The Game of Love

The Game of Love

4.8 28
by Jeanette Murray

Chris St. James is ready for normal. After walking away from her pro tennis career and a toxic relationship with a star hockey player, she's starting a new life as a teacher and tennis coach in a small town. Now all she needs is an average guy to share it with.

Brett Wallace is no average guy. Forced to retire from the NFL after an injury—and suddenly


Chris St. James is ready for normal. After walking away from her pro tennis career and a toxic relationship with a star hockey player, she's starting a new life as a teacher and tennis coach in a small town. Now all she needs is an average guy to share it with.

Brett Wallace is no average guy. Forced to retire from the NFL after an injury—and suddenly single after being dumped by his status-conscious wife—he's returned to his hometown to coach the varsity football team. Wary of women interested only in his celebrity, Brett finds Chris's indifference to his former career refreshing.

The last thing Chris needs is to get involved with another pro athlete, but she can't deny the sparks that fly between them. So she agrees to a purely physical, no-strings-attached affair. But the rules of the game change when she falls for him…

85,000 words

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Carina Press
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Read an Excerpt

Another season, another chance for victory. Brett Wallace snuck a peek at his football stadium as he pulled into the parking lot behind Northeastern high school. It was early evening, but thanks to the long summer days the late July sun showed no signs of surrendering. The faculty-and-staff lot looked almost full, with teachers getting into their classrooms to decorate, organize and plan ahead of schedule and parents registering their children for school at the last minute.

When he stepped out of the icy cool interior of his SUV, the humid air wrapped around him like a soggy blanket. Beads of sweat ran down his chest and back, making his T-shirt stick to his torso. After locking the door to his Escalade, he pulled the cotton away from his sticky abdomen, waved it a few times to let air in. Didn't help.

He made his way to the group of football coaches sitting at the picnic table to the side of the cafeteria entrance. It was the same table where he and his gridiron teammates used to sit before school when he was a student. The group tonight was a little older, a little wiser and a little wider.

"Hey, Wall!" Arnie, the newest addition to their staff, was twenty-three and fresh out of college. He wasn't old enough—jaded enough—to know it was uncool to reference Brett's time with the New York Liberties by using his old nickname. Brett "The Wall" Wallace. Arnie's worshipful attitude was flattering more than annoying. And a constant reminder of the responsibility he carried now.

He plopped down next to his assistant coach, Steve. "What's up, guys?"

James, the offensive coach, put down the notebook he'd been scribbling in, twirled the pen between his palms. "Shootin' the shit before we go in."

"Any reason you're shootin' the shit in the heat?" Brett dragged the notebook his way.

"Sure you can have the pad. No problem." James made a face.

Brett gave him the finger and kept perusing the pattern of X's and O's.

"Janitorial staff didn't get the memo about the meeting tonight, so they're still cleaning the auditorium," Steve offered. "Didn't wanna get in their way, decided to chill out here." He scoffed. "Chill. Right. Melt is more like it. The other coaches were smart. They all retreated to the teacher's lounge. Where there's air." He cast a sideways glance at T.J., the special teams coach.

Brett grunted and held out a hand for the pen James still held without looking up. After making a few quick scratches, some arrows and dots, he pushed the notebook back across the table. "Not bad. Put it in the possibilities for this year's playbook."

James's face split into a grin, and Brett caught the hint of a blush before the guy ducked his head to fold the notebook back up. Brett understood. He didn't often add in new plays, preferring to stick with the tried-and-true offense. Adding to the playbook was something to be proud of.

Brett swiveled around so his back rested against the table's edge, folded his hands over his still-damp stomach. A light breeze rustled through the trees, and he tried the T-shirt trick again. Didn't help. A car door slammed and Steve mumbled something next to him.

"What'd you say, Steve?"

He heard James mutter, "Not too bad. Not too bad at all."

"What's not too bad?" He turned, then someone—a female someone—caught his eye.

Meet the Author

Jeanette Murray lives with her daughter, husband and extremely stupid (but utterly lovable) Goldendoodle. Her life is almost always in transit thanks to the military. Nonwriting hobbies include couponing, blogging, shoe shopping and watching really horrible reality TV. (Hey, we all have a vice!) She also loves tennis, football and rugby.

Jeanette put pen to paper (or, rather, fingers to keyboard) after she finally realized she didn't have multiple personalities. Just characters roaming her imagination, waiting until she had the time and courage to give them life. It's been a whirlwind ever since. She absolutely loves to talk and does her best to respond to every email, blog comment, tweet or wall post. So find her on Facebook, Twitter or on her website at

