Well, Jen Frederick has done it again. In fact, I’d say she has outdone herself in her Gridiron series. Played is definitely my favorite of the series! I was not sure what to expect with Ty’s story honestly but this book proved to be a surprising pleasure to read!
Ty Masters and Ara Martin have been best friends since their freshmen year in college. Ara is the one of the few constants in Ty’s world. His world is expanding as he prepares to enter the NFL draft and finding people who like Ty for only Ty, not as a potential NFL player, well, it’s hard to come by. He is grateful for Ara though lately, he has been having quite a few naughty thoughts about her. She has always been his best bud. Why is he thinking about her lips, her skin, her taste?
Oh that’s because Ara has a secret. She hooked up with Ty one night but he was too drunk to remember it come morning. He never mentioned it, so she never mentioned it. After all, she doesn’t want to lose his friendship. That means more to her than anything. But when Ty realizes why he has come to crave Ara, well, nothing is going to stop this man, who has always gone the distance for the things he wants, from showing Ara just how well a relationship can suit them.
Friends to lovers is not my favorite romance trope (unlike many romance readers). I tend to prefer enemies to lovers for some reason. That being said, Ty and Ara’s eventual slide into love felt incredibly natural to me. I loved how these two stood up for each other even when it kind of hurt their own feelings. Ara hated seeing Ty in meaningless relationships and Ty hated seeing Ara engaged and then cheated on by her ex. These two truly represented a great friendship and that was just wonderful to see play out. I loved the way Ty would tease Ara but at the same time, he was there for her when her job required her to come in on crazy hours or when her father was in town. He just seemed to know when she needed him.
It is not easy for either of them to wrap their minds around what changing their relationship means. But it also was no longer working just being best friends. Not when the chemistry between them was growing so strong. It was time to take a risk and yeah, that’s always tough to say the least!
Sometimes I got the vibe that Ara was a bit on the “different from all other girls” vibe which isn’t my favorite. I think it’s possible for every woman to be a woman in however way they want. But that being said, this didn’t detract overall from my enjoyment of the story. Ara and Ty kept circling each other until the lust finally forced a very sexual collision. It was worth reading through their earlier ups and downs to get to that special moment.
Played also stands alone really well! Though this is the fourth book in Jen Frederick’s Gridiron series, it felt truly like its own story, and that’s coming from someone who has read the entire series thus far. Ty and Ara definitely stand on their own two feet as a couple and as a story.
Played is available now!
ARC provided by publicist for review.