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I Belong

Review: Changing the Game by Jaci Burton

Changing the Game (#2) by Jaci BrutonTitle: Changing the Game

Author: Jaci Burton

Genre: Erotic Romance

Series: Play by Play (Book 2)

Publication Date: August 2, 2011

Format: Paperback, 299 Pages

ISBN-10: 0425242404 (Penguin/Berkley)

ISBN-13: 978-042524240 (Penguin/Berkley)

Reviewed by: Sheila


Most people play by the rules. Gavin and Liz aren’t most people….

Win at any cost. That’s always been the mantra of sports agent Liz Darnell. When she carries things too far and risks losing her number-one client, baseball pro Gavin Riley, Liz realizes that she’ll have to work extra innings to win him back. It might not be too much of a stretch. She’s had a thing for this player’s moves since she first laid eyes on him, and by the looks of it, he wants her just as bad.

Gavin’s more than ready—especially when Liz is offering herself as part of the bargain. And as much of her as Gavin wants. For added thrills, he decides to throw a little curve ball Liz’s way to see just how far she’s truly willing to go to keep him as a client. But when love unexpectedly enters the playing field, neither Liz nor Gavin are ready for the biggest game-changer of them all.

Quick & Dirty: This baseball romance has lots of sexual scenes with characters who don’t know what to do with their emotions.

Opening SentenceGavin Riley knew Elizabeth Darnell had been avoiding him for the past several months.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Changing the Game, the second installment from the Play by Play series, centers on baseball star Gavin Riley and his agent Elizabeth Darnell.  Like the title suggests, this is a love story with lots of baseball metaphors, steamy sex, and a happily ever after that is sure to be a home run.

Gavin Riley is a bad boy that cuts through women like a knife.  Following the events of the last book, Gavin begins to notice that his agent is not just a cold and heartless shark, but a beautiful and alluring woman.  Taking the initiative, he gives Elizabeth a proposition; stay with him in his beach house and have guilt and commitment-free sexual escapades.  Duh, no brainer right?  The problem is that he has no idea that Elizabeth has been in love with him for years.  Can these two find a way for everyone to win this game?

Gavin’s character is shallow and clueless.  He is constantly thinking with just his little head and not worrying about the consequences of his words or his actions.  By failing to consider anyone but himself, he tends to hurt those around him unintentionally.  It basically takes a concentrated effort on behalf of his family and friends to get him to pull his head out of his rear end and see how much Elizabeth really means to him.  In effect, Gavin is a stereo typical guy.  I didn’t like the fact that, for someone portrayed as smart, he acts so stupid.  It doesn’t allow me to connect with him and made the ending seem a little out of character.

Elizabeth Darnell seems shallow and clueless.  She wears her attitude like armor to hide the fact that she is a scared little girl inside.  Neither of these character traits endears her to me.  A reader doesn’t know, at any one time, whether or not she is going to be a hard ass or be vulnerable.  In a sense, Elizabeth is a stereo typical woman.  The only thing that I liked about her character is her drive to be the best agent she could be, regardless of her personal feelings for her clients.

The fact is that I find these characters lacking something true.  Yes, during the sex scenes they all but light the pages on fire; but that is hardly a reason to read this book.   I suppose that might be enough for some readers.  I believe that there can be a harmony reached between smut scenes and decent prose.  I am still interested in this series as a whole, but I don’t think that I will read this particular book again.  I would recommend this as a good library find for those looking for something sporty with their romance novels.

Notable Scene:

“Go to the bathroom and take off your panties.”

“Excuse me?”

“You heard me.”


“You want me to take them off you out here?”

“You wouldn’t.”

“Wouldn’t I?”  He finished his whiskey and slid his hand under the table, lifting her sundress.

She slapped his hand away, then the realization hit.

He’d asked her to change clothes.

“You planned this.”

His lips curled.  “Maybe.”

She looked around the fairly crowded restaurant.  Granted, no one was looking at them.  They had a semicircular booth, which meant they could scoot together and…

No.  She wouldn’t dare.

“Do it, Elizabeth.  You’re already wet thinking about it, aren’t you?”

Her gaze shifted to Gavin, her thoughts gravitating to how he would do it.  What if they got caught?  How could she stay quiet?

The Play by Play Series:

1. The Perfect Play

2. Changing the Game

3. Taking a Shot

4. Playing to Win (September 4, 2012)

FTC Advisory: Penguin / Berkley Heat graciously provided me with a copy of Changing the Game.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.  The only payments I receive are hugs and kisses from my little boys.


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