Hot rugby star? Check. Ambitious style columnist ex? Check. A six-part feature series neither want to be part of? Check. Check. Check.
Sydney Smoke captain and rugby god Tanner Stone wants to be interviewed about as much as he wants to snap an Achilles, but it may just be his chance for a rematch with his high school sweetheart.
Matilda Kent’s big mouth has landed her an interview with the one man she hoped to never see again—her high school boyfriend who broke her heart. But, with a promotion on the line, she’s prepared to play nice while dishing the dirt on the guy.
An epic war or words leads to a flurry of action both on the field and between the sheets and this time winner takes all.
Each book in the Sydney Smoke Rugby series is STANDALONE:
* Playing By Her Rules
* Playing It Cool
* Playing the Player
* Playing With Forever
* Playing House
* Playing Dirty
About the Author
Amy is an award-winning, USA Today best-selling Aussie author who has written seventy plus contemporary romances in both the traditional and digital markets. Her books bring all the feels from sass, quirk and laughter to emotional grit and panty-melting heat. At sixteen she met a guy she knew she was going to marry and several years later she did. They have two grown kids who have flown the coop for distant shores which enables their travel fetish.
She loves good books and great booze although she'll take mediocre booze if there's nothing else. For many, many years she was a registered nurse which means she knows things. Anatomical things. And she’s not afraid to use them! She's just taken a sea change and gets to create sexy stories whilst overlooking the mighty Pacific Ocean. Life is good.
Read an Excerpt
Playing by Her Rules
A Sydney Smoke Rugby Novel
By Amy Andrews, Liz Pelletier
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2016 Amy Andrews
All rights reserved.
If Matilda Kent had to write one more story about the latest nipple-baring bustier or test drive the newest crotchless thongs marketed to the "everyday woman" for the edification of her style column readers, she was going to strangle her boss with them.
Seriously, who paid a hundred bucks for a scrap of satin and lace that didn't cover all the bits underwear was invented to cover? A tiny string of fake pearls slung across the divide just didn't make up for the lack of fabric in a certain area. And why would someone wear them anyway? On a date maybe. But for work? Or binge watching Netflix? Or cooking a lamb roast?
Or any of those everyday woman things?
She clicked and unclicked her pen absently as she focused on keeping everything below the boardroom table very, very still in the hope those pearls would stay lax and not encroach on areas where it might result in an embarrassing urge to itch. Or possibly orgasm. In the middle of an editorial meeting.
This was not where she'd imagined four years studying English Lit at Stanford would land her.
"Matilda. Must you?"
She stopped clicking the pen and tuned in to the half dozen faces peering at her, including Imelda Herron, her hard-as-nails boss, who'd been in the newspaper business since God was a child.
"Sorry," she muttered, placing her pen on the table as Imelda continued.
But it was seriously difficult to listen to celebrity names being thrown around for a feature series while concentrating on her almost nonexistent underwear. Normally, she could multi-task her ass off, but the threat of imminent invasion of her lady garden by a foreign object was distracting beyond all reason.
If she was going to be violated, she'd rather it be consensual.
"Him," somebody toward the end of the table pronounced. "That's who I'd like to know more about."
Heads swivelled in the direction of the muted wall-mounted television displaying footage of a football team. The camera zeroed in on Tanner Stone — or Slick as the media called him — the captain of the Sydney Smoke rugby team.
Matilda's pulse spiked. Tanner freaking Stone. A close-up of him shirtless, bending and stretching, his perfect, tight ass in the air, almost made her forget there were pearls in places they had no right to be.
And the fact he was a lying, cheating scumbag who'd stomped on her heart, turned her into a romantic cynic at the tender age of eighteen, and caused her to sabotage every relationship she'd ever had with a man.
He was the reason her grandmother kept bitching at her about the lack of great-grandbabies.
Matilda would have liked to think she was mature enough now to be over him. Sadly, she wasn't that evolved. The wound may have healed, but it wasn't all neat and perfect. It was jagged and messy and if you poked it, it still hurt from time to time.
"I wouldn't mind being rucked by him," someone muttered.
Matilda glanced around at the general murmur of agreement and tried not to remember how good the man rucked.
He had set a very high standard.
A surge of heat and oestrogen flooded her system at the avalanche of memories. Looking around at the lascivious gazes, she doubted she was the only one experiencing a hot flush.
"He doesn't give interviews," someone else lamented.
"He might now," Imelda nodded as the screen split in two.
One side was still unhelpfully focused on a pair of glutes that would have made Michelangelo weep. The other showed Bonner Hayden, a recently disgraced rugby player from another team, dashing to his car through a mob of reporters. He'd gotten drunk and disorderly and exposed himself to a waitress in front of an entire restaurant and about forty camera phones.
It had been the latest in a series of embarrassing incidents for the sport.
The attention in the room switched back to Imelda.
"Rugby's had a bit of an annus horribilis," she explained. "Their image is pretty crap at the moment. Particularly with women. They might be amenable to a feature series on one of their best and brightest — the 'man behind the myth' kind of thing."
The heat coiled and simmered in Matilda's gut now. "He's hardly squeaky clean," she objected. Best and brightest? Screw that. "The man's had more barely-dressed women on his arm than Hugh bloody Heffner."
