaving me with ho-hum feelings, I was hoping that Playing to Win would bring back that spark.

Playing to Win was an ok read. Some parts were boring and I felt that we never found out why Cole closed himself off from people. Savannah's parental issues were revealed a little too late and I really didn't care at that point. Both personal issues of the characters could have been left out because it really didn't add anything to the story and didn't explain much.

I'm at the point where I don't know if I'm not sure I want to continue with the series. Playing to Win was better than the previous book but I felt that it could have been so much more. I didn't dislike it but I wasn't wow'd by it. I hate reading a book where I have no strong feelings towards it whether it's positive or negative. I guess I'll wait and see what book 5 brings and make my decision then.

Profile Image for Sunny.
1,426 reviews
September 11, 2012
3.5 stars

Cole Riley is a hotshot Wide Receiver for a fictional St. Louis Traders NFL team. He’s been recently traded despite having a record season with Green Bay. The problem? He’s got an image problem. His reputation as a hothead, narcissistic, egoist has worked against him. He wants his stats to speak for him, but his defensive reaction to the media has made him a team liability. In comes Savannah Brooks, an image specialist. She is hired by Cole’s new agent, Elizabeth Darnell (from Changing the Game) to rehabilitate his image.

This book is a departure from the previous three in the series. The sexual encounters do not drive this story. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of hot, steamy scenes, but it doesn’t dominate the narrative. The story is not complicated. Cole and Savannah’s attraction is instantaneous and physical, but they also share a fear of abandonment. Cole doesn’t make friends or put down roots with any team because he feels that the teams he has been on in the past have not fully committed to him. Savannah has a difficult childhood where her neglectful mother has abandoned her. The joy is watching these two figure out this journey together.

Jaci Burton has really hit her stride with this one. One of the most common critiques I have about sports romances is when an author doesn’t do anything with the sports angle. In more than a few stories, the occupation is incidental, not integral. The hero could be a cop, firefighter, soldier, etc. The fact that he/she is an athlete doesn’t mean much to the story except as an occasional filler. Jaci Burton, however, knows how to weave the athlete’s story into the narrative. Granted, there is probably less sports in this story than in her last, but the amount felt right - organic, not contrived.

This was a sweet read and I would recommend this to others. I am excited about the next installment, Thrown for a Curve.
Profile Image for Emily.
4,969 reviews524 followers
February 26, 2013
Cole Riley is the poster child for bad boy, no matter the exceptional amount of talent he has as a NFL player it hasn't stopped him from being traded to his home team the Traders. His agent and now wife to his cousin, will do everything in her power to keep Cole from being traded again including hiring a makeover/PR consultant who has a knack for working miracles.

Cole can't seem to take his eyes off of the feminine beauty at a party he is at with his team, when he meets Savannah and her southern sass he is more than intrigued. Not realizing she has been hired to help him clean up his act, he is both hostile and aroused by the blunt woman. Cole is willing, as much as it pains him, to listen to what she has to say, but he also knows she is fighting her attraction to him and he wants to uncover every secret she has along the way.

I am torn on this one, there were aspects I loved like the opening chapter thought it was perfect for drawing the reader in. I thought the chemistry was electric and loved the witty taunts between Cole an Savannah. What I did struggle with was Cole's attitude with everyone is out to get him, but it is not fully explained why, there is a reason an it is mentioned but more in passing than actually a realization moment. Savannah, although I liked her a lot, I did think at times she droned almost to the edge of being preachy but at the same point it worked for what she needed to do with the story. Overall another fantastic book from Jaci Burton, I just wondered if there was some pieces left on the editing floor.
Profile Image for Renee.
1,193 reviews17 followers
September 8, 2012
Jaci Burton is one of my favorite authors I love her type of fluff! This one was missing something and I think that maybe Savannah was keeping her family and lack of a secret but then when we found out about her Mother it was no big deal. I mean nothing compared to Liz and Tara and what they grew up in and around. It seemed maybe a little less important than the others in this series.

