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Play by Play #1

The Perfect Play

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Football pro Mick Riley is an all-star, both on the field and in the bedroom. But a sexy, determinedly single mom just might be the one to throw him off his game...

For years Mick has been taking full advantage of the life available to a pro athlete: fame, fortune, and a different girl in every city. But when he meets and beds confident, beautiful event planner Tara Lincoln, he wants much more than the typical one-night stand. Too bad Tara's not interested in getting to know football's most notorious playboy any better.

As the single mother of a teenage son, the last thing Tara needs is the jet-set lifestyle of Mick Riley; even though their steamy and passionate one-night stand was unforgettable. Tara's life is complicated enough without being thrust into the spotlight as Mick's latest girl du jour. Tara played the game of love once and lost big, and she doesn't intend to put herself out there again, especially with a heartbreaker like Mick.

But when Mick sets his mind to win, nothing will stop him. And he has the perfect play in mind.

324 pages, Trade Paperback

First published February 1, 2011

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About the author

Jaci Burton

145 books8,047 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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5 stars
13,416 (34%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,105 reviews
Profile Image for Shawna.
3,510 reviews4,569 followers
January 7, 2015
5 stars – Contemporary/Sports Erotic Romance

Thoughts Before Reading:

OHHH-MYYY-GAWWWD!! I have absolutely zero saliva left after staring at this epitome of cover HOTness! Seriously, call a doctor quick 'cause I think I've swallowed my tongue.

Thoughts After Reading:

I think a review for this book is about the equivalent of crotchless panties or raspberry sauce on chocolate cake...totally unnecessary. I mean with a tongue swallowing, eyes bulging cover like this, who really gives a @%*$ what the story is, right? Well, the even better news is that it’s actually a great erotic romance with a too “perfect”, too sexy, to die for hero that can only be found in Romancelandia. And yes, the sex is as satisfying and as smokin’ HOT as the cover! 5 studtastic stars!
Profile Image for Auntee.
1,281 reviews1,381 followers
January 29, 2011
Just in time for the upcoming Super Bowl is Jaci Burton's smokin' hot new release, The Perfect Play. And what a perfect sports romance it is! Starting with the gorgeous cover...


(C'mon, how can you resist that cover model?)

Things just get better after that. The story has an almost Cinderella-like feel to it. Mick Riley (30) is Mr. Tall (6 1/2 feet), Dark (black hair, blue-eyed) and Sexy (killer physique); a millionaire superstar quarterback for the San Francisco Sabers. Mick's a hard working athlete, but has never had to work for female companionship. Women flock to him, starlets, supermodels...you name it. His female sports agent (a real obnoxious, beautiful, power-hungry redhead named Elizabeth) wants nothing more than to see Mick on a red carpet escorting the hottest actress, or at some charity event with a beautiful model on his arm. Anything to get him into the spotlight so he can make more money on endorsements. Of course these dates never amount to much for Mick...there's no connection beyond the easy sexual conquest, and Mick is getting a bit bored with them if he's honest with himself. One day after a hard off-season workout at the team's facility, he spots a pretty blonde with killer legs wandering around lost looking for the Sabers team offices. After a brief but friendly conversation where Mick directs her where to go, he realizes that the beautiful-in-a-natural-way blonde intrigues him. Enough that he would like to pursue her. And isn't that a first? Mick never has to pursue any woman.


Tara Lincoln is a 30-ish, hard-working, fiercely independent single mother of a 14 year-old-son, who owns her own event planning business. Tara's worked hard to overcome her crummy childhood, and her newly established business (The Right Touch) is about to take off. She's not looking for a relationship--men have let her down in the past--she's all about securing the future for her son Nathan and making sure that he doesn't make the same mistakes in his life that she did in hers. But when she meets Mick Riley at the summer team party that her company has planned, she's tempted. Oh, so tempted...He's charming, funny, interesting, and drop-dead gorgeous! And he seems interested in her. Why is that when he could have any woman he wanted?

Well, I'll say no more. Mick and Tara embark on a relationship, and what a hot, sexy ride it is! Jaci Burton fills the story with plenty of detail, so you know where the characters are coming from and you can understand their actions. There's oodles of juicy hot sex, of course, and there's plenty of wining and dining of (the initially reluctant) Tara by Mick. Tara is introduced to a world that is very foreign to her, one of red carpet events, vacations to exotic beaches (oh, was that a hawt escape), and flights to St. Louis to hang out with Mick's wonderful, loving family, and to watch his professional baseball player brother in action. All the time they spend with each other brings them closer together, yet Tara is constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop, it seems. She knows they come from different worlds, and wonders how once the NFL season starts, if their relationship can last. Do they really have more of a relationship than the "I've-got-to-have-him/her" hot sex? Does Mick want more than just a hot summer fling? And what about her business? Will it start to suffer if she's all wrapped up in Mick? And how about Nathan? Is she shortchanging him if she continues to see Mick? Shouldn't her first priority be her son?


I have to say I adored Mick. Yes, he had a bit of a womanizing past, put I figured that's just par for the course for a professional athlete. He wasn't perfect (he had a 'secret' that he kept hidden and worried about revealing it to Tara), but he was real. He had a big heart, was great with Tara's son (that alone should've sealed the deal), and was a fantastic, giving lover. He was close to his family, super rich, and gorgeous--what woman wouldn't want him?

Tara had a bit of a 'this-can't-be-happening-to-me" attitude going on, and who couldn't blame her. She wavered between going all out and giving herself to Mick (and she had no problem on that end--the lady knew what she wanted!) and let the chips fall where they may, to "should-I-protect-my-heart" before it's too late? I could understand her feelings, since Mick had never been in a long-term relationship and she didn't know if he was capable of love. But she did tend to frustrate me a bit. I wanted her to trust Mick and believe in a future with him.


I really enjoyed this story. It had all the elements that I'm looking for in an erotic romance. Besides the extremely hot and well-written love scenes, there was a story here--one that took up three quarters of the book. Plenty of detail, a fast pace with no boring parts, lots of background on the characters and their families, interesting supporting characters, funny dialogue, white hot dialogue, a bit of drama and some angst, a revealing look into the life of a celebrity, and most importantly, likable characters that you can root for.

If I had one tiny quibble, and this doesn't usually bother me, it was this: Whenever Tara and Mick were intimate, it was always "F*** me, Mick!" Never once did Tara say "Make love to me Mick." But in no way did this mess with my appreciation of the story.

Fans of (erotic) sports romance, Jaci Burton scored a touchdown with this one. As for the next story in the series (Changing the Game), about Mick's brother and his agent Elizabeth...I dunno, she's going to have to do some creative writing to get me to like that barracuda. She's already dropped some hints that Elizabeth may have a heart beneath that tough shark veneer, but is it enough to make her character likable? I guess we'll have to wait and see. For The Perfect Play? I'll award the extra point and give it 5 stars.

Warning: This book contains explicit sex, including oral, (one) anal scene, and a rimming scene; and graphic language. Not for the faint of heart.
Profile Image for Stacia (the 2010 club).
1,045 reviews3,954 followers
December 4, 2013
What an overrated book. Nothing about the story was new or interesting to me. The sex scenes were hot, but if you want to read a hot sex scene, it's just as easy to pick up an erotica, which I'd rather do to be honest.

The story aggravated me on so many levels. It felt like I had fallen into a manufactured after-school special on the dangers of alcohol. I have a teen son and I'm telling you now, he would never be caught dead saying this : I didn't know. I just wanted to be cool like the other guys. It doesn't matter if those are/would be his motives for drinking, he would never say those words out loud, and I'm guessing most teenagers wouldn't either.

Also, since when is the "announcement" of someone admitting to be an alcoholic such an earth-shattering moment? I almost expected to hear the faint sounds of a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie in the background. Now, if the guy had admitted he was a raging alcoholic who couldn't stop taking out his anger on people - that might have been another story. But to see a woman get so emotionally worked up because the guy she's dating admitted he partied too much in high school and now he chooses to abstain because he realized he was drinking way too much back then? Give me a fucking break.

Please let me disclaimer that I am not taking alcoholism lightly. I have experienced the downfalls of it first hand, as I'm sure many of us have through close friends and family members. This disease can wreck lives. Maybe because I know how much it can wreck lives, I was very disappointed in how ridiculous this particular version of alcoholism seemed like a silly plot device.

This is the woman's reaction when she figures out why "Mick" has refused her offers of a drink over the past few weeks.

Her throat went dry as the realization of all these weeks together finally fell into focus. But she waited, not asking, knowing it had to come from Mick.

"I'm an alcoholic, Tara."

The gut punch hurt. She palmed her stomach, was glad she was sitting, because the room spun.

"How long?"

"Since I was a teenager. Still think I lived a perfect life?"

She didn't know if she was angry or hurt, at him or for him.

Really? A gut punch? A bit melodramatic, I'd say. Now, if she had immediately fessed up to having past issues with people drinking in her life, I would have said...oh yeah, that sucks. No one wants to have to open old wounds

Oh, but we have to understand because this woman did have her own normal seedy past, and she gave us her own words of "it's okay, most of us have been there and none of us had profound reasons for doing what we did" wisdom. Here's her gem from earlier in the book : By then, I was drinking, doing a few drugs too, anything to numb the pain, you know? Now, I know where the kid gets his lingo from. Apparently, mother and son watched one too many Lifetime movies together.

Last complaint. I'm thoroughly sick of every "single mother" story being about a woman who is emotionally unavailable. I'm tired of so many single mom stories painting this bleak picture of someone who has sacrificed 100% for her kids and won't date because their child comes first in every single area of their life. Yet, the person is sad and hollow on the inside, just subconsciously waiting for a man to come and set them free.

Usually single moms (again, been there, done that, got the t-shirt) don't date because they don't have a sitter, they're too busy with work, or they don't have the time to go somewhere to meet men. It's not because we don't want to date, or automatically assume that any guy who tries to get close to us is a dead end. I dated here and there when I was a single mom, and was wise enough to keep my dating life separate from my home life until I was seriously involved with someone. I'm guessing most moms are sensible enough to do the same thing.

In closing, this book was so not my thing. Why the 2 stars instead of 1? I actually did enjoy a couple of the sex scenes. It wasn't a total fail...

Profile Image for Giorgia Reads.
1,010 reviews1,958 followers
April 7, 2020
This was a cringe fest of cliches.

It was so stupid, annoying, aggravating and oh.. did I mention stupid?

It’s my fault. I mean I read the reviews, I knew the chances for this to be a bust were high but I mean can you blame me? Look at that COVER, it’s what wet dreams are made of 🙈

The whole Liz thing was so annoying, she was awful and Mick was pathetic.

The characters in this book are up there with the most one dimensional characters I’ve had the bad luck of reading.

Next book is gonna be about Liz - the awful witch so yeah, not even the cover aesthetics are gonna make me try that one. You can’t have a character be so... ughh and then all of a sudden they turn into mother Theresa?! That’s not character development, it’s plain stupid, you need skills to be able to make that work, skills that are lacking by the look of this book..

At least I didn’t waste that much time on this book because I realised it was trash so I skimmed..

Now, I’m gonna be honest and say that I’m tempted to try the later book in the series.. praying that they’re better 🤞🏻

These covers.. they are just perfect for a sports romance series, I wanna look at them .. a lot!
Profile Image for Julie James.
Author 28 books9,471 followers
December 30, 2010
This says it all: I have a ten week-old baby who wakes up every three hours, so sleep is a hot commodity right now. Yet I stayed up late to finish this book because I so wanted to see Mick and Tara get their happy ending. Loved the characters, particularly the hero, who is protective and alpha without being overbearing or angst-y. And it's quite a hot read!
Profile Image for Catarina.
896 reviews1,967 followers
January 3, 2015
3,5 Playing Stars.

Tara is a single mother, who got pregnant when she was just a teenager and manage to raise her son alone and create her own business. She’s happy alone, or so she thinks.
Enters Mick, famous American Football player, they met at a party she organized and he is immediately taken aback by her. And for the first time he finds himself wanting to pursue a woman. But between being a single mother, his public life and secrets buried in the past, this will probably be the hardest game Mick ever had to play.


If you want to read a quick, romantic and very steamy book, this a good choice. It wasn’t an unforgettable book and the writing style was sometimes confusing, not to mention that for a book whose plot as a single mother with a teenage son, there wasn’t that much of the son. Nonetheless, it was entertaining and a good series for when you need a “heavy-book-break”.


Rating: 3,5 Stars
Characters Development: Tara was probably one of the most immature heroines I’ve ever seen. She created drama for no reason at all and saw the bad in everything. For someone who was tried to pass as a strong woman who raised her son alone, she could be worse than a child sometimes. Mick was okay. He was sweet, and sexy and a good guy, but for someone who used to a player (in the non-literal sense of the word) he certainly became a good guy pretty much instantaneously. I really didn’t like Liz, so I don’t know if I want to read the next book, considering is about her.
Steam: HOT!
Sensible Subjects:
Love Triangle:
Profile Image for Didi.
865 reviews288 followers
January 15, 2015

As far as sports romance goes, this was very OKAY. One Night With A Quarterback for example, or even better, The Hook Up by Kristen Callahan, a fave of mine for 2014, were fantastic. This lacked so much for me. First off, I felt there was too much sex. I didn't feel an emotional connection between the hero and heroine till maybe the last 5%. It seemed their relationship was based on sex and hardly more, though I knew they were getting close.
Tara was overly judgmental of Mick when she had no reason to be. I understood she was scared and weary, but it was OTT. The scene towards the end at the carnival is a great example. She judged the situation so harshly it was comical when to anyone else it was obvious Mick was oblivious.

I know I'm being hard on Tara, but if I don't like the heroine it pretty much ruins the book for me. She didn't want her heart broken again? Sure. But that happened what, . News flash, Tara: EVERYONE gets their heart broken as a teenager! Had she felt unworthy or afraid of love because of her upbringing it would have been more believable. In the end, it seemed Tara was looking for a reason to leave Mick.

Another of my irritations with Tara was her oddly out of place, take charge attitude in the bedroom. It'd been a long time since she was with anyone, doing anything, but all of a sudden with Mick she became this other woman. My problem wasn't her taking charge but how unlikely that would be considering her lack of experience. She kept declaring when she was going to come, how close she was to coming, how what Mick was doing would make her come, how she wanted to come...it was just out of place and too much. It also blemished Mick's alpha vibe when I would have preferred him to take charge in the bedroom especially with someone who hadn't been with a man in ages.

Anyways, this was disappointing and dragged in some places. I started skimming then skipping the sex scenes because once you've read one, you've read them all in this book. The only thing I did like was seeing Mick, the bonafide playboy fall for an average woman and that woman, having had a hard time with life, getting a jackpot in Mick. There was some sweetness and Mick's treatment of Nathan was admirable, therefore this book wasn't a complete bust, so 2 stars.
Profile Image for Mo.
1,351 reviews2 followers
June 12, 2013
3.5. I suppose I should bump it up to four for the cover cos that is serioulsy HOT. Loved Mick and his family. Tara was a bit harder to like - why was she trying so hard NOT to have a relationship with him. OK, she was a single mother of a teenage son but she was entitled to a life and happiness too. Don't know the first thing about American Football but I wouldn't mind being down the dressing room after a game ....

May 6, 2021
2.5-3 it got better as it went along stars

Okay, so let me state the obvious: that cover is straight up lickable. YES PLEASE. And the H is definitely described as such within the pages as well, so from a hot alpha male type, he was what you would expect there. Beyond that, there just wasn't a lot of substance to the story. And while I love me some steamy goodness, there was more of that and less of the actual relationship development, so that was something that just didn't click for me. In addition, there were some super cheesy moments between the MCs that were cringe-worthy. That said, the cheese aspect got better, and there was a little more substance as the story went along, but it never really fully got there for me. If you are looking for a more shallow, sex-based story, this will definitely work.

Tara Lincoln is an event planner and single mother (since she got pregnant at 15), and both her responsibilities as a mother and drive to establish a successful business have left zero time for romantic entanglements. In fact, she has never even introduced her nearly 15 year old son to any man before, so she is definitely not looking for anything long term until her son is in c0llege and her business is booming. When she meets Mick Riley and he singles her out at a preseason event she pulls together for his NFL team, she is surprised, flattered, and down for a night of fun. But that's all it can be, right? She's not one of the actresses or celebrities Mick is constantly photographed with, so there is no way he would have any interest in her beyond a one-night stand.

Tara is definitely not the type of woman the #1 quarterback in the NFL is seen with, but he actually likes that about her. She isn't interested in him for his fame or money; he is the one that pursued her all night. And when he finds her gone in the morning, Mick is determined to track her down and get a second date. He is shocked when she resists him, but that only makes him more determined. The fact that she has a kid is actually a plus for him - he loves kids, and hers is a good one. But what will happen when the season begins? Does this summer love dry up with it? Was it just a fling? If not, can Mick find a way to convince Tara that their relationship is worth the risk to both of them?

What I liked:
--- I liked that Tara was a strong, independent woman that put her child and her career first
--- Mick was hot, good with kids, and good in the sack - whats not to like?
--- Though some of the steamy goodness was kind of ruined with the cheese, there were several that were less talking, more doing which were hot

What I didn't like as much:
--- Like I said, there just wasn't as much substance to the relationship - they jumped each other a lot but didn't really spend time getting to know each other; I felt like they started to get there towards the end, but that was super rushed from "I love you" to "Let's get married" in a very short and unrealistic time frame
--- Tara was a little too stubborn about things - no one needs the single mother martyr blah blah
--- The cheese factor was a little much at times
--- Ridiculous moments like when Mick is having an internal dialogue about how classy Tara is right after she literally hitches up her classy pencil skirt to crawl across the SUV's console to grind on his man parts when they parked the car after he had to practically force her to go on a date with him.... that's super classy

Overall, it wasn't a bad read, but I almost gave up on it after a couple of chapters, so it took a little time to get into it. Once I did, I started to like the MCs, but they just never quite got to where the author apparently thought they did by the end.

Plot --- 2.5/5
Main Characters --- 3/5
Supporting Cast --- 3/5
Steam Level* --- 4.5/5 (everything but involving another person)
Violence --- nothing graphic
Language --- yep
POV --- 3rd

*Note that steam level is not a rating so much as a how hot was it: 0/5 - clean; 1/5 - mild (nothing descriptive); 2/5 - 3rd base action/1 home run; 3/5 - now we're getting somewhere (a couple of full-on steamy scenes); 4/5 - yes please! (erotica territory); 5/5 - they did EVERYTHING in this one, y'all
Profile Image for Pamela.
Author 73 books4,173 followers
March 12, 2011

First, let's just take a moment to savor this cover. Jed Hill is among the wonders of nature, and I will never grow tired of staring at his absolutely ripped physique.

Fortunately, the book lives up to the cover. Mick is a star quarterback at the height of his career and his carefully orchestrated fame. Tara is an event planner single mom with a 14-year-old son she gave birth to as a teenager. When the two meet at an event Tara plans, neither of them have any idea where they're going to end up.

Tara doesn't want a parade of men in and out of her life because of the bad example it will set for her son — and because she's never really had any reason to trust men. Her life is her work and her son. (That's something I can relate to!) Mick, on the other hand, is wealthy, famous, a star — but he's sick of the bulimic models and vain starlets his agent has arranged for him to "date."

Although this relationship starts in the bedroom — and it gets off to a sexy start, believe me — it quickly becomes more than just sex. Those of you who love erotic love scenes will enjoy the book, because there is a lot of super-scorching sex in this story. But the emotion isn't lacking either, and by the end you'll be delighted, as I was, when Tara opens herself to the possibility of being with Mick and Mick straightens out his priorities, making a firm decision about what matters most to him in life.

My only quibble with the book is that I wanted an epilogue. I wanted to see Tara have the family and support she's never had before. Given that the next book involves Gavin, Mick's brother, a pro baseball player, I'm guessing we'll get some of that then.

This is the first book I've read on Kindle, so that was an adventure, too.

I recommend this to contemporary romance fans, romantica fans, and those who love sports-star heroes.

A quick update: A reader friend e-mailed me privately to ask whether there was anal action in the love scenes because she doesn't like to read that. There is. I don't care for that either — just call me Little Miss Vanilla — but as I told her, I found that I was able to just skip a few lines and be fine. It's a great story, and I'd hate her to miss it for that reason.
Profile Image for NMmomof4.
1,516 reviews3,770 followers
July 31, 2017
2.5 Stars

Overall Opinion: Sadly, this kind of fizzled out for me. The beginning sucked me in and had me intruiged, but by the end I was tempted (but didn't) to skim. I got that they had awesome sexual chemistry, but I wanted more than just sex *gasp* --I know. I liked the H. He was great. The h, however, ended up pushing all my buttons -- and definitely not in a good way. She was constantly bringing up other women, even though the H never behaved in any way to deserve that (only hints of a manwhore past). She also was pushing him away for most of the book. It drove me crazy! I am so grateful that I didn't pay the $7.99 that it is on Amazon and got it through my library instead ;)

Brief Summary of the Storyline: This is Tara and Mick's story. They meet at an event that Tara's event planning company put on for his NFL team. They hit it off and end up sharing a steamy night. What Tara didn't expect was for Mick to find her after she snuck out of his hotel room, and for him to pursue a relationship. There is some dancing around each other, but eventually they start dating and fall in love. There is some family and career drama, lots of sexy times, and a few funny moments...and they get a HFN ending.

POV: This alternated between focusing on Tara and Mick in 3rd person narrative (not my favorite).

Overall Pace of Story: Good until the end (see closure section). I never skimmed and I thought it flowed well.

Instalove: No. Instalust? Yes.

H rating: 4 stars. Mick. I liked him. He was sweet, loyal, and hot. I really liked how he jumped right in with her son and how he was with his family.

h rating: 2 stars. Tara. I appreciated how she seemed to be a good mom and brought herself out of a bad childhood, but her constant pushing away and bringing up other women all the time really irked me.

Sadness level: Low. No tissues needed.

Push/Pull: Yes

Heat level: Moderate/high. There is a good bit of sex in this one. Sometimes it even felt like too much, as I wanted more of a emotional connection between them.

Descriptive sex: Yes

Safe sex: Yes. Mentions of condoms being used.

OW/OM drama: No

Sex scene with OW or OM: No

Cheating: No

Separation: Yes

Possible Triggers: Yes

Closure: This had one of those endings with the conflict being resolved right before the end. There wasn't even an epilogue, and I think it really would've benefited the story to have one. I'd call it a HFN ending .

How I got it: It was on loan through my public library.

Safety: I'd say that this should be Safe for most readers.
Profile Image for Ainhoa.
378 reviews17 followers
March 19, 2022
The two stars go to the cute asshole kid.

But I’m not a fan of sex within the first 5%, I skimmed all the sex in the book because there was smut every 20 pages or so. It got annoying, don’t come at me, people 🤚🏻

I didn’t dislike the story, but the drama was unnecessary and all the hesitation made my eyes roll so much they haven’t come back to normal yet.
Profile Image for D.G..
1,363 reviews342 followers
December 15, 2011
*2 stars for plot and 1 star for the cover*

This book was the equivalent of a very hot guy who is dumb as a tack - great to look at but boring to listen to.

The problem with the plot was that there was no conflict. It’s basically the story of two people meet, have tons of sex, fall in love, the end. There were a few very small misunderstandings but nothing that would make you bite your nails thinking that they’re not going to make it. All the problems would have been cleared up if the heroine would have asked the hero one single question but instead she wouldn’t let him get a word and would disappear in a huff. This behavior has put her in the running for "Dumbass Heroine of the Year."

Don’t get me wrong, both H/h had some challenge in their lives but neither was relevant to the present because they had already overcome those problems. I don’t want to give any spoilers of the ‘deep, dark, secrets’ (yeah, right!) so I’ll give an example instead. Imagine that you’re reading a book where the heroine is very shy but decides to run for office. Seeing her confront her fear about public speaking, meeting new people, etc. is very different from knowing that she used to be shy but that now she talks in front of crowds all the time. The former makes you sympathize and admire her courage, the latter makes you think “so what?” and that’s the feeling I got reading this book.

I did like a few things. The fact that the heroine knew something of sports and that we heard about the hero’s grueling workouts. (Most romance make it seem as if it’s normal for a hero to a get six-pack without exercising.) But that’s about it. The rest was just predictable and boring.

So if you want to imagine how it feels to be swept up your feet by a gorgeous, famous, rich man, then this book might be enough for you. If you’re looking for a bit more, then you should skip the book and just look at the cover. Like in the case of a handsome-but-not-so-smart man, it will preserve the illusion that something deep is lurking in that smoldering gaze when in reality, there’s nothing underneath.
Profile Image for Darien.
846 reviews327 followers
April 7, 2011


When I see this cover, I think of a few games I could play with Mick.
-Like pin my body parts on his peni…. I mean body.
- A little game of you touch mine and I will touch yours.
-Naked touch football, naked twister, naked wrestling Etc

You get my point this is one hot cover. Those abs would have me saving money, and hand lotion. I would be doing my laundry on those suckers; it is just one freaking HAWT cover. I am not really into muscles and all that, but I am very into this cover model, and find myself hoping that he would come into…. I mean be into me.

Now for the story, I was like ‘Meh’ through it all, I really did enjoy the whole sexy man fall in love with girl next-door type. It gives me hope, that one day some sexy man will come and sweep me off my feet. I can say I enjoyed the book a lot more when they were out of the bedroom.

I have always said that something might be wrong with me, cus I am finding the sex between female/male of books to be tiresome. I read it without any interest, and this book was one of those. Just call me crazy, but I think Tara is like the luckiest woman in the world. This woman comes like three times in a row. I sound envious cus I am, just a little bit.

Mick I really liked, he seemed like a true genuine character, and as I said really liked the book when they were out of bedroom. I found the sex too plentiful, and tooo odd. By odd I mean, it just felt like they were trying to go too far with it, and then it just sort of fizzled out, by the third sex scene I was pretty much done for. Therefore, I had a hard time with the five-hundred that followed (not that much but you get my meaning). I really like the anal scene, ‘sue me, I love that shit’.

This one will be hit with most of GR friends; it was just an ok read for me. I loved learning about football because in reality I could care less. I am considering being a party planner, in reality not the best idea. I loved the whole single mother aspect of the book, as a mother myself I can easily understand the doubts with wanting to get into a relationship. The questions that go with it, will the man accept my child and be respectful. I thought Jaci Burton handled that part splendidly.

Overall, liked it just could have done without all the sex.

Profile Image for Srta Books.
192 reviews777 followers
February 9, 2017
4,5/5 en realidad.
La historia de amor y los personajes me han gustado mucho. Seguro que pronto leo la segunda parte :)
Profile Image for Belle.
512 reviews515 followers
May 24, 2018
1.5/5 stars

I was a little underwhelmed with this book, I felt like everything lead to one big cliche and nothing was really very original about this book. Many of the characters were cardboard cutouts with no real personality, especially Tara.

Tara was predictably annoying the entire book, the basis for her character was that she was a single mum working to support her teenage son, but for the majority of the book she was either apologising for her son being a burden or burdening him off to other people.

That kid spent almost the entire book which spanned across a 'summer' sleeping at other people's houses, often so Tara could spent alone time with Mitch (such as a tropical weekend getaway for just the two of them).

I hate criticising parenting because 1) I am most definitely not a parent and I know that you can't really give much of an educated opinion until you've been in that situation and 2), mum shaming has always been a pet-peeve of mine. I don't think she was a "bad" mum in any way, but I think she was built up to be such a selfless character and it missed the mark for me. I found her to be quite self invested and absorbed.

I honestly finished this book maybe two hours ago and I've already forgot the majority of what happened. There was no real plot lines apart from the 'romance', which felt fake and annoying. It was more just a pile of sex-scenes and moping characters, rather than a real, exciting romance story that brought out the feels.

I was not invested one bit in what happened to the characters, the only people who had real personality were Mick's family, everybody else was predictable.

I will definitely not be moving onto the next book because Liz was a character I hated. I didn't hate her decisions but more so that the author than tried to spin her character to just have 'accidentally' been a bitch in her quest to help Mitch's career. I think her motives were never as pure as that, and for the next book to based on her never owning up to her mistakes would kill me inside.

edit: I don't mind if there are characters who do bad things, admit them and try to make up for it in one way or another, but Liz was a character who was spun to have just 'lost her way' and never really admitted the selfish reason behind it. She was an underhanded and manipulative character who I do not want to read about.
Profile Image for ♥ℳelody.
615 reviews606 followers
May 10, 2023
I could just tell this was going in the donation pile 5 pages in. The most exciting thing about this book is that cover. Just imagine all that work for a cover that gloriously thick and promising, all that time and money spent just for the story to give you instant 5 minute Mac n’ Cheese. 😬 You know the microwavable ones. Nothing wrong with some instant mac'n'cheese but if you are expecting a juicy steak that you can slowly savor....that ain’t happening here. It's an extra serving of cheese in the Cheesy department.

Absolutely nothing is worked for here with a hero running around trying to get the heroine to go out with him 1 day after meeting her. Everything is just instant everything. Instant lust. Instant (non)chemistry. Instant sex. Instant dirty talk. Instant bonding with her teenage son, etc. Everything is just perfect, perfect, perfect (see the theme here?). He’s literally telling her she’s "not like other women" and she’s "special" in CHAPTER ONE. Chapter Uno, friends. Pack it up right then and there. Show is over for me after that.

Once you get passed the hurdle of insane insta-lust and turn your brain off this is an easy predictable read with barely any conflict. There's nothing deep about this story. The dirty talk is pretty standard and not very original or creative and at times repetitive and robotic. Having your characters constantly shout "I'm coming!" and pussy licking just leaves a lot to be desired. Also it didn't really seem to fit a heroine like Tara to talk like that during sex. The only "conflict" comes in the form of Mick's abrasive obsessively controlling sports agent Elizabeth Darnell who for some reason doesn't know boundaries and thinks it's totally fine to manage her client's personal life to the point of telling him who he should date ....? I didn't understand her hang up over this considering he's not a rookie in the NFL world and nobody cares what a seasoned veteran football player is doing in his personal life. This conflict felt very forced. Elizabeth doesn't want him for herself, isn't a family member, no grudges or vendetta so her reasonings and motivations made no sense. The "I'm just doing my job" excuse didn't ring true neither did her tearful confession that Mick's her closest friend. Friend??! B*tch, if this is how you treat your supposed friends then I don't wanna know how you handle your enemies. I'm not even sure what was the point of this character beyond manufactured conflict near the very end just so the heroine can find an excuse to freeze out the hero. But seriously using a kid to manipulate and publicly humiliate the heroine is asking for a bitch slap and a restraining order. How Ms. "One kid is just as good as another to throw under a bus" is considered redeemable heroine material for the hero's younger brother in the following book is beyond me and a choice. But it's not my business and not for me. This was weak and forgettable all around.
Profile Image for Kristen.
832 reviews4,735 followers
September 14, 2011
I love The Perfect Play. It's very erotic, emotional, and captivating. The characters are richly developed and the plot, though somewhat cliché, is engaging and fun to read. I really love this book!

The characters are fantastic and realistic.  Mick and Tara, the hero and heroine, are full of flaws and strengths. I easily believed in their struggles, in their triumphs, and in their relationship. There's enormous chemistry between the two, and I simply couldn't get enough them. 

I thoroughly enjoyed Tara's son Nathan. The author captured the essences of a teenage boy. Nathan was delightful and brought many humorous moments to the book.  

I especially enjoyed the mother/son dynamic in this book. Tara relationship with Nathan was realistic and poignant. As a single mother, Tara's insecurity and concerns in raising her 14-year-old son alone, brought a vulnerability to her character that made her extremely endearing to me. 

Mick was fabulous. I fell head-over-heels in love with him. You can't get a more determined, hardworking, protective, refreshingly honest, and sexier than all-get-out hero. He was wonderful to Tara and Nathan, and helped Tera see herself as she truly was. A remarkable woman.   

I also love Mick's family. I'm excited we'll get more of them in the next book. They were interesting, well developed, funny, and easy to love characters. Mick's mother, Kathleen, was exceptional for a secondary character. 

My only compliant-other than Tara sounding like a B-rated porno star during sex scenes-was the ending. It felt abrupt and left the story somewhat hanging. I needed an epilogue. Something to give the story more closure.   

Other than that, I love this wonderfully written, extremely erotic, and very endearing love story. 

Warning: This story is extremely explicit, and at times made me uncomfortable. Read with caution. 
Profile Image for Rachael*Caribbean*girl*bibliophile.
1,658 reviews330 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
August 31, 2018
DNF at whatever %( very early, I'm not even going back to check)

At this point the mmc is all

"I've been with a lot of women but....."
"Women were always hanging on my arm but...."
" All those actresses and models were all....... "
"She was real.....unlike all the other......"

Dude!!!!!!!!!we get it shuddddddd upppppppppp!

Fmc is like

"I don't usually go to strange men's rooms"

"I don't usually have sex in a car"

So he's trying to convince me/himself??? that out of a billion women she's different and she's trying to convince me/herself??? that this behavior is not her usual.

Maybe it's him
Maybe it's her
Maybe it's the writing style
Maybe it's the flu(that's still kicking my butt)

At this point I don't even care which it is I'm out!

Do I regret buying this?heck no Imma lick that cover till I get my money's worth!😂
Profile Image for Ezi Chinny.
2,534 reviews416 followers
May 9, 2017

Aside from this book being uninteresting, I was baffled that two grown-ups were having such simple misunderstandings when they can just text or call each other.

Tara Lincoln was an event planner who was trying to make a name in San Francisco when she landed a huge contract to plan a preseason party for a professional football team. There she met a nice guy Mick Riley and they ended up in bed together. She later finds out that Mick is a quarterback for the professional football team, but they didn’t really discuss this “thing” being anything more. And that was part of the problem for me. There was very little or unclear communication about anything other than sex and career aspirations. Tara and Mick were good at having sex but discussing life and how to have adult relationships, they were quite juvenile in their actions.

