The Proposition, the second book in the contemporary romance sports series, the Players, from Elizabeth Hayley about a professional hockey player who hires a wedding date.
Professional hockey player Ben Williamson doesn't quite know how he got himself into this situation; hiring someone to be his date to his brother's wedding is way out of character for him. But with family pressuring him to settle down, going stag just isn't an option. It would just be one more thing his polite, cultured family uses as ammo against him.
Ryan Cruz is having a bad day. Wait, make that a bad year. Broke, technically homeless, and living on a friend's couch, she's now also unemployed after her sharp tongue gets her fired from her job. So when a handsome stranger approaches her out of the blue with a proposition--he’ll pay her to be his date to his brother’s wedding for the weekend--accepting his offer is a no brainer. She needs the cash and figures it wouldn't be in the best interest of a professional athlete to murder her.
What starts as a simple business arrangement soon becomes more as these opposites attract and get caught up in the wedding magic. Will Ben and Ryan be able to turn their relationship into something more? Or is love based on a proposition too much of an obstacle to overcome?
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Ben leaned against one of the leather bar stools on the perimeter of the Players' Club and spun a dart between his fingers. Since he and his two friends had joined the club a while back, it had always been a place of refuge for them — a spot where they could come and hang out with other professional athletes and take their mind off life's problems. But as Ben played what should've been a relaxing game with his buddies, all he could talk about was the most recent issue that'd been plaguing his mind: his brother David's upcoming wedding. "So what do you guys think? I'm out of ideas."
"I think you should move out of the way," Jace said. "Gabe's up next."
Ben looked at his location in proximity to the game. "I'm nowhere near the dart board."
"That's exactly why you need to move," Jace replied.
"I'm not that bad," Gabe said before tossing a dart that landed about a foot and a half above the board.
"Watch it, Torres," Mike yelled to Gabe from across the club. "Unless you plan on patching up my walls, you better improve your aim."
The guys laughed, but Mike had probably only been partially kidding. He put his heart — and a shit-ton of money — into the club, which catered to select current and retired professional athletes. Ben was sure Mike didn't want any holes in the wall.
"How are you even a shortstop for a major-league team?" Ben asked Gabe. "Your aim is shit."
Gabe ran a hand through his short dark hair and threw another dart, which hit the board this time. "Darts and baseballs aren't even close to the same thing."
"Thank you, Captain Obvious," Jace said.
"You better watch it or this next one's getting thrown at your pretty, blond little head," Gabe retorted, his dark eyes daring his friend to test him, though the guys knew Gabe was all talk.
Jace shrugged. "Fine with me. You won't hit it."
Before Gabe had a chance to make another dumb comment, Ben spoke again. "Can we get back to my problem, please? I've had months to think about this, and I still haven't come up with anything."
"Why don't you say you're injured?" Gabe suggested. "My knee's still fucked up, and my surgery was over a month ago. Which, by the way, is one of the reasons that my dart game sucks."
Ben chose to only respond to the first of Gabe's comments. "Saying my knee hurts isn't going to get me out of having to go to my only brother's wedding. It's not even a month and a half away. And besides, my family will know it's a lie. I'm a professional hockey player, not to mention one of the few black players the league has. If I were having knee surgery, the news would be all over it."
Ben stood and walked over to line up for his turn. "My family gives me enough shit for choosing to play a 'game' for a living," he said, using air quotes to emphasize how little his highly educated parents thought of his career choice. "I don't need to give them another reason to get on my case. My mom already made my brother push the wedding back to accommodate my season. David and Natasha wanted it to be in the spring because New England summers are humid as hell. Just gives David one more reason to hate me."
"I'm confused," Jace said. "How is your mom making your brother push back the wedding your fault?" Ben rubbed a hand over his short beard before tossing a dart hard at the board. "It's not. But he'll act like it is."
"You should've told him the end of April was fine," Gabe said. "The Knights haven't gone past the first round of the playoffs since you got drafted. It's like the Curse of the Bambino, only instead of the team sucking because someone left it, it sucks because someone joined it."
