We’ve seen this one already as a spotlight, but I finally had a chance to read it 🙂
Book Three in the Players series
by Mackenzie Crowne
In order to protect her, they’ll both have to let their guards down…
Country music’s It Girl Jessi Tucker is fed up with her family’s stifling security measures. The threat of a dangerous stalker has gotten the men in her life—including her football star cousin, Tuck Tucker—monitoring her every move. To get the freedom she yearns for, Jessi hatches a plan to recruit Max Grayson, Tuck’s sexy brawler best friend, to play the role of her new boyfriend. But if her scheme works, will she be forced to hide her true romantic feelings for the sake of her independence? Or will she finally steal the heart of her dream man?…
Max has been pining for Jessi for years and would do anything to protect her, but a professional cage fighter with too many skeletons in his closet has no business being with one of America’s sweethearts. Yet while Max does his best to keep Jessi at arm’s length, the Tucker family persuades him to accept her offer.
Max believes he can keep Jessi safe from danger, but can he shelter her from his own dark secrets, the media’s unforgiving spotlight—and a mutual desire that’s harder to resist each day…
I knew I’d love this one because Crowne did such fabulous things with the first two books and I was so anxious to see what she would do for the oh-so-sexy Max 🙂 Even though he’s done extremely well for himself, Max still feels unworthy of Jessi for so many reasons – the way he grew up, the things he did surviving on the streets, their age difference, his relationship with her family. Jessi though sees the man he is now and is convinced that nothing he’s done can change how she feels about him. And now she’s got the perfect chance to make him see it too.
The Tuckers are a force unto themselves! Smart, funny, caring and stubborn, once they start something they don’t give up easily. And Jessi is going to need all of that to help her get through to Max. As the two spend time together he starts letting slip some of the reasons why he’s been fighting their attraction so hard and it’s heartbreaking, for her and for us.
Unfortunately Max can be just as set in his thinking as she is so he’s not going to go down without a fight. Convinced that he’s not good enough to be loved (completely missing how much his friends already love him and how they would do just about anything for him) Max has done everything he can to resist Jessi but close contact for too long pushes even him to the limit … and what a fabulous time that turns out to be 🙂
Interestingly enough the stalker part of it doesn’t play that big of a role, except to throw the two of them together and as a means to give them some alone time. I actually liked the way it is handled because it makes sense in the story but if you are looking for something more suspense-y I think you might be disappointed. Crowne definitely focuses on the romance part of it, delivering an emotional read full of ups & downs as the two fight for what they believe is right.
(Even though this is part of a series, you can start here … although, there’s a good chance you’ll be drawn in too and anxiously await whatever Crowne brings next!)