Game for Marriage

Karen Erickson
Game for Marriage
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Entangled Publishing
Release Date
January 2013
Book 1 of Game For It
Contemporary Romance

He's going in deep to make her his…

Struggling artist Sheridan Harper never imagined she'd spend a sizzling night with Jared Quinn, the smoking-hot star quarterback of her local professional football team, the San Jose Hawks. And she's even more shocked when Jared's publicist offers her a proposition: a fake marriage to keep Jared out of the gossip mags. Being that close to Jared would be too tempting, so to protect her heart, she insists on secretly including a clause forbidding sex between them.

Jared just wants to keep his starting QB job and keep it in San Jose. His reputation as a ladies' man has landed him in the headlines one too many times, but there's something about his kind, passionate new wife that tempts him beyond reason. Any sort of intimacy between them is completely forbidden, but as their bodies fall in deep, will their hearts follow suit?

Book Review by Bridget (reviewer)
Feb 17, 2013   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
123 people found the following review helpful
Having read, and loved, Karen Erikson's historic romances, I was thrilled to see this contemporary novella from Entangled Publishing's Brazen line. Like all her work, this novella features strong, emotional characters and a deeply engrossing journey, and the interesting twists and turns of the plot kept me feverishly turning pages until the final play.

Sheridan Harper inherited her studio from her beloved Grandmother, but has struggled every day in order to pay her bills and keep her fledgling business alive. When she meets Jared Quinn, star quarterback of the local San Jose Hawks, the rational part of her knows he is nothing but trouble—a legendary flirt and involved lately in some nasty rumors—even if he is the hottest man she's ever seen. But when a casual date turns into a sizzling night of passion, Sheridan knows she's a heartbeat away from falling for Jared, regardless of every ounce of common sense she possesses.

When Jared tracks her down, Sheridan is secretly thrilled—until his publicist appears in tow, offering her an incredible proposition: marriage to Jared in order to save his reputation and his place on the team, and enough money in return to ensure Sheridan will never have to worry again. Desperate to protect herself from falling for her (fake) husband, Sheridan insists on a secret no-sex clause in their marriage contract, which Jared can hardly refuse. But when the vows are spoken and the hype dies down, Sheridan and Jared are still helplessly attracted to each other, and are now prohibited from doing anything about it—right? Is there a chance for this bizarre deal to turn into a dream come true? Or will their marriage crumble under the pressure before it's had a chance to get started?

Despite the fact that this story is heavily focused on the physical relationship between these characters, their individual emotional development isn't neglected, and it was great to watch them grow together. Though they are both strong, well developed and confident, it's clear very early on that they are both better versions of themselves when they are together, which is the hallmark for me of a great romance. There were plenty of misunderstandings and mistruths in the course of the marriage, but in the end, their honesty always won out, and none of the roadblocks were enough to derail the plot for me.

Though he certainly knows how to have a good time, Jared is a surprisingly driven, determined athlete, and his dedication to his team and career was endearing from the first. I also really enjoyed seeing how much he appreciated Sheridan's passion for her art and her community and fostered that, giving her encouragement as well as room to grow. It would have been nice to see a few more scenes, rather than being shown, but for the length of the story, his devotion to his wife was evident and really enhanced their relationship.

For her part, Sheridan is a feisty, determined and confident woman, and I was rooting for her from the very first scene. I loved how unwavering she was in her devotion to caring for Jared and helping him with his healing shoulder, as well as his long-standing trust issues after being burned so many times in the past. The disappointments and pitfalls of her love affair were heartbreaking, but in the end, it's her courage that saves the day.

Though the whole situation is fantastic in the extreme, the plot twists are pretty believable and the story flowed so well that I was completely engaged and genuinely curious about how Sheridan and Jared were going to find their happily ever after. The sports theme of the story added another level of tension that made the success of their constructed marriage that much more imperative. The hints of a secondary love interest between two secondary characters added further interest and provided a very interesting comparison to the main romance.

Though the ending came a little quickly, I loved it and loved Sheridan and Jared together. The power of their attraction and eventual love was palpable and their chemistry was absolutely scorching. From the first steamy scene to the last, this was a thoroughly enjoyable, saucy story and, for me, an introduction to a potential series that I cannot wait to watch develop.
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