Matilda didn't watch sport, and she avoided gossip magazines, but she did work on a newspaper — it was impossible to avoid stories and pictures of the one man it seemed everyone wanted a piece of.
"So? The man's a bit of a playboy. He's hot, single, and likes pretty girls." Imelda shrugged. "But there's never been a whiff of scandal surrounding him, and at the moment, that seems to be a bit of a rarity in the sport. I think the rugby board might be willing to offer up a sacrificial lamb, no matter how reluctant, to restore its image, if we pitched it just right."
Imelda tapped a finger with a long scarlet nail against her lips for a beat or two before wandering over to the large windows, every eye in the room tracking her path. The offices of the Standard were high in the sky with a one-eighty degree view of central Sydney. Imelda stopped as if she was admiring the sparkling harbour and the white sails of the famous opera house, but Matilda had been around long enough to know that Imelda wasn't seeing any of it. She could hear the cogs in her boss's brain working overtime.
"Sydney Smoke's Playboy Saint," she said, turning to face them abruptly, looking into the distance as if she could see the headline up in lights somewhere.
Matilda snorted before she could stop herself. "You wouldn't think that if you knew him."
A saint? Tanner Stone was the anti-Christ.
The rapt focus of the group switched instantly to Matilda, zeroing in on her as if she were roadkill and they were birds of prey. The atmosphere in the room grew predatory.
"Oh, really?" Imelda purred, pushing away from the windows and prowling toward her with all the grace and menace of a jungle cat about to pounce. "Do tell."
Matilda swallowed. She hated being put on the spot, and sucked at lying. Her ears were hot and no doubt an attractive shade of red, which her pixie haircut would fail to mask. "We ... sort of dated."
A collective gasp rang around the room. "It was a long time ago," she hastened to add. "In high school. But I'm here to tell you that Tanner Stone is a world class jerk."
That seemed to be of little concern to her colleagues, who bombarded her with questions. "What was he like in high school?"
"Was he romantic?"
"How long were you together?"
"Oh my God," one of the marketing women whispered, "please tell me he's a good kisser. He has to be with that mouth."
"Oh, screw kissing," the ruck girl said dismissively. "I want to know if his legendary ball control extends to the bedroom."
Matilda blinked at the barrage of questions. There was no way in hell she was telling anybody about Tanner's ball control. She wanted this day to be over already, and it was only ten a.m. She wanted to go home, take off the ridiculous scrap of fabric and pearls masquerading as underwear, put on her favourite hipsters, and drown herself in a vat of wine.
Imelda held up her hand and everyone magically shushed. Matilda wished that would be an end to it, but she knew her boss too well. Her narrowed, speculative gaze felt like it was probing Matilda's brain with about as much finesse as a cavity search.
"Good." Imelda nodded and smiled to herself as if she'd come to a decision. "Matilda, you've been wanting to move out of fashion and onto features for some time now. Here's your chance. I want a six-part series on Tanner Stone. The man behind the myth."
Matilda gaped at her boss. For almost five years now she'd been slogging away at the newspaper. Her impressive academic qualifications hadn't meant squat once she'd gotten her foot in the door, and she'd worked hard to move up the ladder. Landing the style column two years ago had been a bit of a coup for someone of only twenty-four, but it was just a stepping-stone. Feature writer was where she wanted to be.
The jewel in the crown.
Now, it seemed, it was being handed to her — with a giant freaking string attached. Suddenly, bustiers and crotchless knickers looked pretty damn good.
"No. No. Hell no." She shook her head vehemently. She wasn't putting herself in the way of that train wreck again. "You want me to do a feature story? I've got plenty ideas. I've pitched a dozen to you over the last year alone."
Her colleagues looked at her askance. Nobody ever said no to Imelda. Matilda's pulse hammered madly at her own audacity. But everyone had a line in the sand, and Tanner was hers.
Imelda didn't do or say anything for long moments, her gaze firmly fixed on Matilda. The lifting of one elegantly arched eyebrow broke the screaming tension. "We could, of course, transfer you to obituaries. Hank is always complaining he's understaffed."
Fuckity, fuckity fuck. Matilda didn't doubt for a moment that Imelda would carry through on the not so subtle warning. She wasn't someone who made idle threats.
So she was screwed, either way.
At least if she submitted to Imelda's manipulations and delivered a stunning series, she could leapfrog right into the features team. Use it to her advantage.
If she played her cards right. But ...
Tanner freaking Stone?
She shifted in the chair, desperately trying to think of an escape route, the damn pearls reminding her how far away she was from where she wanted to be.
"He won't agree to it," she said, prepared to grab hold of any lifeline.
"You let me worry about that."
Matilda's sigh was loud and mournful as her shoulders sagged. There was no way out of this but to quit or write about dead people for the rest of her natural life. Neither option was viable with a mortgage the size of hers.
Imelda smiled triumphantly, knowing she had Matilda right where she wanted her. "I'll set it up."
Fuckity, fuckity fuck.
* * *
"You know what this poker game needs?"
Tanner Stone looked up from dealing the last card just as Ryder Davis said, "A better dealer?" and threw his hand down in disgust.
