Series: Game On #3
Published by Self-Published on November 1st 2015
Genres: New Adult, Romance
A beard-related dare and one hot-as-hell kiss changes everything.
NFL center Ethan Dexter’s focus has always been on playing football and little else. Except when it comes to one particular woman. The lovely Fiona Mackenzie might not care about his fame, but she’s also never looked at him as anything more than one of her brother-in-law’s best friends. That ends now.
Fi doesn’t know what to make of Dex. The bearded, tattooed, mountain of man-muscle looks more like a biker than a football player. Rumor has it he’s a virgin, but she finds that hard to believe. Because from the moment he decides to turn his quiet intensity on her she’s left weak at the knees and aching to see his famous control fully unleashed.
Fi ought to guard her heart and walk away; they live vastly different lives in separate cities. And Dex is looking for a forever girl. But Dex has upped his game and is using all his considerable charm to convince Fi he's her forever man.
The Game Plan is the third book in the Game On series, and it can easily be read as a standalone. However, I think it’s because I kept comparing it to the previous books that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would have otherwise. It’s by no means a miss. I really liked the book; I just didn’t love it.
Ethan Dexter (“Dex”) is a man-bun wearing, beard sporting, tattooed NFL center – oh, and he’s also a super sexy 24 year-old virgin. That’s right – a virgin. Side note: kudos to Kristen Callihan for devising an original, moving reason for Dex retaining his virginity. Dex has been interested in Fiona for two years. Just let that sink in for a minute. TWO. YEARS. Major swoon points for a guy who carries a torch for that long. They travel in the same social circle, but all this time Dex has been patiently waiting for Fiona to really see him. Fi is a bit of a wild child, nicknamed “Flighty Fi” because of her penchant for never sticking with a relationship, job, or life goal. Her world is lonely and unsatisfying, but she’s tired of running. So even though Dex is totally not her type, when Fi finally notices him, she decides that perhaps giving him a chance is just what she needs to get her life back on track.
The thing is that I really liked both characters. I easily related to Fi’s identity crisis. The question of what do I what to be when I grow up is one that grown ups of all ages struggle with. Her fears of abandonment, of disappointing those she loves, and of losing herself in a relationship with a man seemed very real.
In terms of book boyfriends, Dex is deliciousness personified. I could eat him up with a spoon and go back for seconds. He’s a man who unapologetically lays himself emotionally bare. He’s honest in both his weaknesses and desires. When he loves, he loves big and unselfishly. What did I love the most about this book? Dex. Hands down.
My issue with The Game Plan is that once Dex and Fi get together, the plot seems to have nowhere to go. Conflicts arise which thankfully lend authenticity to the characters’ developing relationship. Do the conflicts significantly change the direction, intensity, or tempo of the story though? Not in my opinion. Is the story still interesting? Definitely.
Based on the previous books in the series, I expected this to have a similar Rom Com vibe. Between Dex’s sensitivity and Fi’s self-discovery, however, the story is surprisingly emotional. I really missed Kristen Callihan’s signature witty banter and flirty texts in this book. We get small tastes of it with the good-natured ribbing between the football players, but I’m greedy. I wanted more.
There’s no denying that Kristen Callihan is a talented author, and although I wouldn’t classify this as a typical Rom Com, this sports romance is well worth the read.
** ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. **