What I loved was the Riley family and of course having Kathleen and Uncle Jimmy back behind the bar was cool too. I love that at the time when Savannah was doubting herself she confided in Liz and was shocked when Liz didn't ask what was up, but instead told her she knew everything. I think that is when Savannah turned herself around realizing that she would have Tara, Liz, Julia and Alicia as sisters if she was open to them.

There was of course tons of steam and that was without a doubt 5* smoking heat
Profile Image for Annaiss.
245 reviews
September 15, 2012
Eh, ¿Qué les puedo decir acerca de Playing to Win? Primeramente, el libro no fue tan bueno como esperaba y ni tampoco tuvo la "esencia" que caracteriza a los libros anteriores en la serie. La actitud de Cole (primo de Mike, Gavin y Jenna) la mayoría de las veces en lugar de ser sexy era frustrante, ¡nada comparado con Mike, Gavin o Ty!

Y sí, Cole y Savannah hasta cierto grado son fueron genial juntos, pero tampoco se compara con las relaciones de sus primos. Ay, ¡es que le faltó un no sé qué! Espero que el siguiente libro en la serie Play by Play esté mejor que éste. Ojo, tampoco estoy diciendo que sea un libro malo, simplemente no creo que fue de mi gusto, he visto muy buenas reseñas sobre él; así que probablemente soy yo y mi creencia de que nadie le llegará ni a los talones a mi querido Gavin.
Profile Image for Monique Pearson.
Author 3 books41 followers
October 30, 2018
Great chemistry, nice back story for both characters. Loving the updates from previous series characters and the "sisterhood" the ladies have formed. This one was more predictable unfortunately.
Profile Image for Jess.
1,028 reviews155 followers
September 4, 2012
Review posted: Happily Ever After - Reads

Cole needs some help with his image, whether he wants it or not and he most definitely does not. He’s bounced around from team to team in the NFL, his name is in the news, mostly in a negative way, and the impression he gives off isn’t a good one. He has a temper which doesn’t help matters and his first instinct is to always go on the defensive about everything. Enter Savannah, hired to give Cole a makeover or sorts. She’s going to help him fit in with his new team in St. Louis, teach him how to properly deal with the media and get him out there in a positive way. He’s resistant at first, but his immediate attraction to Savannah keeps him from ditching the whole plan and he allows her access into his life so she can observe his day to day routine and help guide him in the hopes of making St. Louis the team he stays with for the long haul.

Right off, I loved Savannah. She’s no nonsense and she keeps her head and her cool, especially when Cole isn’t the easiest guy to work with at the start. She takes pride in her job and knows she’s good at what she does. I liked how she guided Cole. She never came across as superior when she pointed out things he needed to be aware of. She did it in such a way that was constructive and really opened his eyes to how he was coming off and being perceived. She helps from everything from opening himself up to his teammates, when before he looked at them as rivals, she gets him to see them as true teammates all working toward the same football season goals. She works with him on how to handle the media and to not take every question personally and she makes him think about his future and what he wants to do outside of football. It sounds easy enough, but Cole wasn’t the easiest guy to work with.

Cole was a hard man to like at the start. He had an attitude, a chip on his shoulder that came from being traded away from multiple teams and he didn’t really care. He was out for #1 and everyone else was in the wrong and out to get him. He didn’t make it easy on Savannah. He wasn’t flat out mean, but he certainly didn’t think he needed any help. Little by little she chipped away and he got on board once he started seeing that her suggestions were making a difference. Savannah opened up his eyes to what life could be like outside of the meaningless “friends” he has at the nightclubs that he frequents at the start. She slowly works her way into his life in the best way possible and he likes what he sees and is experiencing with her there.

“I think I might take you right here in the hall,” he said, his voice rough and low. “I don’t think I can wait.” He licked along her collarbone, his tongue dipping into the swell just above her breasts. “What would you think about that?”

Think? She had no thoughts. Her mind had gone liquid, like the rest of her. She couldn’t believe he was still holding her, that every part of her body quivered, and that she was so close to an orgasm that one touch, one lick, would set her off. She swallowed past the dryness in her throat and fought for an answer.

“I think you can do whatever you want to with me.”