"Chicks," Lincoln Quinn continued as he picked up his hand.
Dexter Blake laughed. "Linc," he said, "if you had any more chicks, you could start your own egg farm. You need to slow down, man, or you're going to wear that thing out."
Linc grinned. "Better worn out then neglected, Dex."
The good-natured insult rolled off Dex's shoulders. "It's called discerning, dickhead. You ought to try it some time."
Donovan Bane whistled. "Discerning. Look at you go with your big words, Dex."
"Not all football players are young, dumb, and full of come," Dex said.
"Just the ones called Linc," Ryder chimed in, and everyone, including Linc, laughed.
"What exactly do you think these chicks you're always running off at the mouth about would do if they were here, Linc?" Bodie Webb asked as he scrutinised the cards in his hand.
"I don't know." Linc shrugged. "Look good, smell good. Get our beers. Stroke our egos?"
Dex snorted. "Man, you are young, dumb, and full of come."
"As if your ego needs any more stroking," Ryder added. "If it took form and shape right now in front of us, it'd be a giant hard-on."
Tanner laughed. He loved poker night. Cold beer, hot pizza, and talking smack. Nothing like relaxing with his fellow team members, far away from the field and the scrutiny of coaches, team officials, the public, and the bloody media. It was usually just the single guys that made it, but it was team building at its best, and as captain, Tanner took team solidarity seriously.
The Sydney Smoke were tight, both on and off the field. It was what made them so damn formidable.
"Poker night's dudes only," he said, staring at three aces and two kings. "Now are we going to play or not?"
Tanner's mobile rang, and the whole table groaned.
"Hey," Donovan bitched. "You make us switch ours off."
Tanner grinned as he picked up the phone. "It's good to be king." The name display flashed Griffin. The other King in his life. "Crap," he said. "It's the coach."
He picked it up instantly. It had to be something reasonably important. Poker nights were sacred, and the coach knew it.
"Griff?" Tanner said, sliding the phone to his ear, rocking back on the chair's hind legs. "Everything okay?"
"No, everything is not okay," he growled. "Apparently now I'm your publicist as well."
Griffin King was not known for his tolerance. He was known for being one of the best rugby players the country had ever seen, and then for the being the best damn rugby coach in existence. He was known for being a hard taskmaster. He was known for his singular focus on his team and the game, and he hated anything that distracted or detracted from it.
Fripperies he called them. Griffin King hated the fripperies.
"What do you mean?"
"You're to make yourself available for a newspaper reporter who's been granted an all-access pass to training, the locker room, and the games, both here and on the road. It's a six-part series on you — the man behind the myth bullshit."
Tanner's chair thunked onto all fours. "The hell I am."
Looks were exchanged across the table at Tanner's vehement response. Not many people spoke back to Griff. Not even his captain.
"You think I give one single fuck about any of this crap?" Griff bitched in his ear. "You think it's my fault that some players go out on the town full of piss and wind and think their shit doesn't stink? You think I like getting phone calls from a CEO too chickenshit to do his own dirty work and tell you this himself?"
It was also well known that Griff had no tolerance for the suits at the top. There'd been a few over the last ten years that would have gleefully thrown him out of union. But no sports team gets rid of its most successful coach.
"So, because of Bonner Hayden and a bunch of other fuckwits who can't keep their dicks in their pants and their egos on the leash, I have to kiss up to some journo?"
Tanner knew that rugby needed the media, and he and the team did all that was contractually required of them. But he didn't believe in singling one player out from the others. One man did not make a rugby team. And he'd seen too many words twisted in the media over the years to want anything to do with a six- part feature.
"Yep. Suits have decided you're their man. So go do what you have to do, play nice with the journo, and don't fuck it up, for Chrissakes."
Tanner shook his head. They couldn't be serious. "Look Griff —"
"I'm not asking," the coach interrupted, with a voice that could have frozen a bubbling cauldron. "I'm telling you. This is one of those pain-in-the-ass, non-negotiable things you do for the love of the sport and because I fucking asked you to."
Tanner pulled the phone away slightly as Griff spewed fire and brimstone into his ear. He looked around at five sets of eyes, the owners of which weren't even pretending not to listen.
Fucking perfect. Just what he needed. A journo hanging around asking inane questions about shit that did not matter while he was trying to win rugby matches.
Six frickin' parts.
"Fine," he snapped, knowing he was up shit creek without a paddle. "Which paper? Who's the reporter?"
He knew most of the ones that covered the sports desks already. They were okay, by and large. Chuck Nugent was a monumental wanker who knew shit about the intricacies of the game, but he was television-based on account of his apparently pretty face, so at least he'd likely be spared that dipshit.
"It's the Standard. Someone called Matilda Kent."
Tanner was pleased he was sitting as Griff tossed that particular grenade at him.
No. No frickin' way. His Tilly? His high school sweetheart, the woman he'd lost his virginity to? The only woman he'd ever had a real relationship with?
The woman he'd hurt with possibly the most dickish thing he'd ever done in his life?
He knew she was at the Standard. He'd been following her career from afar since she landed back in Sydney straight from Stanford. But she was doing a style column — he knew that because he read it every day. How was she suddenly doing a six-part feature series? On him?
Excerpted from Playing by Her Rules by Amy Andrews, Liz Pelletier. Copyright © 2016 Amy Andrews. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Amy Andrews gives readers a second chance romance with lots of heat, humor, and heartfelt moments. Plus, there are some surprises along the way. "Playing By Her Rules" by Amy Andrews is book one in the "Sydney Smoke Rugby" series. This is style columnist Matilda Kent (Tilly) and rugby team captain Tanner Stone's story. Matilda wants a feature writer position. But the one catch is she will have to do a feature series on Tanner Stone. Eight years ago Tanner broke her heart. Tanner doesn't want to be involved in a feature series. When Tanner discovers that Matilda will be the reporter, he feels that he has been given another chance to Matilda. Will Matilda be able to let go of the hurts from the pass and give them a chance at true love? You will fall in love with Tanner. He is definitely hard to resist. Will Matilda be able to resist the chemistry between them? FYI, includes mature content. I received a copy of this book from NetGalley/Entangled Publishing for an honest review. A fun, sweet, and hot romance.
Matilda and Tanner’s second chance love story in Playing by Her Rules by Amy Andrews was truly a fun and enjoyable read. Matilda landed an assignment she didn’t really want a six-part interview with her high school boyfriend, who broke her heart, and is now an elusive sports idol. Tanner avoids being interviewed by anyone in the media, wanting to avoid publicity and just play his best as he captains the Sydney Smoke rugby team. When he realizes that it is Matilda interviewing him he thinks that maybe this will give him a second chance with his high school sweetheart. Matilda plans to spill all the dirt on Tanner, especially since she believes he cheated on her. Instead she discovers he’s not what or who she expected. He has established numerous charities to give back to the community. Matilda also learns that he hurt her so she wouldn’t give up her scholarship to Sanford and a journalism career when she wanted to give it all up and follow him and his rugby career. Tanner is definitely hero material. He’s kind, passionate, caring, and loving. He never forgot her. In fact, one of the charities her established was “Matilda’s Muse”, a writing program for girls, involving local authors to assist those girls. Matilda was raised by her Gran, a real hippie-type, who taught her how to stand for herself. Tanner set the standard for all other men Matilda encountered and Tanner felt Matilda set the standard for the women he met. I loved how these two used twitter to communicate with each other, allowing their followers a peek inside their courtship. This second chance for Matilda and Tanner is finally that chance at achieving the love and marriage they weren’t ready for in high school. Ms. Andrews wrote a wonderful, sexy and emotional story that is not to be missed. She provided a tale rich with sexual chemistry, amusing banter, fun twitter posts and endearing characters giving Matilda and Tanner a chance at finally having the future together, that they always wanted. I highly recommend Playing by Her Rules to other readers.
I have zero shame when I say I needed to read this book based on the cover. Hot, tatted up rugby men. Yeah, no need to slow down when clicking on this one. Read the blurb and learn it's a second chance romance...and you've got me swooning. Playing By Her Rules is sexy and rife with tension, lust, and unresolved anger. Which means it's a powder keg! The Sydney Smoke definitely have me intrigued or at least the ones I've met. I look forward to watching them fall and fall hard.
Predictable. Stereotypical. Didn't like either of the lead characters. Just an awful terrible story.
This was my first book by Aussie author Amy Andrews, and I can’t wait to devour the rest of her Sydney Smoke Rugby series. Tanner is oh-so scrumptious as the rugby star who has to endure a series of interviews by none other than the ex-girlfriend he left behind for his career. Or did he? Matilda sees the interviews as the perfect opportunity to both earn a promotion, and get a little well-deserved payback. Or is it? Watching these two deal with the desire that still sizzles between them is almost as much fun as when they finally give in to it. There are plenty of walls to be broken down, masks to be stripped away, and mistakes to be atoned for, and by the time the last interview is printed, we’re seeing the true Tanner and Maggie without all of the armor they’ve been carrying for so many years. A two-thumbs-up recommendation.
So. Much. Fun! I love second chance romance stories, and Playing by Her Rules is a great example of the troupe! Their reasons for not making it eight years ago were solid (seriously, I am blown away by people who marry their high school sweethearts right out of the gate and live happily ever after. My taste in guys in high school and college was HORRIBLE) and the things keeping them apart now make total sense as well. They absolutely slayed me (and Tanner, and Matilda) but they make sense. It was so much fun to see the role that Twitter played in their relationship--a few of those tweets almost made me snort-laugh! The hashtags and the die-hard fans who constantly weighed in and the way it figured in to their big moment--all of it was pitch perfect. I also really enjoyed Ms. Andrews' sense of humor. All the innuendos, Matilda's awesome t-shirt slogans, and their internal dialogue (especially Tilly's--She couldn't let her ovaries have any say in anything. They'd been Team Tanner since the locker room that first day) are all so, so funny. My digital copy is rife with highlights, most of them involving humor and several that are NSFW on top of that. Did I mention how much fun this was to read? Sadly, what I know about rugby could fit on the head of a very small pin--my roommate played for two years in college yet somehow I've retained not an iota of the very limited understanding I had of it then; I mostly remember the bruises--but it doesn't matter when it comes to enjoying this story. As the author says in her dedication, the appreciation of hot men in tight shorts is universal. Amen to that. Anxiously awaiting book 2 in the series! Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
4.5 Stars I really enjoyed this one. It's a second chance romance. The characters are delightful and entertaining. I loved the ending because it was beautiful and for Tilly and Tanner is was coming full circle. Tanner made a grave mistake when they were eighteen that cost him eight years with the woman he loved. Now he has a chance to make amends and go for the second chance to win her over. He has his work cut out for him because he broke her heart all those years ago and she can't trust him with her heart. or can she? I was rooting for these two through the whole book. I can't wait for more from this series. Plus Tann and his rugby teammates are highly entertaining when together.