Ben glared at him, but he couldn't argue with Gabe's point about the postseason. The fact that the Knights hadn't made it into the playoffs was the reason he was able to leave Denver for part of the spring and into the summer, so he could shoot the shit with his buddies in Philly until Jace went to training camp and Gabe was healed enough to play baseball again. "I'm the Knights' leading scorer. It's obviously not my fault we've become allergic to the postseason."
"So what are you trying to do exactly?" Jace asked. "I mean, what'll make the time you have to be up in Connecticut easier on you?"
Ben thought for a moment. "I need a buffer or something, I guess."
"Well, me and Aly'll be there. And you're going, right?" Jace asked Gabe.
"Yeah, for sure. I need to get a date to this thing, though." Gabe took a sip of his beer before setting it down on the sleek, wooden ledge that ran around the perimeter of the club. "Wait," he said suddenly. "I have a great idea for a bet."
Ben couldn't help but laugh as Jace shot a "Fuck you" at Gabe for mentioning something Jace would much rather forget.
"Maybe 'buffer' isn't really the right word. I think it's more like a diversion — something to get my parents off my back. They're already disappointed that I don't have a career that requires me to use my brain instead of possibly injure it. And now that I'm close to thirty, my mom's been on my case to settle down and start a family."
"Ha!" Gabe said loudly. "Your mom does know you're ugly as fuck, right? So no woman's gonna want to make you the father of her children."
"You sure your knee's not healed enough for you to play?" Ben asked, thinking that if Gabe had been traveling with the Premieres right now, he wouldn't be here.
"Nope," Gabe said. "I'm all yours for at least another month until I'm better."
"Great," Ben replied.
"All right, all right," Gabe said. "I'll be serious and help you."
"Thank you," Ben said, happy he had the support of both his best friends. The three had been practically inseparable since they'd met in college and roomed in the athletic dorm. All three had been lucky enough to play professionally, Gabe as a shortstop for Philadelphia and Jace as a quarterback for New Jersey. His friends' close proximity to one another was the reason Ben chose to get an apartment in Philly and spend his time here in the off-season. "I knew you were kidding when you mentioned the bet, but —"
"I wasn't kidding. I have an idea that might work."
"No," Ben said sternly.
"Didn't you learn anything from me, Torres?" Jace asked Gabe. Now that the bet they'd made last summer was behind them, they could all joke about it. But a year ago, it would have been a different story. Jace had nearly lost Aly when the three friends had competed to see who could bring the hottest date to an awards ceremony. Jace had unexpectedly fallen hard for the beautiful doctor, but all of that had almost crumbled when she'd learned he'd initially asked her out because of a bet.
"Okay, I get why doing a bet again would be a bad idea, but I do think that finding some arm candy as a distraction is a solid plan. A buddy of mine brought some chick he met at an airport to his parents' anniversary party, and everyone thought they'd been dating for months."
Ben was skeptical. "Like a fake girlfriend? There's no way that'll work."
"I don't know, man," Gabe said. "It might. The secret to a good lie is you gotta believe it yourself."
"You're so wise," Ben said flatly.
"I'm serious," said Gabe. "The chick I was telling you about ended up getting my buddy's grandmother's crab cake recipe, and that shit's for family only."
"Just to make sure I'm understanding you right, I should believe you because of a crab cake recipe?"
Jace raised his eyebrows at Ben and Gabe. "It's actually not a bad idea."
Ben rolled his eyes. "Not you too."
"You got any better ideas?" Jace asked. When Ben was silent, Jace continued. "I didn't think so. There's a decent chance this could work. We just need to figure out who to get to pretend to be your girlfriend. You're gonna be up there for a few days."
Ben rubbed a hand over his forehead in frustration. "I don't know. Fuck. No one'll want to spend that much time with my family. A few hours with them is more than enough."
"She doesn't have to want to spend time with them," Gabe said, a look in his eyes that told Ben he was up to something Ben was probably going to want no part of.
