Serious Play [NOOK Book]


Luke Bailey has dreams of building homes and putting down roots. But for a man with a rough past, finding any job isn't easy. When Mary Scott offers him a job—and a place to stay—mixing drinks and tapping beer at her theme bar, My Parents' Basement, Luke accepts. Customers flock to the cozy pub, designed to evoke memories of lost childhood, to meet and mingle and play games.

For Mary, her gorgeous new employee should be off-limits. She's his boss. And they're very ...

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Serious Play

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Luke Bailey has dreams of building homes and putting down roots. But for a man with a rough past, finding any job isn't easy. When Mary Scott offers him a job—and a place to stay—mixing drinks and tapping beer at her theme bar, My Parents' Basement, Luke accepts. Customers flock to the cozy pub, designed to evoke memories of lost childhood, to meet and mingle and play games.

For Mary, her gorgeous new employee should be off-limits. She's his boss. And they're very different—something her interfering family constantly points out. But Mary's done playing the good girl. And Luke isn't the bad boy everyone thinks he is. Their attraction simmers until Mary seduces Luke into playing some deliciously adult games. Then a shocking betrayal threatens everything...

68,000 words

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426893711
  • Publisher: Carina Press
  • Publication date: 4/30/2012
  • Sold by: HARLEQUIN
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Original
  • Sales rank: 931,139
  • File size: 2 MB

Read an Excerpt

"Truth or Dare, Mr. Bailey."

It seemed to be a question, but the blonde woman with the intent blue eyes said it like a statement. Luke had no idea how he was supposed to respond, so he kept his mouth shut and waited for his prospective employer to explain.

"Spin the Bottle. Seven Minutes in Heaven. Sneaking beer from the garage fridge and hoping tonight you might finally get a chance for some time alone with that girl or boy of your dreams. A chance to relive those middle-school days when everything was new and unexplored. You remember what that felt like?"

She seemed to expect a response so Luke nodded. Better not to speak yet. Eyes and ears open. Mouth shut. That was the main lesson he'd learned during his five years in prison.

"That experience is what my bar offers." Mary Scott was so full of energy and excitement she made Luke nervous. "My Parents' Basement gives customers a taste of innocence, an opportunity to meet and flirt like they did at parties when they were young. But with alcohol." She smiled, a flash of white teeth that was dazzling. "And trust me, Mr. Bailey. People drink here like they would in any other bar. But they also play games, dance, listen to music from their past and remember what it felt like to be young and uncertain and full of hope."

She spoke with the enthusiasm of a televangelist and looked at him with bright eyes that demanded a response, so he nodded again even though the kind of party she'd described hadn't been any part of his youth. Drinking malt liquor, huffing aerosol spray and screwing girls on an old mattress in an abandoned house was the kind of party he remembered from when he was thirteen.

"The ambiance of the club creates a level of intimacy with strangers right away, a focus for conversation as they start sharing memories. Basement is a great pickup place."

Why was she trying to sell him on the bar? All he wanted was a damn job anywhere at all. He'd gotten a special exemption from the terms of his parole so he could be employed in a bar. She didn't need to convince him this was a great place to work.

Ms. Scott was looking at him, and this time it seemed something more was required than a nod, so Luke spoke. "Sounds good. I'd be happy to work here."

"About that. Joann told me a little about your history. I know how hard it can be for, um, ex-cons to find employment, and I'd be happy to hire you, but do you have any experience tending bar?"

Luke felt his shot at a decent-paying, legitimate job slipping like sand through his fingers. Of course it had been too much good luck to expect. His first impulse was to lie, tell this woman anything she wanted to hear in order to get the damn job, then learn fast. But she'd figure out his ignorance soon enough and know he was a liar. Maybe it was better to start with the truth. See how that worked for a change.

"I can pour whiskey or mix it with Coke. Nothing too complicated. But I'll learn. Ms. Horton suggested I pick up a guide and I've been studying it, and if you want me to, I'll take a bartending course or something." He swallowed any shred of pride and prepared to beg. "If you give me a chance, I swear I won't blow it."

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 8, 2012

    SERIOUS PLAY is a contemporary romance by Summer Devon & Bon

    SERIOUS PLAY is a contemporary romance by Summer Devon & Bonnie Dee that was given to me by Carina Press for an honest review.

    Bad boy, Luke Bailey, recently spent 5 years in prison for being involved in an armed robbery in which a store owner was shot. Mary Scott, themed bar owner, needs a bartender and agrees to do her Parole Officer friend a favor by interviewing Luke for the position. Although Mary is leery of hiring an ex-con, she trusts her friends judgement and her own gut feeling that Luke is the man for the job. Luke knows that by hiring him, Mary is putting her bar and perhaps her own job at risk if he should fail; therefore, he puts his best foot forward to start the new life he's been given a second chance to live. So Luke won't have to live in a half-way-house, Mary offers Luke a small room as part of his payment for working for her. Mary and Luke spend quite a lot of time together and get to know each other as more than boss and ex-con. Their attraction grows, but their new found relationship is threatened by an unexpected betrayal.

    SERIOUS PLAY drew me in pretty quickly and made me want to stay up all night reading. I had to go to bed because work is supposed to be a priority and without my job, I could not buy new books. I was intrigued by the idea of an ex-con. The idea was a turn off originally, but the writers were able to develop Luke into a loveable character. I was charmed by the "My Parents Basement" idea and thought it would be a fruitful venture in real life.

    SERIOUS PLAY is nice beach read. It was quick and effortless. I did not have to concentrate on reading and was able to imagine the interaction s of the characters as they were described.

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  • Posted April 30, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    You KNOW if I recommend a contemporary, it HAS to be good...

    Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am very picky about my contemporary romances — I’m far stricter on my ratings for contemporary tales than I am on historical or fantasy-based stories, if for no other reason than I’m typically more familiar with the way the world works for a contemporary story. While I initially found it a bit odd that Luke was allowed to work in a bar straight out of prison, I quickly fell in love with the setup. Mary’s insecurities stemming from her family life as well as well-meaning comments from friends added a lovely amount of tension to the relationship, and Luke’s own lack of confidence because of the constant judgement from others created such an interesting dynamic between the two. The chemistry between them was scrumptious, and when they finally gave into their attraction, they lit up the pages. Recommended for fans of tortured heroes trying to get back on their feet, of sweet heroines determined to prove themselves, and of believable romantic problems and solutions. A very solid 4.5 Stars. {This title was provided, free of charge via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. Full review available on The Romanceaholid}

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