Matilda Kent had been in love with Tanner Sone in high school until he cheated with her nemesis. He broke her heart and she can't forgive him. Today Tanner is the Captain of the Sydney Smoke Rugby team. He's famous and gorgeous. Unexpectedly Tilly is a writer assigned to do a six-part series on him. Who would believe that fate is mocking her so! I loved this second chance story. When Tanner wooed his lady on Twitter, I laughed. Tilly is one feisty female who keeps him on his toes. Tanner has his hands full with her. His teammates are having too much fun egging him on. This was a feel good story filled with likeable characters, a great setting and snappy dialogue. Amy Andrews even made me like Footy. When I finished Playing By Her Rules, I was smiling. I definitely want more stories on the Sydney Smoke Rugby team. I received a copy in exchange for an honest and unscripted review.
4.5 stars I really enjoyed Playing By Her Rules. This was a fun, entertaining and heartfelt second chance love story. Matilda and Tanner were great characters, they made me laugh, loved their banter, frustrated me, and warmed my heart with their love and admiration for each other. And their chemistry?? HOT HOT HOT! Playing by Her Rules was a well written and entertaining second chance love story that will capture your interest from the first page until the last. What a great start to the Sydney Smoke Rugby series!
I thoroughly enjoyed this story. I was rolling from several scenes between Tanner and his teammates as well as Tanner and Matilda. Oh my goodness they were hilarious. Good old fashioned locker room hysterics. I love books that can make me laugh and picture those scenes so vividly in my head. Throw in the sexiness between Tanner and Matilda and you have one good book. I could so relate to her in her physical appearance as well as how she felt after her break up with Tanner. And I can relate to her holding on to that pain and the grudge. But Tanner trying to make amends, helping her grandmother (who is a hoot and a half on her own), along with his charm and good deeds is one fierce man to resist. I loved the way the book ended. a little bit of a surprise from what I was thinking would happen, but very fitting and very sweet. I am looking forward to more in thus series. These guys... I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher through Netgalley.
Tilly is a journalist that hoping for a promotion as a feature writer. Her boss agrees if she will interview the one person she tries to avoid at all costs, her ex Tanner. He is the captain of Sydney Smoke rugby team, and Tilly's boss is making her write a 6 part article about him. She reluctantly agrees. Tanner has never forgotten Tilly and is eager to get back into her good graces. He uses the interviews as dates and tries to change her opinion of him. Tanner and Tilly have great chemistry, but the past prevents her from moving forward. This was a well written book that featured a sexy hero, a plucky heroine, and an exotic location. I liked a lot about this book, but wish it had explained the sport of Rugby a little more. Overall if you like a hot Australian romance, this is the book for you! I was given a free copy for an honest review.
Tilly works as a fashion writer and desperately wants to be a feature writer. When her boss finds out she used to date Tanner, the playboy of the Sydney Rugby team, she find herself having to interview him for six features. She'd rather pull her nails out one by one but finds herself doing it anyway. Tanner hates the idea of doing an interview till he finds out it's Tilly, his love from highschool whose heart he broke. He wants her again but Tilly just wants to write the articles and move on . All he has to do is show her that he's sorry but a woman scorned doesn't forgive easily. *I received this through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Playing by Her Rules by Amy Andrews Book One of the Sydney Smoke Rugby series Publisher: Entangled Brazen Publication Date: July 11, 2016 Rating: 3 stars Source: eARC from NetGalley ***Warning: this is an adult book, and for the eyes of mature readers*** Summary (from Goodreads): In this grudge match, the first to score… When style columnist Matilda Kent accidentally lets slip that she was once involved with the captain of the Sydney Smoke rugby team, she suddenly finds herself elevated to the position she’s always wanted – feature writer. The catch? She’s stuck doing a six-part series on her ex. Still, there’s no way she can turn down a promotion…or the chance to dish the dirt on the guy who so callously broke her heart. …could win it all! Tanner Stone wants to be involved in a feature series about as much as he wants to snap an Achilles. But the thought of seeing Tilly again is a bonus—and has him more worked up than he wants to admit. Only he’s not prepared for how different she is – all cool and professional. His Tilly is still in there, though…and he still wants her, now more than ever. All he has to do is charm her into giving him a rematch. And this time, winner takes all! What I Liked: Ehhhhh. I didn't really enjoy this book. I didn't hate it either, but it was nothing special. This review might not seem the most positive, but I honestly don't know how to put my thoughts together. Three stars isn't bad, but this book is on the not-so-memorable side of three stars. Apologies in advance if this review isn't up to my usual standard - I'm feeling very meh about this book! Matilda is a journalist for a local magazine, and lately, she hasn't been loving the work she's been assigned. When she lets it slip that she used to date the rugby star and captain, Tanner Stone, her editor demands that she writes a six-piece cover on Tanner. And Tanner's coach tells him he needs to do it, because rugby needed a bit of good PR at the time. Matilda doesn't want anything to do with Tanner, after the way they broke up eight years ago. But Tanner wants to take this opportunity to show her that his mistake from eight years ago was just that - a mistake - and that he has never stopped wanting her. I love sports romances, and this one wasn't too bad an example of a sports romance. I've never read one about a rugby player, so that was a neat experience. I must say, rugby players seem like the real deal. I personally like soccer players and hockey players, but we'll go ahead and add rugby players to the mix. *peers at athletes* This is one of those cases where I loved the male but didn't really care for the female. Tanner is alright by me! He's a gentleman and a sweetheart, even though the media (and Matilda) portrays him as a shallow playboy. He donates so much money and time to charities, and he never stops to help someone or be kind to someone. Matilda has such a negative opinion of him because of how they broke up... eight years ago, when they were still in high school. More on Matilda in the next section. I liked the chemistry between these two. While there definitely could have been more sex scenes (there were only two, and they were at the end of the book, and rather abbreviated), I liked the boiling chemistry that the author cooked up. Read the rest of my review on my blog, The Eater of Books! - eaterofbooks DOT blogspot DOT com :)
Blazingly hot and wonderfully sassy! This is the perfect blend of heart, humour, and sex. It is a scrumptious story that combines a ruggedly handsome, charming rugby player with a beautiful, intelligent, wary journalist, complete with a plot filled with racy innuendos, sizzling tension, incredible chemistry, and brilliantly witty dialogue. This is the perfect summer read and a true guilty pleasure. And I can guarantee you that the next book in the Sydney Smoke Series will definitely have a prime spot in “my to read” pile once it’s released. If you haven’t read any thing by Amy Andrews before, be sure to check out her website here for other great titles.
A sizzling second chance romance with a sweet, charismatic, all around nice guy, who is sexy as hell, as well as the captain of the Sydney Smoke Rugby team. Tanner Stone lost Matilda Kent eight years ago trying to do the honorable thing. All it takes is for him to see her again, and he realizes that he has never stopped loving her, and he isn't going to let her slip away a second time. Matilda Kent's' heart was broken eight years ago, by her first love Tanner Stone. Now she is given an assignment to do six feature articles about him, "The Man Behind The Myth" and she is out for the Ultimate Revenge. Matilda is a different person, than the one that Tanner knew in high school. After he ripped her heart out of her chest, Matilda has pushed every relationship she has ever had away. She can no longer trust a man and is reluctant to let anyone in, especially Tanner Stone. I absolutely Loved this story. These characters are lovable and so well developed. Matilda and Tanner's chemistry is off the charts. I loved Tilly's snarky wit and her quick come backs as well as her vulnerable side that was heartbreaking at times. I lusted for Tanner he was the whole package and so sweet and determined to win her back. I also adored and enjoyed the secondary characters and how much fun and LOL moments they brought to this story. This story was full of quick wit, sizzling hotness that you will not want to miss. So what are you waiting for, go buy it now. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED !!! Received a complimentary copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This is a fun and sexy second chance romance about a high school couple that broke up, an event arranged by Tanner to make Matilda choose her own career aspirations over following him as he developed his rugby career. Several years later, she's a journalist tasked with writing a six part series on him and his rise to fame as a rugby player. She figures it'll give her a chance to get some revenge on him for breaking her heart, but the truth is he really is a decent guy and he sets out to prove to her that he's worth a second chance. Some great rugby scenes, fun camaraderie with his team and some good grovel on Tanner's part make for a sexy romance and a happy ending for this couple. 4 stars.