"Should I even ask what you're talking about?" Ben said.
"Probably," Gabe said. "Because I have the answer to your problem."
Ben looked at him expectantly, but when he realized that wasn't enough, he said, "Fine, you're really gonna make me ask, aren't you? Why doesn't it matter if she doesn't want to be there?"
A smile spread across Gabe's face. "Because you're gonna pay her," he said simply.
"Like a prostitute?" Ben replied.
"Not a prostitute," Gabe said. "An escort."
"Coming," Ben called as he headed toward the door of the Philadelphia apartment he'd moved into for the off-season. His voice echoed as it carried through the two-story loft. He had no idea who would be at his door at nine thirty at night on a Sunday.
He pulled open the door to see Gabe and Jace standing there, but before Ben could even ask what the hell they were doing, the men took hold of both Ben's arms and yanked him into the hall. "You're comin' with us," Gabe said.
"What the fuck?" Ben asked, struggling to break free of his friends' tight grasp. Though he was slightly bigger than Gabe and about the same height as Jace, the two of them managed to restrain him. "Coming where? I don't even have shoes on."
Jace looked at Ben's feet. "I'll go grab some."
Knowing that as soon as Jace left, Ben would be able to overpower Gabe, especially given his knee injury, he didn't protest. "Where are we going?" he asked.
"Stop asking questions, or we'll blindfold and gag you," Gabe said.
That earned him a laugh from Jace who'd just stepped inside Ben's apartment. As soon as he was out of sight, Ben yanked his arm away and sidestepped Gabe so he could wrap an arm around his neck. "Let go! You know I've got a bad knee," Gabe pleaded once he was in a headlock and at Ben's mercy.
"Well, you're about to have two if you don't tell me what the fuck you guys are up to."
"Fine. Let me go and I'll tell you."
Ben tightened the chokehold.
"Okay, okay. We're taking you to book your escort."
Ben released Gabe slowly and, once he was standing upright, gave him a playful shove to the shoulder. "We can't seriously do that. I'm fine finding a woman I know and asking her to go as a favor, but I'm not hiring an escort."
"Fine, I'll hire her," Gabe said. "As long as you're the one who pays her."
"Gabe!" Ben said. "This is ridiculous."
"Is it?" "Yes," Ben said loudly. "It is."
"I don't think it is," Gabe said. "And neither does Jace."
"Okay, so you're both morons."
"We aren't morons. An escort is totally the way to go. They're used to interacting in different situations, so whoever it is'll have no problem getting your family to believe that she's your girlfriend. You can pick how you want her to dress and her level of education."
"You seem to know a lot about this," Ben said, but Gabe continued as if Ben hadn't even spoken.
"She won't be looking for more after you guys leave or expect you to put a ring on it or anything. It's a business arrangement. She'll be totally professional."
Ben had to admit — though not aloud — that Gabe did make some good points. It might be more awkward to bring a friend than it would be to bring someone he didn't know. "I don't know, Gabe. This feels like it might backfire."
"It won't. That's what I'm trying to tell you. This would be her livelihood. Keeping everything secret is what these people do. No one else will be able to guarantee that. Plus me and Jace'll have your back the whole time you're up there."
Ben thought about the voicemail he'd ignored from his mom asking if he was bringing someone to the wedding. "Fine," he finally said.
"Yeah. Fine. I'll do it. But don't make me regret it already by acting like you're surprised I said okay."
"I am surprised," Gabe said. "I expected to have to use physical force."
Ben crossed his arms over his chest, making his shoulders and arms appear bigger than they already were. "Well, you would've needed your accomplice to help because you weren't getting me in that car on your own."
Before Gabe had time to respond, Jace appeared with a pair of red Nikes. He thrust them in Ben's direction. "Put these on."
Ben's eyes narrowed. "Those'll look stupid with this," he said, looking down at his gray sweatpants and royal-blue Under Armour shirt. "If you're choosing where we're going, I at least get to choose what I'm wearing."
Jace rolled his eyes. "Fine, Kendall Jenner. Go get changed and meet us in the car."
As Ben closed the door, he briefly thought about dialing 911 and telling them that there were two strange men trespassing. That would teach his dickhead friends a lesson. Not to mention, it would be funny as shit.
But he knew that despite how ridiculous hiring an escort to bring to a family wedding sounded, it also seemed like the best possible solution. And the only thing worse than walking into an escort service and admitting you wanted to pay for a date was walking in alone. He needed his two best friends.
He finished tying his shoes, grabbed his wallet and keys, and headed downstairs to where Jace's car was waiting with the valet. He had his hand on the passenger's side rear door when Gabe spoke. "You're lucky this isn't a car with a regular trunk or we would've made you ride in it."
"Fuck off or I'll strap you to the roof rack."
Jace had barely pulled away from Ben's building before one of them spoke again. Of course it was Gabe. "So where did you tell Aly you were going tonight?"
Jace looked at him, clearly confused. "What do you mean?" "God, you're dense. What lie did you tell Aly so she'd be okay with you going out tonight?"
"I didn't lie. I told her we were going to hire an escort."
The other two men laughed. "You told your girlfriend you're hiring an escort? You've got bigger balls than I thought," Ben said.
"I'm not hiring an escort. You are. And me and Aly love each other." Jace shrugged. "She trusts me."
Ben shook his head at his friend's declaration. "That's the most sickening thing you've said since you told us about the infection you got from that tick that latched onto your ball."
Gabe burst out in a fit of laughter. "That shit was disgusting."
"And that's why I'll never sleep in a tent without clothes on again."
"Well, you're a fucking moron for doing it the first time," Ben said.
Jace was quiet for a moment while he drove. "Speaking of sleeping arrangements though ... what's gonna happen when you and your new lady friend head up to Connecticut for the wedding festivities?"
Ben was confused. "What do you mean? It's not like my parents will be with us at night. I have a hotel room."
"With two beds?" Jace asked.
"No. One king. But I'm not gonna expect her to have sex with me."
"She will if you want her to," Gabe said.
"I don't want her to," Ben fired back, his eyes wide. "I'll set the ground rules first and let her know that under no circumstances is she going to need to have sex with me. Then I'll call the hotel and get a room with two beds."
"No rooms left," Gabe said. "When I called to book mine two months ago, they waitlisted me. They emailed like a week ago to say one opened up."
"Whatever," Ben said as Jace turned into the parking lot. "I'm not worried about it. I'll sleep on a cot or the floor if I have to so she doesn't feel weird." He looked out the window at the nearby buildings as Jace pulled into a space and shut off the car. "Where is this place?"
"Right there." Gabe gave a nod toward a neon pink sign that stood on the top of a tan brick building.
"Daisy's? That's a strip club."
"You say that like I don't already know it," Gabe replied.
"Stripping and escorting aren't the same."
"Hey," Gabe barked. "Who's the expert on this? You or me?"
Ben threw his hands up in surrender. Gabe had a point. This adventure was much more in Gabe's wheelhouse than Ben's. "Okay, okay. Lead the way."
"Thank you," Gabe said as he opened the door and gestured for Ben and Jace to enter. "Would I ever steer you wrong?"
In a matter of seconds, Ben took in his surroundings. Despite the dimly lit space, he could see enough to know that this place probably didn't employ anyone his parents would believe he was dating. Most of them looked to be at least fifteen years older than he was and seemed a little too ... rough, for lack of a better word. His eyes darted around the room like they were afraid of what might happen if they settled on one particular spot.
Ben opened his mouth to speak, but as if Gabe could sense what Ben was about to say, he muttered a "Don't answer that" as he signaled for one of the waitresses.