Well, mostly Tara was the annoying character as she was full of assumptions and didn’t give Mick a chance to explain himself. She was just one of those heroines you want to slap. I liked Mick but their relationship seemed so shallow that I wasn’t sure why he would even want to put up with her drama.

The characters were not developed that well and the writing was so inconsistent for me. The narration made the story worse that I considered quitting on the audiobook several times and just reading the paperback. Honestly, this book was forgettable because there are plenty of better done sports romances with single parents finding love. I will try book 2 before I decide on this series but I will likely not listen to the audio because the narrator’s tone grated my nerves.

I received this audiobook for free from in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for P .
687 reviews320 followers
May 26, 2015
เป็นหนังสือที่ขาดความคม ... ความคมในที่นี้คือเนื้อเรื่อง ตัวละคร บทสนทนา ทุกอย่างดูเบลอๆ ไม่ค่อยโดดเด่น เนื้อเรื่องไหลไปเรื่อยๆ ไม่มีอะไรให้ลุ้น เดาได้ ก็เลยไม่ตื่นเต้นเท่าไร อ่านจบแล้วยังงมหาจุดพีคอยู่เลยว่ามันอยู่ตรงไหน (คือก่อนหน้านี้อยากอ่านงานที่อารมณ์พีคๆหน่อย) แต่สรุปก็คือไม่เจอนะ! 555 สิ่งที่น่าสนใจในเรื่องนี้ก็คือความสัมพันธ์ระหว่างทาร่ากับนาธาน ส่วนมิคเราว่าประเด็น alcoholic ไม่เห็นจะเป็นเรื่องใหญ่อะไรเลย เดี๋ยวนี้ celebrity อัพยากันก็เยอะนะ เอ๊ะ ! รึว่าเราจะหัวสมัยใหม่ไป ฮ่าๆ

บรรยากาศในเนื้อเรื่องเป็นการแข่งขันอเมริกันฟุตบอล ซึ่งเบอร์ตันไม่ได้ยัดรายละเอียดเข้ามามากมายเลย อ่านแล้วรู้สึกว่าพระเอกไม่ได้แก่ขนาดอายุ 30 ด้วยซ้ำ เรายังรู้สึกเลยว่ามิคเป็นแค่เด็กวัยรุ่นคนนึง ส่วนเซ็กซ์ซีนต้องยอมรับว่าเด็ดจริง แต่แอบรู้สึกว่าคุณผู้เขียนนี่ Copy > Paste ฉากเก่าๆมาเขียนใหม่หรือเปล่า ทำไมพออ่านๆไปเราเกิดรู้สึกคล้ายๆกับว่านี่เราอ่านเซ็กซ์ซีนคล้ายๆแบบนี้ไปรอบนึงแล้วนี่...สเตป 1 2 3 4 เรียงมาเป๊ะๆเลย นี่แทบจะจำได้อยู่ละนะว่าต้องทำอะไรก่อน กร๊ากกกก

เป็นหนังสือที่อ่านได้เรื่อยๆ แต่ไม่ง่วง เอ๊ะ ! งั้นก็ต้องถือว่าดีงามอ่ะสิ ประเด็นในเรื่องเหมือนประเด็นในหนังฝรั่งทั่วไปแหละ ครอบครัว วัยรุ่น กีฬา .... แต่ ! ในเล่มนี้เบอร์ตันเล่นเราไว้หนักมาก เกลียดนักยัยเอลิซาเบธ เปิดไปดูเล่มต่อไป อ้าว ! ยัยนี่เป็นนางเอกซะด้วย ตอนท้ายถึงจะมาบีบน้ำตาออเซาะน่าสงสารเราก็ไม่เห็นใจนะ นิสัยเธอแย่มาก เหตุผลตอนจบที่ตอบออกมาก็ไม่ได้รองรับเลย นี่ถ้าเราเป็นมิคจะจับหัวกดชักโครกให้ดู !!

รอดูว่าเล่มหน้าผู้แต่งจะกู้หน้าให้เรากลับมาชอบลิซได้มั้ย เพราะเธอเป็นนางเอก ถ้าทำให้เราชอบนางเอกไม่ได้ อ่านไปนี่คงพังพินาศสุดฤทธิ์แน่ๆ ...

Profile Image for Vero Rinconin.
519 reviews142 followers
March 27, 2017
Hay ciertos detalles, esos que se descubrieron poco a poco, que me gustaron mucho, pero sinceramente no disfrute de la lectura del libro, demasiadas escenas de sexo, desde demasiado pronto, para mi a esta historia para ser una historia romántica le faltan muchos sentimientos, para mi es un libro de erótica más que de romántica. Un chasquito lector porque no seguiré leyendo ni a la autora ni la serie :/
Profile Image for Nσҽɱí.
423 reviews140 followers
November 27, 2019
Hacía mucho tiempo que tenía esta serie anotada para leer, es lo primero que leo de esta autora.
Me ha gustado bastante la historia y la manera de escribir de ella.
Me ha tenido enganchada, me ha parecido una historia muy entretenida y los protagonistas no han estado nada mal, aunque me ha gustado más él, lo he visto más coherente que ella en algunos momentos y más decidido.
A ella por mucho que la pudiera entender, me ha parecido demasiada exagerada en algunos momentos y me ha sacado un poco de quicio.
También habido momentos entre ellos dos que me han encantado y se nota que tenían mucha química...
Por lo demás ha estado muy bien, seguiré con esta serie y con muchas ganas.
Profile Image for Annie .
2,442 reviews812 followers
June 26, 2011

Oh yeah. Jed Hill. I have no saliva left. I can’t stop drooling over this cover. Look at those abs! Those chesticles! Dayum. *gulp*

I will admit, I had pretty high expectations for this book and although the sex certainly lived up to the hawt cover, the story didn’t.

I thought the beginning was engaging enough. Tara Lincoln, an events planner finds herself under the watchful eye of Mick Riley, the star football player who is just pure sex. I loved the beginning and thought they had amazing chemistry. THE SEX WAS HAWT!!!

But when Tara starts making lame excuses to stay away from Mick, I started to get annoyed. I didn’t like that she was so free in the bedroom, but so reserved outside of it. Just. Be. Consistent.
In the end, the story didn’t hold my attention like the cover did. I could stare at the cover forever.

I ain’t lying.

Profile Image for Andrea Lujano.
711 reviews45 followers
April 28, 2013
Este libro hice que me interesara por el Fútbol Americano, aunque sus menciones no son tan significativas, llamo mi atención y este protagonista es un amor de hombre, con un pasado comun pero que le da un toque significativo e importante dentro de la historia.
Profile Image for Somia.
2,051 reviews130 followers
January 18, 2019
In book one in the series, we are introduced to single mum and hardworking event planner Tara, and
Mick who is a highly successful/famous football player. When these two meet it’s a case of insta-lust.

This started well and I was engaged but as the book progressed it just felt like a lot of sex and not the depth I wanted, don’t get me wrong the steam was generally well written, although after a while I did skip those parts. I was in the mood for a little more substance and this book didn’t give me that.

I also found some of Tara’s reactions over the top, a little overdramatic, but there were some nice moments.
Profile Image for Susana.
988 reviews243 followers
September 24, 2015
This ended up being, for me, one strange book...
In a way, this is the typical boy meets girl, kind of book....you have one hotshot jocks sport, rich, handsome and altogether a good guy, who suddenly has a change of..."tastes", you might call it...and decides that he's had enough with supermodels and actresses. What he wants now, its a real woman. Good for you, Mick.

Tara is a single working mum, who has placed her romantic life on hold, due to some ghosts of her past, and due to the fact that she wants to protect her almost fifteen old son, at any cost..
So far, so good.
The characters were likeable. Their chemistry believable, and i really liked their dialogues.
So what ruined this for me??
The sex, too much freaking f*******g sex!! C'mon!
So, some people would probably point out, that this an erotic book.
But most of these scenes weren't erotic, they were just blah and ughhh. It was like the characters had a double personality disorder. You have interesting, level headed people. We get to see their development as characters, and then all of a sudden, they're at it, in a hotel, in the car, in her house, on a plane, on a freaking beach, on his parents house, in his house doing wild monkey love sex...sex, sex...they like one another, but there's no freaking connection!! Its like they're porn stars, who have spend the last decade in a convent or a monastery!! And then there's the language...WTF??? THAT'S SOME seriously foul languague....ALL THE TIME....HONESTLY???
You want to call that sexy???
First time....okay. Second...fifth...tenth time...(eye rolling, while at the same wishing that someone would shut their mouths!)....loosing count: Oh, shut up already!!

So while we see their relationship developing, that situation is never transported to what they do behind closed doors...or out in the open in the beach....i just found that strange.
And then there's the ...Don't read the following part, if you're easily embarassed:

So, for the story, for the romance, i would give this one a solid 3 stars....for the idiocy part it gets a -1.
Profile Image for Splage.
594 reviews372 followers
May 1, 2011
How do I rate this? I think the cover is tainting me because it is the hottest cover ever and because of it I want to say "I really liked it" but, the book wasn't as good. I have read every sports romance I can get my hands on and loved most of them, I would actually call myself a Sports Romance connoisseur. I love the sportsman type, basically man whores with incredible bodies that are easy going and fun loving, but eventually tamed. This book just didn't rank up in my top sport's romance reads. I definitely liked the book- did I mention the hot cover- and I will read the next in series but, the story just felt forced, predictable and too perfect. I like perfect, but not "too perfect".

I did feel a love connection between Mick and Tara and I thought it was cute how their roles were reversed where she just wanted the one night stand unlike him. The were tons of long sex scenes, but the sex seemed awkward, maybe the dialog was just too raw and explicit for the characters. Basically you have a sweet, single mom, event planner that is totally dedicated to her son and business and hasn't been in a relationship good or bad since she was 15 yet, she talked like a hard core porn star when they were intimate. Some of this sex talk was pretty good and was a turn on, but when their love and relationship developed it didn't fit and I cringed a little bit. Also Mick was unbelievably perfect; perfect body, job, family, loved her kid immediately, they gave him one flaw, but he took care of it "perfectly". I wanted him to be a little more rakish and cause a little more conflict. I would call it a paint by numbers romance, it had all the right parts; hot couple, lots of adventuresome sex, bits of glamour, minor conflicts- looks good in the end, but still slightly elementary.

Profile Image for Elise ✘ a.k.a Ryder's Pet ✘.
1,314 reviews2,815 followers
May 11, 2017
Soooo, let's just say I got disappointed over this book. I knew like 10% into the book, or less, that The Perfect Play wasn't the perfect book for me. I was too bored, too annoyed over the characters' ways of doing things. I kinda wanted to slap Tara Lincoln (30?) for being so....god what's the word? Naive? Stuck in her own mind? I don't know. I understand that her son come first no matter what, but that doesn't mean you can use him as an excuse, woman.
“Ready-made family, huh?”

Mick Riley (30) was too....pussy whipped isn't exactly the word, but he was way too soft for my taste, but he was cute and charming and good with Nathan. Also felt that I didn't really get a connection with the characters. I felt like I was on the outside looking in and the story wasn't all that fascinating to watch. Way too predictable, too lovey-dovey, and worst part was that I felt that insta-love feeling. Though it was more insta-lust, but still...
“We fit. Perfectly.”

Quick basic facts:
Genre: - (Adult) Contemporary Romance
Series: - Series, Book One
Love triangle? -
Cheating? -
HEA? -
Would I read more by this author/or of series? - No, but who knows.
Would I recommend this book/series? - Probably not.
Will I read this again in the future? - No.
Rating - 2.5 stars.
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