Tag Archives: sports romance

Pining for days and UST off the charts make this sports romance

Playing by the Rules EbookPlaying by the Rules by Beth Bolden

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If there’s one thing Beth Bolden knows, it’s how to write a great sports romance and with Playing By The Rules she’s excelled her own incredibly high quality output.

Pining, there’s pining for days, weeks, months as the instant connect Paxton Kelly has with his new quarterback coach Davis Abernathy sparks from the pages and they fight with a forbidden attraction that slowly develops into a deep and abiding love.

Davis has been treated appallingly by his old team, so much so he’s had panic attacks and has retreated to his beach front home in South Carolina when he gets a call from the Piranhas unconventional Head Coach Asa Dawson (he’s up next and OMG I cannot wait for that romance!).

Pax has been bigged up as one of the game’s potential quarterback giants, but his first season with the Miami side was an absolute disaster, his confidence is shot and he’s struggling when Coach tells him to go pick up Davis from the airport.

Their first meeting is chemistry-laden and the attraction is instantaneous. But, as Pax discovers, there’s so much more to Davis than just his looks.

He’s a quiet man, he’s been badly hurt by being dumped by his team for a serial sexual assaulter and blamed for locker room disquiet but he has a footballer’s brain, he’s insightful and, most importantly of all, he’s kind and he knows how to get the best from Pax.

There’s UST off the charts, they get as close as two people can be without ever crossing the line that separates them because of Davis’ position as a coach until things come to a head in a surprising way, which I won’t spoil.

With her usual humour and gentle touch, Beth takes the two men on an emotional journey with turbulent highs and lows which eventually results in one of the sweetest first dates and then, inevitably, into glorious passion.

These two have a soul deep connection which is evident in everything they do, including potentially giving each other up when a chance comes for Davis to prove his former club were wrong in dumping him.

Guest appearances from the other wonderful quarterback/coach pairing Heath Harris and Sam Crawford from Beth’s adjacent Riptide book (The Rivalry) gives another layer to the story which the reader has seen from the outside in the first three books in this series.

The difficulties of the position Davis and Pax are in is handled with skill and the outcome is everything I was hoping for.

Until Asa gets his happy ending, this one’s my favourite so far in what’s been another outstanding collection of American Football romances from Beth.

NOTE: As ever, I beta read this book for Beth.

#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review

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Release Blitz: Playing The Player by Beth Bolden

Playing The Player | Beth Bolden

Miami Piranhas #2


Release Date: August 3rd, 2022

Cover Artist: Cate Ashwood Designs

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 91,000 words

Available in Kindle Unlimited

Universal Link

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Center Logan Banks didn’t come to Miami looking for a best friend.

He came for football and for a chance at freedom—the freedom to live out of the closet.

But after a water main break, he lands an unexpected roommate, the new Piranhas kicker, Dylan Leonard. Between practices, games, and too many late nights on the couch, a best friend is exactly what he gets.

When Logan’s past rears its ugly head and threatens to destroy the freedom he’s hoped for, Dylan becomes more than just a friend. He becomes a lifeline.

But then their friendship gets incorrectly labeled as something more, and Dylan shocks Logan by suggesting they play along with a fake relationship.

Logan knows it’s off limits to fall in love with Dylan. He’s supposed to be straight, he’s his best friend, his roommate, and his teammate. But the closer they grow, and the more he and Dylan fake falling in love, the more real it feels.

The more real Logan wants it to be.

Making a play for love is the biggest risk he’s ever taken, but he wants it all and he wants it with Dylan.



Dylan’s jaw dropped. “You’ve never seen Star Wars?

“Guilty as charged.”

“Well, first, we’re gonna remedy that ASAP,” Dylan said with relish. “I can’t believe I get to pop your cherry.”

Logan froze, his hand still on the controller. “Uh,” he said. “Hate to break it to you but that’s been done . . .”

But I could pop yours, that voice that didn’t want to cooperate, inserted slyly. And now Logan was fucking thinking about it. A dark head, between his heads, tongue flicking out uncertainly. A hand pressed to the middle of his chest, as Dylan squirmed on his dick.

