Not gonna lie… this was pretty disappointing. I’ve heard great things about this author’s writing, so I jumped at the chance to read a “fun, flirty” second chance romance. And the writing is good – there were moments that had solid chemistry, an obvious connection, and fun dialogue. But that didn’t overcome all of the other issues I had with the book. It essentially touches on everything that makes me shy away from second chance romances – OW/OM drama, baby mama drama, possible (past) cheating, resentment, miscommunication. Nothing takes me out of a light romance faster than constant reminders of all of the DRAMA, and that takes up a significant portion of this book. Pair that with characters that I honestly didn’t like all that much, and… here we are.
Essentially, the story follows Scarlet, a woman who fell for a player back in high school. Scarlet and Shane shared one perfect summer together, but reality hit hard when he dumped her for being too “complicated.” He moved on the next day and Scarlet has never quite gotten over the situation, so when they come face-to-face 12 years later, there are a lot of strong feelings there. Shane seems interested in picking up where they left off, but Scarlet can’t forget how much he played her – even if she does think he’s hotter than ever. These two new neighbors will have to work out past issues if they want any chance at a future.
I wanted to like this a lot more than I did, and there was potential for that in the story. It’s got a nice small town feel, I loved that they were neighbors, and I could see the good in Shane. Plus, enemies to lovers is my catnip. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to overcome the problems. I didn’t feel the love for a very long time – Shane continues to date, Scarlet acts out in unflattering ways, and the constant reminders of the past were a problem. It’s certainly not a bad book, but a fun and flirty romance it is not. This one’s much better suited for those who relish the drama of a second chance romance, rather than the playfulness of a lighter read. The writing itself is good, so if that’s what you looking for, then this one might work better for you. I received an ARC and am voluntarily leaving a review of this complicated romance.
From the international bestselling author of The Simple Wild and Ten Tiny Breaths comes a new second-chance, hate-to-love romance.
The Player Next Door by, USA Today bestselling author, K.A. Tucker, is now live!
Scarlet Reed has returned to Polson Falls, convinced that twelve years away is long enough to shed her humiliating childhood identity as the town harlot’s daughter. With a teaching job secured and an adorable fixer-upper to call home, things in her life are finally looking up.
That is, until she finds out that Shane Beckett lives next door.
Shane Beckett, the handsome and charismatic high school star quarterback who smashed her heart. The lying, cheating player who was supposed to be long gone, living the pro football dream and fooling women into thinking he’s Prince Charming. Shane Beckett, who is as attractive as ever and flashing his dimples at her as if he has done no wrong.
Scarlet makes it abundantly clear that old wounds have not been forgotten. Neighbors they may be, but friends they most certainly are not. She won’t allow herself to fall for the single father and firefighter again, no matter how many apologies he offers, how many times he rushes to her aid, or how hard he makes her heart pound.
But as she spends more time with him, she begins to fear that maybe she’s wrong. Maybe Shane has changed.
And maybe this time she’s the one playing herself—out of a chance at true happiness.
I sigh as I sip the last of my cold, burnt gas station coffee. This is a fresh start, even in an old world full of familiar faces. Besides, it’s been more than a decade since I last roamed the halls of any school here. Those painful years and cruel people are far behind me.
The peaceful midday calm is disrupted by the chug of a garage door crawling open, followed by the deep rumble of a car engine starting. A long, red vintage muscle car backs out of the garage next door and eases into the open space beside a blue Ford pickup. I can’t tell what kind of car it is, but it’s old and in pristine shape, the bright coat of paint glistening in the August sun.
I never asked Iris about the neighbors. The two times I’ve been here—once during the open house and once after I’d signed the paperwork for the offer—nobody was home on either side. Both properties look well maintained, though. The bungalow with the muscle car has new windows and a freshly built porch off the front. There isn’t much in the way of gardens—some shrubs and trees—but the lawn is manicured.
I watch curiously as the driver’s side door pops open and a tall man with wavy, chestnut-brown hair steps out, his back to me as he fusses with his windshield wiper. Coffee pools in my mouth as I stall on my swallow, too busy appreciating the way his black T-shirt clings to his body, showing off broad, sculpted shoulders, muscular arms, and a tapered waist. He’s wearing his dark-wash jeans perfectly—not so baggy that they hang unflatteringly off his ass, but not so tight that cowboy boots and a wide-brimmed hat come to mind.
I hold my breath in anticipation, hoping my neighbor will show me a beautiful face to match that fitness-model body. What a stroke of luck that would be, to live next to a gorgeous man. A single, gorgeous man, I pray.
Finally, my silent pleading is answered as he turns and his gaze drifts my way.
I struggle not to spew coffee from my mouth as my keen interest turns to horror.
Oh my God.
Someone, please tell me this is a mistake.
Please tell me I’m not living next door to Shane Fucking Beckett.
About K.A. Tucker:
K.A. Tucker writes captivating stories with an edge.
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