Monday, February 23, 2015

Blog Tour: Game Play by Lynda Aicher

Lynda Aicher's Game Play kicks off a new sports-romance themed series - Power Play. I'm excited to host a stop in the blog tour for this book! 

For other stops on the tour, check out Tasty Book Tours.

The Book

One night, one time, nothing more. That’s all it was supposed to be. They’d agreed their first night together would be their only night together—and Minnesota Glaciers defenseman Dylan Rylie was fine with that. Giant hickeys and claw marks on his ass had never been his style, even if the very memory of Samantha Yates’s merciless sexual energy gets him hard within seconds. He needs to focus on getting a better contract, not mind-blowing orgasms.
One night, one time, nothing more. Fresh off representing the US at the Games and with nowhere else to play, Samantha gave in to one night of frantic passion with the Glaciers’ brawny hotshot. She couldn’t get hurt—not if she controlled the outcome. And she planned to leave Minnesota soon, anyway. She didn’t expect to be recruited to coach Dylan after they’d gotten down and dirty.

When brutal on-ice workouts lead to kinky locker room sessions and “one night” falls by the wayside, Samantha insists on keeping things casual, despite Dylan’s quiet hope for more. But when Dylan goes down—hard—and his career is in jeopardy, Samantha is the first one by his side. What will it take to keep her there after he’s healed?  

Game Play is available from Carina Press now!


Timing was everything, and she waited for her moment to kick up some fun on an otherwise blasé event. The charity that donated hockey equipment to kids from military families was a great cause that would benefit from a little show. At least, that was what she told herself.
Don’t be stupid,” Meg warned in her ear.
Why not?” Sam asked. “What do I have to lose?” Absolutely nothing. She’d never do anything to smear her name, but it wasn’t like she had a hockey career to worry about. Or a coach she was accountable to.
Or a reason to behave.
Rylie was spending as much time tipping his trademark worn brown cowboy hat at the passing women as he was paying attention to the kids looking for pointers. The ends of his brown hair curled over the back of the gray hoodie he’d worn under his jersey and seemed to match his hat color almost perfectly. Too perfectly.
Nicknamed Cowboy within the hockey world, he was dubbed Pretty Boy as well. The second label was coined his rookie season by a sports announcer and as far as Sam had heard and seen, the man cultivated both brands equally.
Hi, Rylie,” a group of teenage girls dressed in skinny jeans and overdone makeup chorused as they skated past. Rylie shot them a nod and grin that somehow managed to be appropriate for the age of the girls.
Sam shook her head and chuckled at his easy charm. The guy had it all. Talent, looks, personality—he was a star in the making. One full of potential if he didn’t get distracted by the fame and parties he seemed to enjoy.
Walters smacked the puck toward Rylie, and Sam broke through the kids to swoop across the ice and steal the puck from the preoccupied man. A cheer went up from the kids when she circled the pro player, puck firmly in her control. The air chilled her cheeks and laughter rang in her ears as she sped away.
A quick glance over her shoulder showed Rylie chasing her, the determined pull of his brows blending with a full smile that somehow managed to put a matching one on her face. She caught sight of Meg and passed the puck off before she stopped then took off in the direction she’d just come from.
The circle of kids widened as Walters got into the play, tailing Meg. She swooped around a group of unsuspecting adults, using them as a pick to cut off Walters, and she smacked the puck back to Sam.
Think you’re hot stuff, do you, Yates?” Rylie was at her side, jabbing his stick at the puck with no effect. She was under no illusion the man knew who she was. Her name was printed in big letters across the back of her jersey.
Just having some fun.” She cut a sharp circle and faced off Rylie, who skidded to a quick stop.
He tapped his stick on the ice, an indulgent half smile on his lips. “Come on then.” He glanced over his shoulder. “You and me to the net.”
Her stomach did an unwanted flip when his eyes landed back on her. An interesting mix of brown and green, they seemed to dance with the same excitement that flooded her. The challenge was exactly what she’d wanted and his proposition was the best offer she’d had in months. On or off the ice.

You are so on,” she said, grinning. 

My Review

Game Play features a young woman at the end of her hockey playing career and a young man at the start of his. The contrast in situations provided some room for conflict - especially emotionally - but also gave Samantha and Dylan lots of common ground to bond over, which I really appreciated.

It drives me crazy when 'a big deal' is made of a character's career but then that career has little impact on a story. This is *not* the case for Game Play. This book revolves heavily around hockey - not just game night, but particularly practice and the details of having a hockey career. Game Play makes excellent use of all the nitty gritty details from the games to fan service, practice, puck bunnies and injuries, contract negotiations and public image. It has it all, and really considers what impact each of these things has on the relationship and on Dylan and Samantha as individuals.

If you absolutely detest hockey, then this probably isn't a great book for you, but at the very least, I think it can help you appreciate all the work that goes into a sports career.

I put the book down with a new appreciation for amateur sport, and for sports that do not have the same kind of visibility and financial backing as, say, the NHL or NBA or NFL and so on!

On the romance front, I felt it was throughly believable. It has the 'leaping forward, reining back' pattern to it that I think many real love stories do. Samantha and Dylan are a great match. She's at the end of her hockey playing career (due to the lack of options for her to continue it) and he's at the start of his. I thought Game Play does a really great job of handling the cocktail of emotions that they both are experiencing - plus it helps that there's some really great chemistry between these two.

Honestly, the only quibble I have is that I didn't need so many sex scenes. I know, I know, what a weird complaint coming from me. Honestly though, there's such a great story here that I found myself distracted by the sex scenes. I think that a few of them were really vital components of the development of Samantha and Dylan's relationship - and they were all smoking hot and well-written. My problem was really that I was so interested in what would happen next, I caught myself skimming these pages.

The Bottom Line:

Game Play is one of those excellent contemporary romances that had me not only enjoying the romance but also thinking about the broader context. In this case, that context is hockey and the availability of post-University options for women. I strongly recommend this one!

5 stars
For fans of hockey, sports romance

About the Author

Lynda Aicher has always loved to read. After years of weekly travel implementing computer software into global companies, she ended her nomadic lifestyle to raise her two children. Now her imagination is her only limitation on where she can go and her writing lets her escape from the daily duties as a mom, wife, chauffeur, scheduler, cook, teacher, volunteer, cleaner and mediator. Find her at:

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