Excerpted from "The Proposition"
Copyright © 2017 Sarah Glasgow and Shauna Johnson.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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
Another enjoyable Elizabeth Hayley book with fun characters, silly situations, and a pretty good romance. I really wanted more tension between the characters. The reason I love the fake relationship trope is the tension between being a loving couple in public and resisting each other in private. Ben and Ryan sleep together so early in the book that the relationship based tension is gone. They’re pretty much a real couple the whole book. Ben was a great hero whose genuine, sweet, and respectful to Ryan. I loved his awkwardness when he was hiring Ryan and his attempts to act the way he thought he should around an escort. I also enjoyed his quieter, more humble nature. The family dynamics between Ben and his brother were written really well. Ben might have needed a buffer between him and his family but I liked that they weren’t all portrayed as bad people; Ben’s mother was particularly sweet. I’m also happy that Ben was able to clear some of his festering feelings about his brother, even if it did hurt Ryan in the process. The man clearly needed to get some things off his chest. Ryan’s determination and will to survive was certainly admirable. I don’t know that I could pretend to be an escort in order to make money but I respect the hard decisions she’s had to make in order to get by in a life that has continually kicked her down. However, I felt it was painfully obvious that Ryan wasn’t an escort. She was really bad at pretending and she even tells Ben that she can’t act, which I think is the first requirement for an escort. She’s endearing but not the best at pretending. The scene where Ryan goes off on Ben about his living habits just really didn’t work for me. Some of the things she pointed out contradicted the down to earth, sweet personality that Ben had and it just made Ryan seem slightly crazy. The bickering was supposed to act as tension that propels them into bed, but it just didn’t come across that way to me. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Ryan is in on her uppers, working night and day in a seedy strip club as an waitress. But on her uppers or not she has pride and one set of wandering hands and she is done. Ben is an epitome of the American dream, an Hockey player from a well to do family. However not all that glitters is golden, and Ben has an turbulent relationship with his family. So when required to bring an plus one to his brothers wedding, he decides he needs an escort. Then with an bang (literally) he meets Ryan. Thi is the first time I have read Elizabeth Hayley, and I definitely be back to see what happens with Gabe. Great characters and awesome storyline. Loved it
I am a HUGE fan of Elizabeth Hayley’s writing and The Proposition is yet another great reason why I love their books!!!! I loved how Ben and Ryan began their “relationship”, the premise of it was perfectly done. My heart shattered for Ryan when secrets were revealed. This is the second book in the series but I believe can be read as a stand-alone. Reviewed by: Dana D.
Hockey star, Ben Williamson, hires Ryan Cruz to attend his brother’s wedding with him. The more the couple gets to know each other the less sure either one is of keeping their relationship strictly professional. This contemporary sports romance is suitable for adult audiences. When I stared to read this book, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it. I enjoyed the story more and more the further I got into the novel. I like Ben. He is in an interesting situation with his family. It is understandable why he did not want to go to his brother’s wedding alone. Ryan is a strong heroine. I respect that despite her difficult past, she has upstanding morals. I appreciate Ben’s friends Gabe and Jace. I think it’s great that they met in college and are professional athletes in different sports. Ben and Ryan grew for the better throughout the story. They discovered things about themselves and made each other better people. I like that things are cleared up between Ben and his family. This is the first book that I have read by Elizabeth Hayley. I enjoyed the writing duo’s style. The ending was a good transition for Gabe’s story. I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.
A quick paced read, The Proposition is the second book in a series of connected standalones. Ben, a professional hockey player is in need of a date to his brother's wedding. His friends suggest hiring an escort, an idea Ben decides to run with. He meets Ryan, a woman who is not in a position to turn down that kind of money. From there the two get to know each other and then attend the wedding. Ben and Ryan have a tight connection and the tension is palpable. The side characters add a bit of humor, and show us a different side of the The story flows well and kept my attention. I would recommend this to the reader looking for a diverse romance, that is well written and easy to read. *Review copy requested and reviewed on behalf of OMGReads*
Received an ARC for my fair review for netgalley. This is the second book in the series. This was Ben's book, he needs a date for his brothers wedding, whom he does not get along with, and you read the story you find out why they are the way they are. Gabe has this brilliant idea of Ben hiring an escort to the wedding. I love Gabe he is crazy. It was also good to read about Jace and Ally's relationship still going strong, they are from first book, the Bet, and I think you really should read it to give you more insight, plus I liked it better. Ben hires Ryan, who really is not an escort, but a waitress down on her luck. I wasn;t crazy about Ryan, and I am sorry, but I could not accept that Ben would have her move in with him so soon, and thinking she was an escort. Anyway, with all that I still will read next story
Light emotional romantic family drama following professional hockey player Ben Williamson who finds himself needing an escort to his brother's wedding. Ben and his two best friends find themselves at a seedy strip club, where according to his friends, escorts are available for hire. Ryan Cruz, down on her luck and having recently lost her job as a waitress is in the right place at the right time, and when Ben propositions her to go to the wedding with her, she has nothing to lose by going along with his ruse. Except possibly her heart, but for some reason that never enters her head, not even when their business agreement becomes way more than it should. Lovely writing, easygoing characters, although for some reason I can't quite put my finger on, Ryan annoyed me at times, maybe it was her unwillingness to let go, I don't know. She was strong and a fighter, there is no doubt about that. Ben on the other hand was hot, sexy and I loved his flaws. I can't complain about their sexual chemistry, that was hot hot hot. Overall, a light easy enjoyable read. I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I am a big fan of this author duo and was looking forward to reading this book by them. Not to mention pretend couple is one of my favorite tropes. I really liked Ben. He was just a little too nice and a little naïve. It wasn’t really explained that he was kind of shy until late in the book so it was a little weird to me. I really liked Ryan too. She is a survivor. I really liked her as a person. On the surface and in the story, Ben and Ryan are a couple that I could really see together. Just something was missing in this book for me. It didn’t have the usually Elizabeth Hayley spark I like. I did like the conflict and resolution to this story, even with Ben and his brother though I think David is a douche. I was really engaged in the story but it was just missing something for me. I still think this was a good book and would recommend it to a friend.
This is a series about three bet friends: Jace; Gabe and Ben. Each star athletes in their own fields, they have also been best friends since college. In the first book they are invited to join an exclusive sportsmens club - think more teen boy heaven than anything sinister - which serves as their go-to place to discuss man stuff and play pool/ darts without being bothered by fans and groupies. This book centres on Ben Williamson, one of the few black men in hockey and certainly the most successful, yet to the rest of his family he is somewhat of a disappointment because they wanted him to be a lawyer or a doctor. His mother has just guilted him into being best man at his elder brother David's wedding, to Ben's childhood sweetheart - yep, his brother and his girlfriend cheated behind his back and now (admittedly six years later) they want him to be the best man? His friend Gabe, who admitted appears to be playing with only half a deck of cards sometimes, suggests Ben hires an escort to go to the wedding with him - that way he doesn't look like he is still pining over Natasha AND he avoids his mother setting him up with some worthy but unattractive daughter of a friend. Showing a surprising lack of common sense they guys go to Daisy's, a fairly low rent strip club, looking for a high end escort and are naturally disappointed, but when Ben steps outside he literally bumps into a woman who might very well fit the bill. Ryan Cruz is a woman barely scraping by, alone since she was 16 years old she has held a series of low-paid jobs, the latest one as a waitress at Daisy's ends when she smacks a customer for getting handsy and the manager refuses to take her side. As she is leaving the building the door slams back into her face and she sees the most attractive guy she has ever seen, when he thinks she is an escort she sees a way to