Stop. Do not cross Go.

“Your Star Warscherry, silly,” Dylan said, laughing, punching him lightly in the arm.

“Is that a thing?” If it was, then Logan wanted it to be Dylan who did it. Logan wanted him to do all kinds of things.

It was a problem, even though he kept trying to pretend it wasn’t.

“Sure, it can be,” Dylan said, one of those quicksilver grins lighting up his whole face.

“So why this game?” Logan asked, trying to pluck the game from Dylan’s fingers, but he was too quick, and pulled it away. “’Cause it’s easy?”

“Well, it’s simpler, sure, but it also requires less hand-eye coordination,” Dylan said, and Logan shot him a glare. But Dylan only laughed. “We’re being honest here, dude. Set you on a football field, and you’d destroy most everyone, but with a video game controller in your hands?”

“Fine, fine, fine,” Logan said with a resigned sigh. He grabbed for the game again, and Dylan wasn’t quite fast enough this time, and when Logan got ahold of it, he didn’t let go.

Yanked both it and Dylan over the side of the couch, and Logan froze as the other guy landed basically in his lap.

He 100% did not mean to freeze. It wasn’t in his nature to freeze.

After all, they had a touchy-feely friendship. Logan had never shied away from touching Dylan and vice versa. It worked for them.

But now he was in his lap.

And he wasn’t moving.

Logan could count every shade of green in Dylan’s eyes as they stared at each other. His hand hovered right over Dylan’s back. He wanted to push him in, pull him close, but no matter how touchy-feely they were, they weren’t in the habit of embracing. Not like this.

Not with Dylan straddling him, not only wearing a pair of athletic shorts each.

Then Dylan reached out, pressing a palm against Logan’s chest. Right where his rose tattoo sat, right over his heart. Not pushing him away. Not using him to get up. Just resting it there.

Like he couldn’t help it, he just wanted to touch.

You’re wrong. He doesn’t want to. Not like that. Not like you want him to.

Logan opened his mouth to make a joke, but his brain was empty, and nothing came out.

Dylan leaned forward a fraction. Licked his lips.

There was something soft and hazy and affectionate in his gaze. Something curious.

And then he spoke. “Guess,” he said, voice low, “that your reflexes really do suck, Banks.”


About the Author

Beth Bolden logo

A lifelong Pacific Northwester, Beth Bolden has just recently moved to North Carolina with her supportive husband. Beth still believes in Keeping Portland Weird, and intends to be just as weird in Raleigh.

Beth has been writing practically since she learned the alphabet. Unfortunately, her first foray into novel writing, titled Big Bear with Sparkly Earrings, wasn’t a bestseller, but hope springs eternal.

She’s published twenty-three novels and seven novellas.

Author Links

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My favourite one yet in this new football series from Beth

Playing the Player by Beth Bolden

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Friends to lovers is such a delicious trope when done right, what tips that feeling of happiness at bring friends over into something more?

Throw in a bisexual awakening and it adds up into a relatively angst free romance between two teammates who start as roomies, have an instant connection as friends and end up in a fake dating situation.

Dylan is supposedly straight when he agrees to fake date his bestie Logan to help with the fallout from a hook-up outing him.

However, it’s fairly clear soon into the faking that his curiosity is being stirred with thoughts of kissing Logan…

…and more.

What I enjoyed the most about this book was that when things got muddled or confused, they talked. There’s no stupidly overlong pining or wondering about feelings.

The tension points in the book come not only from Logan’s ex hook-up’s behaviour, but also from the internal pressures Dylan has of being the team’s kicker.

It’s interesting to see the journey he goes on, along with the rest of the Piranhas, as they try to rebuild their side.

There’s all sorts of stuff going on behind the scenes and I am desperate for the next two books to come in this series.

Up next are quarterback Pax and his coach Davis, and I’m dying to see how Beth handles that ‘out of bounds’ nature of that relationship!

As ever, I beta read this book for Beth and it gets a bonus +1* (yes I know Goodreads only goes up to 5*)  because it has my all time favourite characters Colin O’Connor and his hubby Nick making a guest appearance 😁

#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

View all my reviews

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