REVIEW: ‘Playing It Cool’ By Amy Andrews (Sydney Smoke Rugby BK 1 )

Published: 12th September 2016

Publisher: Entangled Publishing

Pages: 163

Format: Ebook courtesy of the publisher

RRP: $3.99

4.5/5 Stars 

Harper Nugent might have a little extra junk in her trunk, but her stepbrother calling her out on it is the last straw… When rugby hottie, Dexter Blake, witnesses the insult, he surprises Harper by asking her out. In front of her dumbass brother. Score! Of course, she knows it’s not for reals, but Dex won’t take no for an answer.

Dexter Blake’s life revolves around rugby with one hard and fast rule: no women. Sure, his left hand is getting a workout, but he’s focused on his career for now. Then he overhears an asshat reporter belittle the curvy chick he’d been secretly ogling. What’s a guy to do but ask her out? It’s just a little revenge against a poser, and then he’ll get his head back in the game.

But the date is better than either expected. So is the next one. And the next. And the heat between them…sizzles their clothes right off.

Suddenly, this fake relationship is feeling all too real…

Every now and then a book comes along that knocks you for six; this latest release from Aussie author Amy Andrews just happened to be that book for me.

Harper Nugent knows exactly who she is, and it’s this confidence that first draws Dexter Blake – a professional rugby player – to her. When Dexter overhears a comment from a smart arse reporter putting her down because of her weight, he steps in and asks Harper out and so begins their whirlwind fake relationship. With sizzling chemistry and a laid back friendship; the lines of fake and real have never been so blurred …

There was so much to love about this book. Andrew’s writing is simply perfection. The way she balances both the characters vulnerabilities and their playful side is nothing short of amazing. The sexual chemistry between the two leads is off the charts, and the humour in this book had me laughing out loud, in public I might add, for ages. It’s been a long time since a book was able to make me do that!

What’s more the characters and the entire plot is just so relate-able – okay, so maybe we haven’t all found a rich professional sportsman to shack up with, but a girl can dream that part can’t she. It’s written in such a honest way that you can’t help get swept up with the characters and their plight. But it also feels so real, like you could interchange the characters with people from your life and the story would still work.

I loved Harper Nugent. So much that I’m going to go out on a limb and say she’s my favourite female heroine of 2016. She’s feisty, playful and doesn’t treat much seriously. She deals with a pessimistic family who focus on her weight rather than her self worth and she doesn’t complain. Yes she has self worth issues because of it, but that’s where Dexter comes in.

Dexter Blake is all man and oh so so so good. Yes I’m aware he is fictional, but still, Andrews has ruined me for all other men here. Although flawed and blinded by what he has right in front of him, Dexter is down to earth despite his professional standing, and he knows what he wants. More importantly however, is that he isn’t afraid to get involved when a man is dressing down a woman based on weight right before his eyes. Sure he needs a few wake up calls along the way, but he was good for a laugh and the perfect hero to seep Harper right off her feet.

Playing It Cool packs one hell of a sizzling punch and is going to either make you want to watch a rugby game stat, or turn you off the sport forever more because you can’t stop blushing. It’s sweet romance, that’s a little bit nerdy and just comfortable. These characters were made for each other and I hope that Andrews features them in another book in the Sydney Smoke Rugby series later on, because I couldn’t get enough of them!

Harper Nugent was the real deal. 100 percent diamond. Nothing cubic about her. And he’d know that from the beginning. From her reluctance to get involved with him in the first place, to her lack or artifice, to how easy it felt sitting there on her couch, Harper had been a breath of fresh air.

And that is exactly what this book is. Real. Honest. Vulnerable. It beats with a vibrant heart that is sure to have you turning the pages/swiping the pages faster and laughing out loud with the characters. It’s a book that you will remember for the way it made you feel. It was the most delicious breath of fresh air and I can’t wait to dive into the rest of the series.

Note: Although this is the second book in the series, each book can be read as a standalone. Full disclosure, I haven’t read book one yet, but I downloaded it the second I finished this one!

You can purchase a copy of Playing It Cool by visiting the following online retailers:

Barnes & Noble | Amazon US | Amazon AU | Amazon UK | Amazon CA  | Kobo | Entangled Publishing | iBooks Au



To learn more about Amy Andrews, visit the following social media sites:

Amy Andrew’s Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter | Pinterest |



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