make some much needed cash, after all she is sleeping on a friend's couch, and agrees to accompany Ben to his brother's wedding. Things really spiral from there, Ben soon realises the enormity of pretending to be a couple in front of his friends and family, who will all want to interrogate Ryan about everything so he suggests a series of intense 'getting to know you' sessions over several days, then he suggests she moves in with him temporarily. And mostly it's because they need to know more about each other for the wedding, mostly. But of course the real fun begins at the wedding! This kind of reminds me of the film Pretty Woman, especially the shopping scene. But Ben is nothing like Richard Gere's character, in fact he is the kindest, sweetest guy ever. My only criticism would be that Ben's family was portrayed one way at the start of the book and another way at the end of the book, maybe the first impression was coloured by Ben's feelings rather than reality and the the later impression was more reflective of the way things really were. Also, I got really irritated that all of Ben's family thought HE ought to apologise to his older brother/ make the peace when his brother had NEVER once apologised for stealing his girlfriend and yet still seemed to get himself cast as the victim. Nevertheless, I stayed up until 3am to finish this book so a great sports romance with a sexy, caring hero and a sassy, funny heroine. I can't wait to read Gabe's story - I bet it's a doozy. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
4.5 Stars! Over the past few months I have had the opportunity to read some well-written "relationship of convenience" romances, and The Proposition by Elizabeth Hayley is a really good one. The characters are well-developed and easy to get to know. The plot moves along at a steady pace and there was never a moment that I wanted to put the book down. This book is a modern day fairy-tale, and I couldn't help myself from thinking about the film "Pretty Woman" during a few of the situations. Ryan Cruz is a beautiful and savvy young woman, in spite of being basically homeless, penniless, and on her own for quite some time. After being fired from her waitressing job in a strip club, she runs smack into Ben Williamson, a professional hockey player. Ben is good-looking and successful, and he needs a date for his older brother's wedding in a few weeks. In fact, Ben was looking to hire an escort for the family event from hell, and after a quick conversation, offers Ryan the position. Ryan does not share with Ben that she is not an escort, because she desperately needs the money he is offering, and sex is not a condition of their arrangement. As they get to know each other, they fall in love. However, Ben's inability to filter the words that come out of his mouth almost destroys what they have, in addition to the already precarious relationship he has with his family. I truly enjoyed this slightly emotional and entertaining book. To begin with, Ms. Hayley opens the story with a very exciting chapter, which sets the tone to this mostly upbeat read. Secondly, family and good friends are very important, and I liked how effortlessly Ryan and Ben dealt with each scenario that they were faced with. Their sexy times are hot, both in and out of the bedroom. Ben's reasoning for avoiding his family, especially his brother, was well-founded, and their lack of empathy was difficult to understand. This is the second book from Ms. Hayley's The Players series and it can read as a standalone. Complimentary copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
3.5 stars ... For me, this book can practically be divided into two separate parts. The first 30% I had some issues with so began questioning if I was a good fit for this author’s writing style. Despite, for the most part, I did enjoy book 1, The Bet. However, when Ben and Ryan, the main couple, actually started interacting as a real couple, it was like a switch was flipped, and I was now all in to see them get their HEA. You see, at 15%, the writing felt somewhat stilted, and I wasn’t feeling a connection between the characters. But my main issue was the set-up scenario regarding Ryan. To have her let Ben, the rich/hockey player hero, think she was something she was not cheapened her character and credibility in my eyes. It didn’t match the just established moments ago portrayal of a sassy/feisty leading lady who valued her self-dignity and pride over money enough she would quit a job when customers got handsy, even though it could mean homelessness for her. I expected better of her. Like an “Excuse me? Are you talking to me? You think I’m a what! Oh, no, you did not just say that!” Then go from there. I had to forced myself to shrug it off and just let it go, folks. At almost 30%, I was growing to detest Ben’s family, even though we were only given a brief glimpse of his brother David’s jealous, snarky streak and his mom’s nagging nature, to the point I wanted Ben not to go to the wedding altogether, let alone be the best man. In fact, I wanted him to tell them to kiss his big fat hockey stick and walk out the tux store door. No, this good guy hero, despite his bad judgment of falling for the fake girlfriend idea his friends cooked up, doesn’t stand up to his family. He’d rather lie to them and risk his career by getting caught up in a scandal. Fortunately, there