4.5 Stars! Since I enjoy anything written by Amy Andrews, I automatically read her new releases. Her latest book, Playing By Her Rules, is a hot and entertaining romance, and I devoured it in very little time. The characters are nicely defined, the sex scenes are sizzling, and the Australian lingo is quite fun. This story is about journalist Matilda Kent and professional rugby player Tanner Stone. They were madly in love in high school, and then Tanner did a really dumb thing for all the right reasons. As a result, they broke up, and Matilda attended Stanford while Tanner payed his dues in the minor leagues and became a rugby superstar. Matilda's latest assignment is a six-part series about Tanner, and if it is well received, she will be promoted to the features desk. Their time together forces the past into the present, while they get to know each other once again. Some authors are able to create tangible passion and Ms. Andrews is one of them. I instantly connected with both Tilly and Tanner, and felt their attraction the moment their eyes met for the first time in eight years. They are a hot couple, both in and out of the bedroom. Their story is replete with longing, forgiveness, and love. Tilly's grandmother is a spunky character and adds both humor and a unique wisdom to the plot. I truly enjoyed this passionate and well-written book. Complimentary copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
Matilda is a journalist and currently writes a fashion column for a magazine. This isn't what she envisioned her journalistic career to be. When the magazine decides they want to write a story on Tanner Stone, a rugby player who happens to be her ex, she cringes at the thought of him being propped up as a saint. This, of course, makes her editor assign the six-article series to her. Tanner Stone is the captain of his professional rugby team, the Sydney Smoke. He doesn't want to do the article but he's happy to see Tilly again after eight years of being apart. He's determined to win her back and make up for the mistakes of the past. I love second chance romances but there was something about this one that was missing something. I didn't see how forgiveness could come as quickly as it did. I did really like this book, from the Twitter updates to the back and forth between Tanner and Tilly. I am looking forward to the continuation of this series. *I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Romance featuring rugby players is like catnip to me. I grew up loving the game, and whilst I can tell you the points scored for a conversion, a try and a dropped-goal, I can also tell you that rugby players have outstanding thighs. And shoulders. "...this time I’m playing to win." The second-chance trope with redemption is a firm favourite of mine and I always appreciate a hero who wears his heart on his sleeve and Tanner is that man; he may talk a good game, but he's much more than that. And I equally appreciate a heroine who doesn't give him an easy time of things, and Matilda has very valid reason. "You broke my heart, Tanner. And that’s not okay. Things can never be okay between us again." For a Brazen, Playing by Her Rules is fairly low on the heat scale and the romance between Tanner and Matilda simmered as opposed to boiled. But they had a chemistry that reignited as the story progressed and the slower burn was actually fitting to the fact they have history. It's definitely a story weighted towards the sexual tension, they have it going on in spades and, even thought I felt Tanner and Matilda deserved a little more sooner (again down to expectations from this imprint), the build-up between them was sexy, the humour was witty and cheeky and there were some lovely touching moments. "You were always the best part of me." This is a promising start to the Sydney Smoke Rugby series and with a great bunch of secondary characters introduced who provide plenty of banter, the foundations have been laid for much more (seven books more I'm led to believe). Amy Andrews isn't a new author to me, I've read many by her, I enjoy her couples and I'm looking forward to seeing how the series develops. Copy received courtesy of Entangled Publishing via NetGalley for an honest and unbiased opinion.
4.5 Stars! Playing By Her Rules is a second chance love that had me happy and sad at the same time. I'm sad that they had to waste 8 years. The author did such a good job of the chemistry between these two. The characters completely sucked me in, maybe a little too much because I had a hard time forgiving Tanner as much as Tilly did. Good thing he is such a great guy! Overall, great story, great characters and I would love to read more from Amy Andrews. ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Matilda is a newspaper writer in Australia. Tanner is the captain of a pro rugby team. They were high school sweethearts and they had a viciously bad breakup. She went off to Stanford, and he became a pro athlete, that the entire world loves. Her boss at the paper finds out about their past relationship and wants Matilda to write a 6-part series on him. She's horrified by the idea, but she knows it will get her the job at the paper she's been after, so she agrees. Tilly was quite the handful. She has quite a chip on her shoulder about their breakup and she thinks Tanner is scum and he has everyone snowed by his happy-go-lucky, playboy image. The more time she spends with him, she realizes that he actually IS a nice guy, so then she's even more confused than ever, both about their past, and about her still blazing attraction to him. Tanner was a sweetheart. He made a boneheaded decision as a teenager that led to his and Tilly's breakup, but after seeing her again, he really wants her back. He plays dirty when it comes to getting her to admit to their attraction, and he makes no apologies for it. Time and again, as she shuts him down, he continues to try to persevere. I really liked this story, but I didn't love it. The main characters' chemistry was off the charts, but the continual putting off of having the big, revealing conversation that they desperately needed to have became a little grating. Tilly's constant state of push and pull got on my nerves a bit too. She was still so angry after 8 years, but she just acted like it was all fine, and that didn't really endear her to me. Tanner thought it better to leave the past in the past and never talk about it, and just start over, which was obviously never going to work. That really bothered me too, as he seemed so smart about pretty much everything else in his life. It was a case of love making people dumb, and I had a hard time with it. This was my first book by this author, and while I really liked her style, some of the Australian slang was a little off-putting for me. It took me right out of the story sometimes, and I didn't like that. Obviously, she's Australian, and I don't expect her to change her voice to make one American girl happier, but I had a harder time with it than I expected. She DID put a glossary in the back of the book, and that raised this rating a half star for me, though I REALLY feel it would have been a lot more helpful, had it been in the front! Also, having it in the front would have prepared me a little better to the idea of needing a glossary, and I think that would have helped the slang terms to not be so hard to take. Overall, I really enjoyed this story, and the side characters (other players on Tanner's team, his coach, his coach's daughter, the WAGS, and even Tilly's boss) were so intriguing that I look forward to more stories in this series. Next time, I'll be sure to read the glossary up front!!