He laughed, the sound wicked and devilish. “I’m planning on it.”

Their sex – hot. As always with Jaci Burton’s Play-by-Play series, the sex scenes are smoking hot, sexy, steamy, everything you've come to expect with this series. For as professional and conservative as Savannah is in her career, she likes sex and she really likes it with Cole. It felt like a great balance between their overall story and the sex, neither overpowering the other. I always like seeing a hero who initially says he will never fall for a woman like the rest of the Riley men in his family, but ends up falling hard and falling fast for the right woman.

I always enjoy the actual sports scenes in a book like this. There are a few small scenes when the football season starts that lets us see Cole out on the field and how he’s playing like a true teammate now. The book ends with Cole’s team in mid-season, it’s a small detail but I want to know how the season ends up and I hope that thread carries over in the next book, led by Cole’s sister Alicia.

I had a great time reading this book. Savannah hooked me in from the start. I enjoyed her scenes with not only Cole but with the other women of the series (Liz continues to be a big scene stealer, I love that woman) and I really appreciated how she worked with Cole. She never made him feel bad for how he puts himself out there to the public and helped him in small ways making a few changes that had a huge impact for him. Cole grew on me. With Savannah’s influence, he turned into a hero that I enjoyed by book’s end, a nice guy with a big heart. This was a very fun read and a nice addition to the series.

Bonus quote about Liz, because I love her:

(Prior to Gavin and Liz’s wedding)

“Leave it to Liz to need to make an entrance,” Gavin said as he looked out the window.

“Maybe she bailed on you.”

Gavin shot his brother, Mick, a glare. “She’ll show up. Or I’ll hunt her down and kill her.”

That made Mick laugh. “You do realize you’re in a church.”

“And God knows Elizabeth. He’d forgive me.”

Profile Image for Nicki.
3,618 reviews151 followers
January 3, 2020
Just because Cole does not think he needs help taking charge of his image does not mean he cannot work with Savannah. But the more time he spends with her the more he sees himself through her eyes. Sparks fly, passion ignites and in the end it is not only his image but his love for the game and Savannah that improves. Great characters and a great series. I cannot wait to read more.
Profile Image for Nicole.
1,523 reviews173 followers
September 4, 2012
Full Review originally posted here: http://thebookpushers.com/2012/09/04/...

Whenever an author combines my love of romance with my dedication to all things sports, it’s a match made in heaven. When Burton does it, I get all warm and tingly on the inside.

Cole is a wild-child and not known for his teamwork, instead he’s built his career on a reputation that is making him less and less desirable for agents and owners alike. He’s got an attitude problem, a problem with authority, and a general distaste of all things PC. But now that he signed with his agent Liz, he said he would do anything to make sure that he isn’t dropped from another roster. Little did he know he was being signed up to an image makeover from the one woman who seems immune to his charms.

Savannah is nowhere near to being immune to Cole, but her career and reputation are more important than chiseled abs and dreamy eyes. Savannah has a very distinct plan in place to turn around Cole’s image, but he is fighting her at every turn. Ever so slowly, Cole begins doing as she asks and his reputation starts taking a turn. At the same time, Savannah can no longer control the sparks and the two embark on a whirlwind romance.

I love the Play-by-Play series, but I think that this book might actually be one of my favorites. I loved that the book was filled with sexual tension, that Cole and Savannah didn’t jump into bed together right away. I loved that they didn’t have a ton of external drama to deal with in their relationship. Instead, they both had to come to grips with their feelings, realize what was really important in life and make the commitment. Every now and then I need a no angst book, and I felt like Cole and Savannah really delivered on that front.

I’ll admit there were a few moments in the beginning that Cole got on my nerves. He was a big wildcard. He had an ego the size of the world, and enough problems with authority that he came across as a self-absorbed prick. Especially with his first couple interactions with Savannah, it took awhile for me to see beneath the gruff exterior to the guy he really was beneath it all. But once those layers were peeled back, I fell hard for Cole. He was sweet and caring and a little scared at the core of himself, and his actions quickly started speaking louder than words.