was more to each of their untold past history and things were not as they seemed. When the real reasons behind Ben’s dysfunctional family came to light, they all actually seemed more real and genuine, especially towards the end. Ben truly was a good guy and seemed to always try to be the better man. I even ended up viewing David and their mom in a different, more favorable light, as well. Ryan ultimately did come across as a strong person considering the hardships and lack of love/family she has endured. She did zone in and quickly picked up on Ben’s inner conflict and soon came to care about him and his predicament. As a lover of relationship angst, I certainly enjoyed the ending when a certain someone had to make amends and grovel, begging for a second chance. Book 3 will feature good natured Gabe and a past lady love that will likely at first seem like she is using him. Here’s to hoping there will be much more to that sport journalist heroine’s story than it first appears. Knowing how this author usually turns the tables, I’m betting we can pretty much count on it. Title: The Proposition, Series: The Players (Book 2), Author: Elizabeth Hayley, Pages: 252, stand-alone but part of a series, good guy hero, sad past/strong/enduring heroine, some very graphic smexy scenes, soon fall for each other. Rating: 3.5 stars Book 1 - The Bet (Jace & Aly), 6/27/17, Pages: 272 Book 2 - The Proposition (Ben & Ryan), 10/31/17, Pages: 252 Book 3 - The One Night Stand (Gabe & Rachel), 12/17/17, Pages: 272 (I received a free advanced reader copy provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)
5 Stars at this laugh out loud story! Even though Ben plays hockey in the NHL he is a disappointment to his family ... they think he should quite playing games and get a real job. To top it off, 10 years ago his brother stole is girlfriend from him and now they are getting married. He is NOT going to this wedding alone, so he decides to hire an escort to accompany him for the weekend so he can show his family that he's over Natalie and David's betrayal. Ryan is a waitress at a strip club ... or should I say was ... she just quit because she was tired of the customers trying to sample her goods. So now does she not only sleep on a friend's couch, she doesn't have a job. But when Ben opens the back door to the strip club to get some fresh air, he hits Ryan with the door. Ben believes that Ryan is an escort and hires her to be his "date" for the wedding and because Ryan needs the money, she lets him think she's an escort and takes the job. For the next couple of weeks they try to get to know each other so their relationship will seen real to Ben's family. And the antics that follow ... well you'll just have to read them to believe them. I laughed so hard at times, there were tears in my eyes and I had to put the book down. And then there were times that my tears were for other reasons. The banter between Ryan and Ben is hilarious and even though their lives are completely opposite, they fit together just right. I highly recommend you take their journey ... you won't regret it! I received an ARC copy courtesy of St. Martin's Press through NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.
With his brother's wedding approaching Ben Williamson is dreading the trip home for the festivities, because he knows with his brother settling down, the question on everyone's minds will be when is it your turn? And Ben has no intentions of walking down the aisle anytime soon, he has a lot of living to do first, and a lot more hockey to play without worrying about finding his forever. So, to keep his family off his back he takes his friends advice and decides to hire a escort to play his girlfriend for the week... and winds up finding something really unexpected, and when the weekend is over he isn't so sure he is ready to let it go! After one of her customers gets a little handsy Ryan Cruz decides to take matters into her own hands, and let him have it, and her boss isn't too happy about it, he thinks she should just play along and keep the customers happy. But Ryan isn't in the market to be groped, or play along, so she gives her boss her notice and walks out the door, only to realize she may have just made the worst mistake of her life. She is currently homeless, momentarily camping out on her friends couch, and now jobless... what is she going to do? Then fates steps in and decides to help her out and sends Ben Williamson crashing into her life, literally, and from there things in her life start to look up... in more ways then one! The Proposition is a witty, sexy, and pleasurable read that is sure to have you smiling throughout! Life has thrown these two wonderfully crafted characters together, and given them some rough consequences to muddle their way through, but they make the best of it, and take readers on a enjoyable literary journey. This was my first time reading something from this author and I have to admit I liked what she had to offer, the story line was unique and captivating, the characters were well drawn and easy to attach to, and their little journey to finding forever gave me a serious case of the feels. This one was a fun and memorable literary adventure, I have a feeling that I will be back for more in the very near future to meet more of her wonderful Players! Highly recommend this one, it's sure to make your heart happy!