I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Play Mate by Kendall Ryan
Series: Roommates #2
Published by Kendall Ryan on March 14th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Purchase Links: Amazon| Barnes & Noble| Kobo| iBooks
His best friend's little sister is all grown up … and ready to play in a whole new way.
Smith Hamilton has it all—he's smart, good-looking and loaded. But he remembers a time when he had nothing and no one, so he's not about to mess up, especially with his best friend’s little sister. That means keeping Evie at arm's length … even though the once pesky little girl is now a buxom bombshell. A sexy blonde who pushes his self-control to the limit the night she crawls into bed with him.
Evie Reed knows she's blessed—with an exclusive education, a family who loves her, and a new job managing social media for her family's lingerie company. But she wants more, like a reason to wear the sexy lingerie herself. She has just the man in mind to help with that. She's crushed on Smith forever. Surely tricking her way into his bed will force him to see her in a new, adult way.
Except that when Evie's plan leads to disaster, she and Smith must decide—ignore the attraction sizzling between them, or become play mates and risk it all.
There are a few literary tropes that are like catnip to me, especially friends to lovers/roommates to lovers—add a sprinkle of ‘forbidden’ behind it (best friend’s sibling, co-worker, etc.) and I’m all over it. Talented author Kendall Ryan has me purring like a possessed feline with her series of unrelated novels, Roommates.
The first book in the series, The Room Mate, dealt with a charming med student who crashes with his older sister’s BFF for his last couple of months of school. A nice “my brother is off-limits” twist with the female being the older partner in the couple who have known each other since childhood.
The Play Mate flips the narrative back to an attraction between a younger sister and her older brother’s childhood best friend—with the extra complication of the couple now working together in very close proximity and with her brother!
Author Kendall Ryan does not disappoint, The Play Mate is everything I’d hoped it would be—and much more. Rather than the annoying paternalistic approach some male protagonist’s can take in this situation, Smith Hamilton is refreshingly evolved. Yes, he’s worried about losing Cullen Reed’s friendship, but he’s also worried about losing Evie Reed’s friendship and respect as well. Evie is attracted to Smith, just as Smith is attracted to Evie. Rather than pat her on the head and brush off her feelings with an “I know better” attitude, Smith listens to Evie, allowing their friendship to evolve and exploring the real possibility of a future together. You get the sense Smith is protecting himself from potential heartache just as much as he wants to protect Evie. That vulnerability, combined with his defense of Evie’s choices, make Smith Hamilton a hell of a fantastic book boyfriend and adds just the right touch to elevate The Play Mate from a fun distraction to a something more.
So to Kendall Ryan, I say …