While I enjoyed Savannah’s character, she was a lot more subdued than the previous heroines in this series. She reminded me of the southern belle, no drama version of Liz. Her career was her number one priority, and despite the attraction between her and Cole, she was scared to act on it because of the possible conflict of interest to her reputation. She was full of integrity and although she allowed her body to take over a few times, her mind would usually prevail. Burton did a good job at flipping the stereotypical after sex responses with these two. I loved seeing Cole squirm every time Savannah ran.

We also got introduced to the next heroine, and I have to admit that I am so so so excited to read her book. Cole’s family was one of the best aspects of this book, especially since he is part of the extended Riley clan. But there was something about his relationship with his sister, and her onpage moments that has me super excited for the next in the series. Even the little teaser at the end was a killer, getting teased with the first chapter or so always gets me every time!

All in all I really enjoyed this installment to the series. I loved Cole and Savannah, and although they came across as the most laid-back couple in the series so far, they were also (IMO) the sweetest. I loved their slow build romance and lack of drama journey to ever after. With the introduction of new family members and future heroes and heroines, this series continues to be at the top of my list.
I give Playing to Win a B+
Profile Image for MISS VAIN.
200 reviews496 followers
September 4, 2012
Cole shook his head. "Women and love and marriage and weddings and babies? I remember when all we could think about was sports. And getting laid."

"Not this guy. I like my life just the way it is."

Playing to Win is a  love story that follows a hard to love football star Cole Riley and his image consultant Savannah Brooks. Cole Riley may be a charming, well built, good looking and successful NFL football player, yet despite his success he's often traded to other teams due to his tumultuous relationships with those around him. However, the only one surprised by the need for an image coach is, yes you guessed it Cole Riley. Surprisingly he's reluctant to confide in his new consultant except to tell her that he has no need for her services since he has yet to admit he has a problem. I mean let's face the facts, when the media is out to portray you in a negative light and the paparazzi takes pictures of you causing fights and scenes.....right?....Errrrr well according to Cole Riley, that is until Savannah Brooks opens his eyes to not only his degrading and self deprecating behavior but his accomplishments as well.

Slowly these two start to not only become professionals working together they become friends before they become lovers. These two instantly have an attraction to one another yet, they're both stubborn to give into their passion and carnal desires. Cole is unwilling to settle with only one woman when it's quite obvious that being gorgeous, rich and an NFL football player he can have his pick of any woman or "fan" he chooses, but his heart wants to follow a southerner named Savannah. Whereas Savannah has true feelings for Cole, but she's hesitant to expose herself and become vulnerable to him at the risk of jeopardizing her career she has devoted her adult life to success in her profession while her personal life suffers. 

He straightened, then his lips curved in a hint of a smug smile. "And that's what I'd do with a woman I was out on a date with, peaches. Except it wouldn't end there. " He turned and got into his car, started up the engine, and pulled away. Savannah opened the door, the cold of the air conditioning inside doing nothing to quell the blast of heat burning inside her body.

No, it definitely wouldn't have ended there.
Not if they'd been on a real date.
Not if he really belonged to her.

I was expecting explosive sex, and fiery passion between this sultry image consultant and her reluctant bad boy football star but unfortunately I felt Playing to Win was lacking in those categories. It was a good read, yet I found myself a bit bored at times as the plot moved slower than I had anticipated at times. I hate to say it, but I wanted more sex scenes and scorching erotica sex and I was left yearning for more kink or even maybe perhaps more of an engaging storyline however this one fell a bit short for me. I liked it, I didn't love it, the sex was steamy, yet not enough and perhaps maybe I'm in the minority and another reader will love it. Upon my completion of reading Playing to Win I was left feeling ambivalent as to whether I would recommend this book to any readers, but it definitely had its likable moments, and I do recommend it for fans of Jaci Burton. 

"Your cock is beautiful.," she said.
"It's not beautiful. It's tough and manly."

P.s. Look at this cover....Isn't it beyond drool worthy? 

3.5 Stars

ARC provided for review by Penguin

Review also on my blog click to enter my giveaway until midnight September 11th 2012 Miss Vain's Paranormal Fantasy

Profile Image for Kame.
795 reviews36 followers
September 29, 2012
“Does the idea of a woman paying for dinner offend your masculinity?”
“Hell, yes. Deal with it.”

Playing to Win is the fourth book in the Play-by-Play series by Jaci Burton and it is right in line with all of the other titles in this series. They are dominated by alpha male athletes and strong successful business women. The first three titles were each about one of the Riley siblings (Mick, Gavin and Jenna) this new title is about their cousin Cole; a professional football player.

Cole has bounced around the NFL and had been dropped by his agent; the perception, he is hard to work with on the field and off the field a PR nightmare with the reputation of an egomaniac and ladies’ man. Family helps family so Liz, his cousin Gavin’s fiancé, has signed on as his agent and worked her magic to bring him to the Traders – his hometown team. This is his last chance, so Liz is bringing in the big guns, an image consultant. Savannah Brooks ranks as one of the best image consultants, and she is friends with Liz; therefore the perfect person to help Cole change his image. There is attraction between Cole and Savannah immediately. Both try to ignore the chemistry – Savannah never mixes business with pleasure – until Cole.

Out of all the couples in the Play-by-Play series Cole and Savannah are my favorite. Cole has a real soft side he rarely lets anyone see, which I loved. He is thoughtful and loyal. Savannah zeroed in immediately on the issues that harmed Cole’s image. She saw past his wall of self-preservation to the real Cole. Right from the first time she meets him she realizes the real Cole and the Cole in the tabloids are not the same person. Cole and Savannah can be sweet and they can sizzle. And can they sizzle – in the bedroom or the other interesting places they find!

This book also has appearances of all the main characters from the three previous books. I loved catching up on Mick & Tara, being at Liz & Gavin’s wedding and hearing about the new bar with Ty & Jenna. Jaci Burton writes about characters I want to spend time with, people who have flaws and tough childhoods. Jaci Burton’s dialogue makes you laugh. This has got to be some of my favorite dialogue of all time.

“What’s wrong” (Liz)
“Nothing’s wrong… Things are great” (Savannah)
“Did I ever mention I have an excellent bullshit meter” (Liz)
(Savannah explains the situation)
Liz laid her coffee cup down. “F@# a donut sideways. He did not.”

Book Five in the series comes out in March 2013 – hmmm I think I can preorder. I definitely want to visit with all of these characters again and read about Cole’s sister Alicia, a sports therapist, and the baseball player she is assigned to get ready for Opening Day!

A solid 4 stars!
Profile Image for mer‧₊˚✩彡 .
1,359 reviews52 followers
August 27, 2014
4 stars

As always, I like Rileys and it's the sports romance, the more reason to love it.

I enjoyed reading of how the story went. Cole the some-sort of lone ranger pro football player and being troublemaker jeopardized his career. Savannah came into his life to coach and form the newly nice ideal image of Cole. Within so, the two liked and enjoyed each other until love bloomed and burst.

Cole is hot but I liked it when he tried his best to do good and started to do something different. I liked it he tried to approach Savannah and showed that he really cared about her. Regardless of their not-so-bombastic romance, the small tiny bit chemistry was there anyway. At least, I could feel the passion and love between them. I felt sorry for Savannah. It was heart wrenching reading about the lack of love in her life, especially from her mother. But then, with her to be Riley soon, she would infinity of love from the huge, loving family.

Read on your peril.

P/S I can't wait for Garrett and Alicia's story in the next installment! Read the excerpt and from what I gathered things sound very interesting.
Profile Image for Betsy.
86 reviews9 followers
September 14, 2012
I'd like to give this 4.5 stars - wish there was that option with stars. I really liked this book a lot. Having read the other three books in the series though, I found myself in love with Cole, but not absolutely enamored of Savannah- that's the only reason for the minus half a star. Now don't get me wrong, she was still a great character - just not as moving as the others I guess or maybe there wasn't the depth. Not sure - just my impression. Still a fantastic addition to the series (I wasn't disappointed by any stretch) - and I'm really looking forward to reading Alicia's story next. Sounds like it'll be an awesome read too!
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