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Review: PLAYING FOR KEEPS by Jill Shalvis

Published by Avon
 Giveaway at the end of the post! Eileen says:”Ms. Shalvis wrote a wonderfully sexy, emotional and heartwarming story that is not to be missed.” Full review below…

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 A standalone Heartbreaker Bay Novel

Playing For Keeps

If you’re planning on falling in love…

When it comes to the confident, charismatic Caleb Parker, Sadie Lane feels the spark—the kind that comes from rubbing each other the wrong way. She’s yoga pants, he’s a suit. She’s a tattoo artist, he’s a straight-laced mogul. But after they accidentally co-rescue an abandoned dog from a storm, Sadie sees a vulnerable side to the seemingly invincible hottie.

you’d better be sure…

Caleb doesn’t do emotions. Growing up the underdog, he’s learned the hard way to build up an impenetrable wall. Perfect for business. Disastrous for relationships. He’s never worried about it before—not until he finally gets behind Sadie’s armor and begins to fall.

… someone is there to catch you.

Both guarded and vulnerable, Sadie and Caleb are complete opposites. Or are they? Shocked at their undeniable connection, can they ever admit to wanting more? That all depends on what they’re each willing to risk.

Excerpt of Playing For Keeps by Jill Shalvis


She shook her head.

“Look at me. Please?”

It was the damn please that had her opening her eyes. He’d closed the gap so that if she so much as took a breath, they’d be touching.

So she did just that. She took a deep breath, and then their bodies were up against each other, his warm and hard. Everywhere. “What’s happening?” she whispered.

“I believe you’re deciding between kicking me in the nuts and kissing me.” One side of his mouth curved very slightly as he lifted their still joined hands above her head, against the wall.

“But that last part might just be in my dreams.”

“Yes,” she whispered.

“Yes, it’s just in my dreams?”

She meant to say yes again, she really did.

She even opened her mouth to say it, because this was insane, this incredible . . . craving she had for him. It made no sense. Less than no sense, and yet . . .

She went up on tiptoe and touched her mouth to his.

Eileen’s Thoughts…

 I absolutely loved Sadie and Caleb’s story in Playing for Keeps by Jill Shalvis, book seven in her Heartbreaker Bay series.

Caleb Parker is a wealthy successful entrepreneur who is very close to his sisters, who all work with him. The Parker family is loyal and protective of each other. Sadie Lane is working two jobs, tattoo artist and in a spa, in order to make ends meet. She appears tough, always needing to have the last, often sarcastic response, as she does not care to open herself to a chance of again getting hurt. She is private, keeping her past to herself, and unlike Caleb, is not close to her family.

One stormy, rainy night, Caleb encounters an abandoned three legged dog, trying to catch it. Sadie, who knows Caleb as a businessman who she calls “Suits”, tries to help him with capturing the dog. Together they rescue the dog and decide they both want to keep the dog Lollipop, as Sadie named her. Sadie and Caleb decide co-owning the dog is best, forcing them to work together, and learn how to ask someone else for help.

Caleb was an asthmatic and scrawny youngster, often the victim of bullies. One day he met a dojo who helped him learn to protect himself and save his life. As Caleb made his mark in the world he made sure his sisters and mom had all they needed, money-wise, and helped others, like his old dojo, in dire straits.

Sadie was a round peg in a family of square holes; she did not fit. Misunderstood by her family she suffered from their over the top concern with her and her differences; losing much of her freedom and confidence. It was not surprising that she wouldn’t let people get close to her. Caleb wanted to help her, take care of her but knew she would resent any interference in her life.

On paper Caleb and Sadie were opposites, him rich and she struggling, but they both loved that dog to pieces. As they spent time together, getting to know each other, their attraction grew and became steamy. I loved that Caleb was the first to truly see Sadie, through her walls, through her armor, and started understanding her. Saying that, Caleb and Sadie are experts as sabotaging any relationship they’ve been in and this one has its moments; especially when a major misunderstanding occurs causing trust issues. Like the other residents in Cow Hollow, I was cheering on these two toward a happy ending.

Ms. Shalvis wrote a wonderfully sexy, emotional and heartwarming story that is not to be missed. She provided a tale rich with amusing and sexy banter, out loud laughs, sarcasm, and endearing characters not only giving Sadie and Caleb a chance at having a solid, loving future together but also a wonderful network of supportive friends. This book is totally in Jill Shalvis’ voice; I could hear her voice and many of her funny tales as I read this book. I highly recommend Playing for Keeps to other readers.

Plot: 5/5
Characters: 4.5/5
Heat: 3/5
Writing Style: 5/5
Overall: 5/5

About Jill Shalvis

NEW Shalvis author photo_credit ZR Studios.jpg

New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website,, for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

Connect with Jill

Facebook: @JillShalvis

Twitter: @JillShalvis





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Reviewer: Eileen is a retired high school teacher who has loved reading all of her life and goes everywhere with a book. She enjoys reading Contemporary Romance, Historical Romance, Romantic Comedy, Romantic Suspense, Women’s Literature, YA, NA, Fiction, Historical Fiction, and Cozy Mysteries. She likes strong heroines, hot heroes and a story that draws her in, not letting go until the last page is turned. She lives in Minnesota with her husband, pup, and near her four adult children.



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