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The Game of Love 4.8 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 28 reviews.
SmittenWithReading More than 1 year ago
My Review: I love sports-themed books and seem to have a weakness for books featuring high school football coaches, so you know that this book has a lot going for it already. I really did enjoy this book. It's a sweet little read and was thoroughly entertaining. Brett's character is awesome and I absolutely adored his family, especially his brothers. They all have a wonderful relationship with each other and his reactions to them letting themselves in with their keys to his house is priceless. It's definitely a family that love each other to the point of constantly harassing each other which makes it so much fun. quote from Scott, Brett's brother, after Brett quoted Fiddler on the Roof... <i>"One, that was scary. Don't ever quote a musical if you ever want to get laid again." </i> Just really funny dialogue between the family all throughout the book. I especially loved Anna, Brett's mom, and her reaction to Chris. <i>"Oh, sweetheart, I was almost positive after I heard about you tossing a drink in my son's face, but after that, now I'm sure. You are about as perfect for that son of mine as it gets."</i> It's an interesting twist to have BOTH of these characters with a history as former professional athletes, although I didn't understand why Chris didn't want to share that with Brett. It would have prevented a lot of misunderstanding, but then where would that have left the story without the conflict? I liked that she was a tennis pro and coached the girls tennis team. I really, really loved her philosophy for coaching the girls especially after her history as a pro. I loved that she did everything in her power to help them succeed, but made sure that the emphasis was on them having fun above all else. I really liked the addition of Jared & Katie to the story. Katie is Chris' best friend, who's also pregnant (which added some funny lines to the story) and married to Jared. Jared is Brett's best friend (since kindergarten) and he is also the Athletic Director for the school. They are both shown throughout the book as offering advice/sarcasm. They have a fabulously sweet marriage and the addition of their friendships added a lot to the overall story. This was my first book that I have read by Jeanette Murray, but I definitely look forward to reading more of her contemporary romance. Hopefully, she has more coming out soon!!
LASR_Reviews More than 1 year ago
The game of love, just like any other game, is a gamble. When two people have a history in the pro athletic world and have been burned, the last thing either needs is a new relationship. But here they are, meeting by chance, and despite what both want, Chris and Brett find playing the game of love could end up the best thing they've ever done. Chris and Brett didn't hit it off right away. It takes time for her to warm up to this ex-NFL star. She's already had one bad relationship with an athlete, and look where that got her. The more she spends time around Brett, though, the less he reminds her of the past, and the more she actually likes him. Brett is definitely one fine hero, and his family is hilarious! I certainly felt like I belonged with each visit into Brett's life and family. Each has their own distinct personality and adds a flavor to this story. With the authors creative voice and witty writing, every character is memorable and fun. The chemistry between Brett and Chris is strong, and even though they deny it at first. Their path to happily ever after has quite a few curve balls, but what a ride! The pacing stays steady, the plot and characters believable, and this novel is sure to win the hearts of contemporary romance fans. Do you love to read romances with a sports theme? Do you dig a hero who once played in the NFL? The Game of Love is a delightful contemporary romp that can put a smile on your face. Why not get yourself a copy? Originally posted at The Long and Short of It Romance Reviews
RBtWBC More than 1 year ago
Brett 'The Wall' Wallace is a retired NFL player who has returned to his home town to couch the Northeastern High School football team. Wary of women after him only because of his past career Brett is instantly intrigued by Chris who seems to want nothing to do with him. Chris St. James is a retired pro tennis player who has just moved to town to couch the girl's tennis team and teach high school math. Embarrassed and resentful of her pro past Chris hides it from everyone, and wanting nothing to do with pro anything Chris instantly forms a dislike for Brett. The Game of Love was a fun, easy read about two people with totally different backgrounds but who are very similar to each other and have a passion for their sport of choice. These two, Chris and Brett, instantly clash. Both strong minded independent persons wary of the opposite sex for their own reasons. Brett, thanks to his ex-wife, has steered clear of women since his divorce. Fearful of what he terms 'prohos', women only after him for his past career of a pro football player. While Chris wants nothing to do with anyone from the pro's because of her over bearing parents who pushed her into a pro career then condemned her for retiring and a psychotic ex boyfriend who is a pro hockey player. Sparks flew when these two meet up but they are continually at odds throughout the first half of the story. Chris is very standoffish and Brett, who get's props for trying, usually ended up putting his foot in his mouth because of his arrogant attitude. Chris and Brett's relationship built gradually and eventually while Chris's background and the reasons for her poor attitude are slowly revealed; after several ups and downs they learn trust each other. There was a lot of sexual tension in the building process and though the sexual relief, so to say, was romantic it wasn't intense. Brett's family was a great addition to the story though that I really enjoyed, they were fun and humorous. There was also a sub plot concerning Chris's ex that added a nice twist to the story line. The Game of Love was well written and well set-up, as well as realistic with some of the issues involved and the relationship development but the quibble between the h/h went on a little too long and began to drag the story down. I also didn't care for the heroine, Chris, at all. I don't think her problems justified such a severe attitude. She was very quick to confrontation, rarely giving Brett or anyone a chance to explain or reason out their actions and I never warmed up to her. Over all a good read that held my interest, I just couldn't get into the heroine.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
683pgs. A very good book.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it! I really truly loved loved this story about Chris and Bret. Im bumming that Im now done with the book. Reallyis a great book. Really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Talk about a "real" love story. This was warm, sweet, believable and sexy. Brett was a wonderful hero. All man but loved his family, the kids he coached in football and had been burned by an ex wife when he was a pro football player. Chris is a math teacher and tennis coach who once played pro tennis.. She was badly burned by a pro hockey player and is afraid to try love again. This is a story you really have to read because I am not going to spoil this by telling you the plot. But even if you don't like sports themed stories the well developed characters and the very interesting story will grab you from page one.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was awesome! I loved Chris and Brett! Brett was so HOT!!!! I really liked getting to know Brett's family and their friends Jared and Katie. I have read the book twice and it is a definite re-read. I can't wait for more of Jeanette's books! She is one of my favorite authors!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Brett and chris were so great together! I just loved brett, he was so sweet and hilarious especially liked when the author described him as a child! It was great! A must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great guy and gal, wonderful extended family. I couldn't put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
## This book was fabulous. It had so many laugh out loud moments. I love when an author combines romance and humor. The hero and the heroine were both amazing, once you got past the first chapter (they of course had to have the obligitory 'she's a man hater' & 'he'd so full of himself' chapter. But the story and the characters were very well developed and everything came together in the end. The secondary characters were also fantastic. I would highly recommend this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyes the characters dynamics and the main character's wit and sense of humor.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago