on September 13, 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Forbidden, Sports Romance
My life revolved around two things. Football and my cock. And not necessarily in that order.
Being the head football coach for a top university in Texas had its ups and its downs.
The ups? Endless women to f*ck.
The downs? The politics that came with the job.
From the moment Aubrey Cain walked into my office, she turned my world upside down. Being forced to have her follow me around for a month was going to be a pain in the ass. Especially since I couldn’t keep my eyes off of her.
The best I’d hoped to come out of this was a few nights with her in my bed. I never imagined she’d be the game changer.
Brett Owens was my assignment.
Head football coach for a top college, bad boy reputation, short temper, and handsome good looks should have scared me off. But I was tougher than that.
From the first words out of his obnoxious, dirty-talking mouth, I knew it was going to be a long month. It wasn’t five minutes after meeting him, he hit on me. If only I had known his blue eyes would haunt my dreams and awaken a desire inside of me I never knew existed.
This was business. There was no way I would be tempted by him no matter how good looking he was or how many things he whispered in my ear.
He was only supposed to be my assignment. Not the man who threatened to destroy both my heart and my career. I would follow along with his playbook for now. But who would end up winning was anyone’s guess.
The Playbook is a stand-alone novel.
Let me just start by expressing how much fun this book was to read. It’s not what I expected from the synopsis, but the entertainment and enjoyment that manifested from this story was equally as exciting (that’s a lot of ‘e’ words in one sentence). There’s so much banter, flirtation and wittiness between not only these two but all of the characters. Here’s just a small snippet of a classic interaction.
Aubrey held up her hands and laughed. “I’m kidding. My gosh. I already know the history. Teammates in college.”
Troy and I looked at each other. “She has a whole fucking notebook of shit about me. It’s kind of creepy.”
Aubrey placed her hands on her hips and grinned even bigger. “I even know what kind of underwear you buy.”
My eyes widened in shock. “What?”
She nodded and said, “Yep,” popping the p.
“How?” Troy asked for me since I was still in a somewhat state of utter shock. Aubrey did a few stretches and took off jogging backward while she called out, “I have my sources!”
With an evil laugh, she turned and started running.
Troy and I stood there watching her as I tried to figure out ways to send her back to Connecticut.
Troy chuckled as he hit me on the back. “I’d be very afraid of that girl.”
“Oh, trust me, I am.”
He’s the top college football coach in the nation. He’s known for his playboy ways and his dirty mouth. He’s a true Texan and country boy at heart. He’s Brett Owens. He’s kind of awesome, sweet and swoony and I kind of have a huge crush on him. #shameless
“Is there a place to two-step?”
Brett gazed at me and gave me sweet smile. “Chip’s place. You like to two-step, sweetheart?”
YES! YES I DO!
Bree is one feisty woman who doesn’t take crap from anyone and I loved it! She’s freaking awesome, standing up for herself with not only Brett but her family, her boss, and everyone who looked down on her. She’s such a breath of fresh air and a perfect heroine to work opposite to Brett Owens, Mr. Playboy coach of college football.
“I’m not sure I can give you what you want.”
Her eyes pooled with water. “Love me for now.”
I brushed my mouth over hers. “I don’t want to hurt you.”
She gripped my arms tighter. “I’m yours for tonight, Brett.
I don’t know about you guys, but I love a good forbidden romance story. There’s just something to be said about stolen glances and temptation. Knowing you shouldn’t but oh how you want to. The Playbook embodied all of these elements that a classic forbidden tale should possess, all while burning the pages with innuendo and sexual tension. <— I’ll take an extra order of that to go, please and thank you! Plus the feels! I love when a book has all of the feels.
When he broke the kiss, he leaned his forehead against mine. “Why didn’t we meet sooner, Bree?”
I was so taken aback by his comment, all I could do was close my eyes and whisper the only word my lips would produce. “Brett.”
He quickly dropped his hands and stepped away from me. His stare met mine and I saw nothing but confusion and fear. I’d never imagined in my life I’d see that from Brett Owens.
Yeah, I know I’m not the only one who just swooned.
I really enjoyed the settings and how The Playbook took place in not only Austin, but in small town Texas as well. It shows such a different side of Brett and his real roots. Plus, who can resist a classic southern gentleman with a dirty mouth? I know I can’t. My only issue here is that what could’ve and should’ve been a glimpse at where Brett came from, took over the story line. It completely changed the direction of the plot and book. While sometimes this is okay, in this sense I was a little confused. It personally felt like it should’ve been separated into two different stories about two sets of characters – one in Austin about football, and one in the country about ranching.
From the first few pages, I was obsessed with this story. It was fast paced, I could feel the temptation, plus the mystery and twist came out of nowhere and it was exciting. Until around the 60% mark, I was positive that this book would be finding a home in my favourites shelf. But then the stuff I mentioned about settings and plot came into play and it sort of started getting messy. The plot, relationships and even development started to fall apart and go in different directions. The execution wasn’t as tight and I felt like the story was taking a completely different turn from everything we were promised at the beginning. Then the closer we got to the ending, cliches became heavier and more obvious. I’m all for one or two spread out, but it was like five of them all at once. There were still a few small moments that I enjoyed but overall this was definitely not my favourite part. I still enjoyed it, and FLOVED the first bit, but this is the reason why my rating is 4 stars as opposed to 5. I’m sure some people won’t digest this story in the same sense that I did and will actually love this bit, but for my personal tastes, this portion and the ending left something to be desired.
On this note though, kudos to Kelly for being accurate in not only her farming descriptions but explanations as well. They not only made sense for the industry, but geographical location as well. I’ve worked in the agriculture sector for over a decade and there’s nothing that bothers me more than inconsistencies, especially on something easy. Kelly put a huge smile on my face because she gets it.
Birdy walked up to Brett. “Don’t you fall right back into the role of cowboy so well?”
Brett tipped his cowboy hat and winked at his mother while my eyes slowly moved to see him dressed in tight jeans and cowboy boots.
Stay. Strong. Aubrey. You do not have a thing for cowboys.
Lies. I did have a thing for cowboys. And football coaches, dressed like cowboys.
There is no cheating in this book, but I have spied some reviews that allude to it. For the sake of those interested, I’m including a spoiler tag to explain this issue. If you don’t like spoilers, move right past. 🙂View Spoiler »In the later stages of the novel when the main characters are broken up, Bree is dating another man and has been for several months. She hasn’t slept with him because she’s hung up on Brett, but once she is misled to believe that he’s engaged to another woman, she gives this notion up and moves forward in her relationship. During this time, Brett also plans to hook up with another girl. He kisses her but then sends her on her way before anything further can happen because he’s still in love with Aubrey. « Hide Spoiler
This has been my first Kelly Elliot book, but if this is how she does it, I can assure you it won’t be my last! Aside from a few minor struggles, I really enjoyed this story and like I said, some of those few things I didn’t like, others will love. It’s all about your preferences, but I’d prefer if you gave this book a try.
*An ARC was received from the author and InkSlinger PR in exchange for an honest review.
Reaching into my brief case, I took out my notebook that I had already filled with research on Brett and the university college program.
I flipped through the endless pages of notes until I found a blank page.
“So, I’m assuming since it’s spring training, I’ll be granted full access to the stadium.” Peeking up at Brett, I added, “That includes the locker rooms.”
His jaw muscles flexed and I couldn’t help but smile. “I’d like to really observe you, Mr. Owens, for the first week or two here at work. Really get an understanding of your work habits and ethics with the team and, of course, your habits away from the team as well.”
His lips parted to say something, but Mr. Stevenson coughed and Brett shut his mouth.
“This piece is going to be about getting to know Brett Owens. Three-time national championship winner. Youngest head football coach in college football, and rumored ladies’ man.”
“What?” Brett gasped, nearly chocking on his own spit.
I shrugged and flipped through my notes where I found a reference to picture in People magazine.
“Yes, here it is. A picture of you with two women on your arms exiting a bar in downtown Austin. I believe it was on New Year’s Eve.” I held it up for him to see.
His eyes narrowed and I swear they turned black. “What in the hell do you have written down in that book?”
I pointed to my notebook, while keeping my focus fixed on him. “This notebook?”
When his hand combed through his hair, I felt a tug in my lower stomach that I quickly pushed aside.
“Yes, that notebook, Aubrey! I don’t see another notebook on the fucking table.”
My head drew back with raised eyebrows. I quickly flipped back to the empty page and wrote a note.
Curses like a damn sailor.
“Wh-what are you writing?”
I couldn’t help but feel giddy knowing I was getting to him. “Just taking some notes, that’s all.”
Brett leaned closer to me as I covered the note with my hand. “What did you say? I saw sailor written down!”
I flashed him an evil smile which only irritated him more, causing him to curse more under his breath.
Mr. Stevenson sighed heavily next to me. “Oh, for the love of God. The two of you are going to have to learn to play nice. Your boss, Ms. Cain, and the president of the university, want this thing to happen. Now I hope you will shine a more positive light on Mr. Owens and not focus on his… on his um—”
Brett and I both looked at him, anxiously waiting for him to finish his sentence.
“On my what?” Brett questioned.
With a roll of his eyes, Mr. Stevenson answered, “On the colorful lifestyle you lead outside of work.”
“That was gently put,” I mumbled.
“Ms. Cain,” Mr. Stevenson started.
“Please, call me Aubrey.”
He nodded. “Aubrey, you will have full access so getting in places will not be an issue. I advise you to stick close to Brett until you learn your way around.”
“Thank you, Mr. Stevenson.”
“Pat will be fine.”
“Pat, it is.”
“Now, I believe, Brett, you have a staff meeting at noon.”
I swear it looked like Brett was sitting over there pouting. It probably killed him he had no safe-zone to hide in. I was going to be stuck to him like glue. Oh, this made me all kinds of happy right now.
“Yeah. It’s at noon.”
Pat stood. “Good, show Aubrey around and to the office she’ll be using.”
My heart skipped a beat in my chest. “Thank you, Pat. That means a lot to me to have a place to work while I’m here. That’s very thoughtful of you.”
He looked at Brett and then me. “Don’t thank me, thank Brett. It was his idea.”
My head snapped to the side as I looked at him. That was totally unexpected, and I couldn’t hide the fact that it made my chest tighten some.