⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ REVIEW: The Playing Game by Ainsley Booth

All sugar and SPICE (and everything nice), this low angst/high heat romance is a feel good treat. Our hero was gone for his girl from the moment they met, and he has no intention of letting her get away this time around. It’s rare to find a hero who is so ALL IN from the start, and I loved that there was no question as to how much he wanted her. It was undeniable. He’s also a sweetheart of a man – a leader on his hockey team, but so soft and loving everywhere else. And he’s got no qualms about showing his girl some affection, if you know what I mean. Which means there was tons of spice and fan-worthy moments, paired with soft and swoony situations that will melt your heart. In fact, if I have one complaint it’s that it was TOO easygoing – is that a thing? Not sure that it is, lol. Because this was low drama and lighthearted in the best of ways, with a hero who falls first and is not afraid to CHASE his girl.

The story follows Kieran, a pro hockey player who is starting the season with a new team. He’s cautiously optimistic about his new city and situation, willing to look on the brightside. So when Kieran catches a glimpse of the girl who got away during one of his games, he wastes no time in pursuing her. Kieran and Harper shared one steamy night together two years ago, and he hasn’t been able to stop thinking about her since. While the two are still near-strangers, he’s confident in the connection he felt that night, and that means Kieran is unwilling to let Harper slip away a second time. But Harper has her reasons for staying away, and she knows there’s a big difference between giving in for one night and letting herself fall completely.

I love a good fling to more romance, but I’m always a little hesitant when there’s been an extended separation, as that moves the story into second chance territory… and we all know how I feel about that, lol. But it was apparent from the first few chapters that Kieran had never stopped thinking about Harper, and hadn’t moved on. Zero OW/OM drama. Which immediately eased my worries, and let me sit back and enjoy this low angst romance. I loved just how smitten Kieran was with Harper, and I loved that he was willing to put in the work. He knew that expecting them to pick up where they left off was unrealistic, and he never tried to put them into hookup territory. That was incredibly refreshing. I also loved Harper and how her reasons to stay away did not prevent her from seeing what was in front of her. The tension between “want” and “need” was delicious, sparking the chemistry in a big way. And when they give in? Yeah, pretty sexy. There’s a LOT of spice in this one, and I didn’t mind it. There’s a part of me that wanted this to get a little grittier, but it definitely makes for a refreshingly easy treat – and that is a great thing.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3ZJtV29

*Completionists: there is a prequel novella that I was unaware of when I started reading (details below) that shows their original hookup. Definitely not required reading, as I gave this 5 stars without it, lol. But if you want to start with that, you certainly can. I’m not going to go back and read it now – I’m happy with how this played out!


Two years ago, I spent the hottest night of my life with a woman who never told me her name. In the morning, she was gone.

I’ve searched for her—relentlessly. I’ve scanned the stands and the cheering crowds in every city I’ve played in, but “Jersey Girl” never showed up again.

That night ruined me for anyone else. She was funny, sexy, and—after I got past her brittle shell—secretly very sweet.

Then one night, I skate onto brand new ice as part of the NHL’s latest team. And she’s in the stands at our first game of the season, very carefully not looking at me.

She disappears after the first period, and the chase is on again. This time, I have more clues, and I stop at nothing in my need to find her.

Turns out, she has good reasons why she can’t date a pro hockey player. But I have even better reasons why she can—like, we’re meant for each other, and I’ll do whatever it takes to be the man she needs.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3ZJtV29

Prequel novella!

Their story starts here, though I didn’t know that when I started reading and it made no difference to me. Up to you!

When a mystery girl wearing my hockey jersey and a matching toque to mine tumbles out of a post-game party, I have to follow her. When we end up at the bar, trading stories and laughs? I have to make a play for the rest of the night. That she only wants one night, and doesn’t want to give me her name…those are problems for the morning. And that tiny niggle of worry? I have to ignore it…

The Girl in the Hockey Jersey is a one-night stand prequel that takes place two years before The Playing Game, a full length novel!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3LtVyIf

About the Author:

Mom by day and filthy romance writer by night, Ainsley is super grateful for caffeine, banana and blueberry muffins, and yoga pants.

Sign up for her mailing list at: ainsleybooth.com/newsletter/

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As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases


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