This is a thoroughly enjoyable second chance romance where teen lovers meet up again under less than desirable circumstances more than eight years later. He was her first love, the one she planned her future around – until she saw him kissing her worst enemy . . . Heartbroken she went off from Australia to study in the US. Now she’s back again as a journalist – the style columnist aspiring to be a feature writer. She was his first love, the one he planned his future around until she threatened to sacrifice her dream scholarship to follow him and his uncertain path as a sportsman…. Now she’s been sent to do a six week special series on him. Six meetings. Will she get revenge for him breaking her heart or will they get a second chance at love? In a game where points count, who will win? This is a great story, one packed with the angst of the past colouring the future expectations and present day interactions making it a dramatic story packed with hopes, fears, love, revenge and hot attraction. The characters are brilliantly portrayed (now come on, what do you expect with Amy Andrews as the author – they’re always brilliantly portrayed!). Their emotive interactions, the score keeping and the breaking down of walls around the heart take the reader through the full gamut of emotions. There are laugh out loud moments in the journey, as well as heartbreak and so much more. The secondary characters are essential ingredients in the story and I really hope to learn more about many of them in future novels in this new series – especially Griff and his daughter as well as Tanner’s team mates. This is definitely a series I’ll be looking out for in future! P.S. Also thought the Glossary of words “readers may not know – both rugby ones and strange Aussieisms” were a brilliant – and sometimes hilarious – addition!
Another amazing fun and sexy read from Amy Andrews. And Ms. Andrews thanks so much for the Aussie-ism glossary!! I must admit that as sports crazy as I am I just don't get rugby. I do however have an appreciation for the fine men who play the sport and I can picture Tanner Stone out there in all his deliciousness. The quick wit and sass of Matilda made this an amusing fun read! As teenagers Matilda Kent and Tanner Stone were each other's first everything. Certain they are meant to be together forever, Matilda plans on declining a scholarship that will take her away for 3 years. That is until the day Tanner breaks her heart by cheating on her. Now eight years later he's at the top of his rugby career and she is the budding journalist sent to interview him. Sparks fly from that very first meeting and even though she claims to hate him, Tanner knows he will do anything to get her back. He plans on explaining everything that happened on that explosive day hoping Matilda will understand. Will she or will that be the end of his dreams? This is a book I highly recommend, it's perfect for a lazy day read!
I loved this book! It's a wonderful romance set against the backdrop of rugby. Since I consider myself sports impaired, I wasn't sure how I'd do with the sports references, but the author crafted a novel where they even made sense to me (quite an accomplishment!). Matilda and Tanner were high school sweethearts, until the day that Tanner destroyed her heart. She never knew why he was so cruel or why she didn't know he was capable of such behavior. Flash forward eight years and she's working as a writer for a newspaper when she is assigned to write a feature series on Tanner. If she refuses, her career will be damaged as her supervisor has threatened her with the ultimate of demotions. So Matilda pulls up her big girl panties and sets out to do a series of interviews with Tanner to base the series on.....except Tanner keeps calling them dates. Despite the past, she is still drawn to him. What follows is a wonderful romance that made me smile. Fans of the genre will love this book. The author is on my must read authors' list.
4 - "Sorry... Did I make you wet?" Stars! A steady start for Amy Andrews new Sydney Smoke series. We have a team of rugby players, and I would imagine as the series progress each woman to cross their paths will have the potential to make her respective player have a little less control of his balls than normal! I really enjoyed Matilda and Tanners’, second chance reconnection, but as a reader of many, many books in the Brazen imprint and from Entangled Publishing in general, this story sat more in the Indulgence category for me. The romance is slow-burn, and rightly so, as this is a couple with eight years of hurt and mis-interpretation to work through. I have no problem with that at all, but if you, like me expect the sex to get going pretty shaprish in your Brazen reading, then you need to stick with Playing by Her Rules for that, and it’s worth it, if you do. The girl he’d once known had disappeared behind a wall that had been laid by him – or started by him anyway. I liked Tanner and Tilly together, plenty of banter, the chemistry took a little while to get going, mainly because Tilly had a serious case of revenge-hate going on for him in the first half of the book. Understandable, if you take into account the position her boss has put her in, in that in order to get ahead at work, she has to spend the time getting to know someone who essentially broke her heart all those years ago, and because of that has shaped all of her relationships with men in the intervening years, and is literally given no choice about it. She had a goal here – revenge. And she couldn’t lose sight of it. But what she initially thinks will be a series of six articles that will expose to the masses just how much of a dislikeable tool Tanner Stone really is, flips on its head when she learns that there is so much more behind the perceived Playboy facade, than she was expecting, he is still in essence the boy she fell in love with all those years ago, and that brings about a resurgence of feelings that she’s not quite sure what to do with, or how to handle. #mightbelove Tanner was an absolute sweetheart in his attempts to woo Tilly, even after every attempt is rebuffed, he carries on trying to make her see that he is more than the one mistake that he made when they were kids. "Time to let go of the past." This is a pretty standard A-Z romance, but Amy has written this couple well, and given them the time to redevelop their relationship, before jumping fully into the bedroom again. "You were always the best part of me...Always." I enjoyed it, it wasn’t a struggle to read, and let’s face it, hot football players, yes please! Plenty of scope for the rest of the books for this series, and if the banter between the guys in this one is anything to go by, a few giggles will be had by readers as well. ARC generously provided via Netgalley, and it was a pleasure to provide the above honest review.