My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review at Romancing Rakes For The Love Of Romance.
Game For Trouble is the second book in Karen Erickson’s great new sports romance series about the attractive single men on the San Jose Hawks professional football team and the women with whom they fall in love. The first book – Game For Marriage – featured Jared, the team quarterback and Sheridan, a local artist who was corralled with him into a sham marriage for the sake of repairing his playboy reputation. In this second book, Jared and Sheridan are safely settled and deliriously happy together, and their obvious bliss starts to grate on Nick Hamilton, the Hawks’ usually happy-go-lucky tight end and best friend to Jared. When Nick sees what his friend has, he wants it for himself, and the only woman who can give him what he wants is Willow Cavanaugh. Unfortunately for Nick, she also happens to be the one woman who has vowed never to give him a chance to break her heart again. Willow doesn’t know that Nick dumped her years ago because her high-powered lawyer father had threatened his budding football career. But now that she’s trying to start a new business away from her father’s influence and money, it’s Nick who has the building she wants to lease, and he’s going to use every bit of leverage to convince her that this time he’s not going anywhere without her.
The romance trope where the hero blackmails the heroine into spending time with him against her better judgment can be tricky if it’s not handled well. In Game For Trouble, Karen Erickson’s sure hand keeps everything balanced perfectly so that we see Nick’s feelings for Willow are more than met on her end, even if she’s afraid to express them directly at first. Jared and Sheridan work well in this story as secondary characters, and any necessary details about their own relationship that a new reader would need to follow along are provided without resorting to massive and annoying data dumps.
The heart of Game For Trouble is the second chance at love for both Nick and Willow, and how their mutual and individual pasts must be learned from, instead of just gotten past or forgotten, for them to be able to love each other freely and completely at last. There are more than a few misunderstandings along the way, but there are also delicious scenes of groveling and makeup sex afterward. The love Nick and Willow have for each other is genuine, and their final reconciliation is a satisfying coda to the story. I adored Game For Trouble and I’m looking forward to reading Karen Erickson’s next entry in the Game For It series.
Watching Sheridan smother Jared with kisses made him realize that what he really wanted was his woman back in his life. For good. He was tired of the fight. Tired of letting her go without protest. Sick and damn tired of giving up too damn easy. For once, he was gonna fight for what he wanted. Who he wanted.
And he wanted Willow.
He’d always wanted Willow.