REVIEW: JEN DELUCA – WELL PLAYED

REVIEW: JEN DELUCA – WELL PLAYEDWell Played by Jen DeLuca
Also by this author: Well Met
Series: Well Met #2
Published by Berkley on September 22, 2020
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Tropes: Small Town Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley, Berkley
Buy on AmazonBuy on Audible
Narrator: Brittany Pressley
Length: 9 hrs and 59 mins
Cliffhanger: No

Goodreads
four-stars

Stacey is jolted when her friends Simon and Emily get engaged. She knew she was putting her life on hold when she stayed in Willow Creek to care for her sick mother, but it's been years now, and even though Stacey loves spending her summers pouring drinks and flirting with patrons at the local Renaissance Faire, she wants more out of life. Stacey vows to have her life figured out by the time her friends get hitched at Faire next summer. Maybe she'll even find The One.

When Stacey imagined "The One," it never occurred to her that her summertime Faire fling, Dex MacLean, might fit the bill. While Dex is easy on the eyes onstage with his band The Dueling Kilts, Stacey has never felt an emotional connection with him. So when she receives a tender email from the typically monosyllabic hunk, she's not sure what to make of it.

Faire returns to Willow Creek, and Stacey comes face-to-face with the man with whom she’s exchanged hundreds of online messages over the past nine months. To Stacey's shock, it isn't Dex—she's been falling in love with a man she barely knows.

Back to the Ren Faire we go!

This book was one of my highly anticipated in 2020 and it delivered. Jen DeLuca is amazing at setting the atmosphere of the Willow Creek Faire – it feels like you are one of the patrons, strolling through the medieval streets, talking to wenches and pirates. In this place we reconnect with Stacey who was born and grew up in Willow Creek. As she watched her friends from her childhood and teenage years move on with their lives, study, score dream jobs, marry and have kids she is stuck in her hometown. She feels like she missed out on something.

I think most of us can relate because things that happen to other people which you wanted for yourself always look awesome when you’re on the outside looking in. I really loved how relatable Stacey felt. She was forgiving, understanding and very likable.

But I’d learned so much about him over the last few months that I realized it was his words I was attracted to now, and who he was inside. His Hemsworthiness didn’t matter to me anymore.

The guy she falls for is one of the sweetest heroes I’ve read about. I totally get why she liked him so much. He adored Stacey and if I have one regret about him it’s that I wish he had fought a little harder for her. What I liked, though, was that their emails and text correspondence was what made Stacey fall in love with her love interest, as opposed to his looks. These two knew each other and that made the relationship feel real.

The more I looked at him, the more I remembered all the words we’d shared over the months. And the more I fell. I really, really hoped he would be there to catch me.

I have to admit that the first 40% seem a little longer than they are because most of their interaction is via email and you just want the people you read about occupy the same room. But the book really got going after that.
Of course we get to catch up with Emily and Simon who are taking their relationship to the next level. And then there are Mitch and April. I’m salivating to read their story.
Well Played is a worthy successor of the first book in this series and I enjoyed myself thoroughly spending time at the Ren Faire and with these characters. It was a cute, fun read with some serious steam. While this technically could be read as a standalone I would recommend reading Well Met first.

No perfectly-broken-in pair of jeans had felt as comfortable, as right, as his mouth felt on mine.

 

four-stars

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