Book Eleven in the Play-by-Play Series
February 16 2016
Published by Penguin Random House/Berkley
Feb 16, 2016 | 352 Pages
E-Galley provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
For Barrett Cassidy, playing defense for the Tampa Hawks is a dream come true. And now he may have discovered his dream woman. Harmony Evans, once the sweet, gawky teenage sister of his best friend and teammate has grown into a smart, gorgeous woman with moves he finds hard to resist. But he knows he can’t get involved with his best friend’s sister—it’s guy code.
Harmony has always gone after what she wants with single-minded determination, from her independence to her education to her career in interior design. She never expected her youthful crush on Barrett to develop into something deeper. And she’s not about to let some ridiculous man rules or her brother stand in her way.
When the chemistry is this combustible, lines tend to get crossed. And when Barrett and Harmony’s secret gets out, it just might be game over… http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/316947/unexpected-rush-by-jaci-burton/
This story is about the best friend’s sister (BFS) rule. But, it’s also about misplaced, out of control, anger. Harmony’s brother is the best friend of the guy Harmony has been attracted to forever. Barret has always been attracted, but you don’t mess with your best friend’s sister. When said sister wants to be messed with and you have a lot of contact you’re sure to have a flag on the play, right? (sorry, the Superbowl was on when I began writing this)
Having only two older sisters, I have no idea what the BFS rule is about. Why would you even be friends with a guy who was not good enough for your sister?
Then, there’s the conflict between being with the woman on the sly. I think this trope has been over used, but Burton brings something new to it, namely Harmony’s mother’s influence and the profound honesty present in Barrett’s large, sports-dynasty, All-American family.
But, there’s also something Burton doesn’t address: Drake’s irrational, angry, nearly violent, dangerous response when ANY man even looks twice at Harmony. Perhaps the character is just a jerk who is overprotective with his sister, but I think he needs a few words from his mother, and some medical intervention too. For example, early in the book a guy and Harmony break-up, mutually, and he makes Barrett go with him to threaten the guy. The guy was an overly-groomed, self-involved vanity poster boy, but there was no need for Drake to behave as he did. In the light of the violent reactions caused by concussive injury in football players Drake’s behavior is a real red flag for this often overlooked issue.
Since the issue is a driving force in the plot I would like to have seen Drake get some help. If it isn’t medical, then he is more than a hothead, protective older brother, he may be dangerous.
Otherwise, I think the chemistry between the characters and the way they handle their emotions is hot. Burton writes sex unapologetically, but with respect. I thought Harmony and Drake’s Mother was a little cliche. I did enjoy the football/sport family idea though! And I have always liked Barret’s family — they would be the perfect in-laws! I liked that we only learn about race in this story obliquely and it isn’t an issue for any of the characters. I was waiting for race to be an issue for the couple, but that was not one of their problems.
How do you feel about this guy rule where you cannot date your friend’s sister?
Scroll down for a chance to totally rule on this series as the publisher is offering a fabulous web-wide giveaway!
Here’s something really amazing:
The publisher is holding a webwide giveaway for “one entire set of all the print books in the Play by Play series so far (11 books) to one winner – open internationally!” The whole thing is up to them and I have absolutely nothing to do with it other than posting this info: