Title: Playing for Keeps
Author: Shiloh Walker
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: January 13, 2009
Format: eBook, 104 Pages
ISBN-10: 1605043567 (Samhain)
ISBN-13: 978-1605043562 (Samhain)
Reviewed by: Sheila
Some things are worth playing for keeps.
Jacob has always been part of Dana Cochran’s life. They’ve lived next door to each other for years, they’ve dated on and off and now they see each other through work. But their timing has just never been right, and when Dana invites Jacob over to play with her and Mason Caldwell…things get complicated.
Doctor Jacob McCoy loves Dana. So much so, that he’s even willing to share her with Mason Caldwell. But a red-hot threesome isn’t all that Jacob wants from Dana.
When tragedy strikes their fledging relationship, Jacob has to convince Dana that pushing him away isn’t the answer. He wants to be in her life forever. And some things are worth fighting for.
Quick & Dirty: A tear jerker story involving a threesome and struggles to find out what is most important in life: Love.
Opening Sentence: “You tramp.”
If you read the synopsis of this book, it sounds a lot like a fun, steamy ménage-love-triangle-type romance. There is sure to be lots of sexual tension and participation, right? WRONG! There should be some kind of sticker put on the back of this book: WARNING – may contain highly emotional content that may not be suitable for all readers. Oh sure, Shiloh Walker tells you AT THE END of the book, but at that point you are already read the emotionally hard parts.
Playing for Keeps starts out as a story about three people: Dana, the free spirited woman looking for commitment-free fun, Mason, the current lover that provides the fun, and Jake, the love torn on-again-off-again boyfriend of the woman he loves that flees at the hint of relationship-related seriousness. Mason is an excuse in this book, so for the most part it is all about Jake and Dana. The book starts off with Jake sharing Dana with another man; the only way he is able to be with Dana without her freaking out. It moves along to just Dana and Jake when they find out they are going to be surprise parents. Then, unfortunately, moves into a terrible tragedy that threatens their fledgling relationship. Can their love survive?
Jake is like a lovesick puppy, following around the object of his desire over the course of years. When he does get the chance to snag Dana, he grabs on with both hands. There is not a lot of seething rage toward the man that he must share his love with. Don’t get me wrong, he hates Mason, but he wants Dana happy more and the ménage relationship makes her so. When he finds out that she is pregnant, he steps up to the plate and takes responsibility. Good man. I really liked the realism that Jake gives off. I like seeing him respond with Dana’s wishes in mind, instead of just his own.
Dana, on the other hand, likes to play. She is not the type of woman that thinks about settling down and starting a family as being her top priority. So when news of an unexpected baby arrives, she is forced to reevaluate her life. And when her heart is heavy with loss, she discovers what is truly important to her. It was nice to see the growth bloom within Dana’s character. Even though the story itself is rather on the skimpy side of size, nothing about any of the character’s developments seems rushed.
Now let’s move to the part that I warned you about earlier. The loss of an unborn child is tremendous. You do not have to hold the baby in your arms to love it and feel the weight of their loss. From personal experience, the sadness does not ever go away, just lessens enough for you to function. Sad to say that in this type of tragedy, sometimes the men are overlooked in terms of grief. Most relationships do not last after losing a child; either parent cannot deal with their grief or that of their partner’s. But there are some that grow closer in the aftermath. Ms. Walker and I are two such cases. I applaud her in sharing the story of her and her husband’s own experience with her readers, no matter how much it hurt personally to read and experience these events all over again. And though I am happy with the ending of this book, I most likely will not re-read it anytime soon.
Shiloh Walker is known for her dramatic prose and hard/dark themes. Her writing will touch you, no matter your circumstances, long after the book is done. I highly recommend any of her many stories, from her contemporary romances, to the paranormal and erotic. But I, again, warn you that this one in particular can be an emotional roller coaster. If you start crying, don’t say that I didn’t tell you ahead of time.
The lines of Jake’s face tightened—a minute change. Almost imperceptible. But it was a familiar look, one she often saw on his face when Mason was mentioned, when he was around. “You don’t like him much,” she said quietly.
He shrugged restlessly, not confirming, but not denying, either.
“If you don’t like him, then why…” Her voice trailed off and she gestured at the bed. Blood stained her cheeks and she felt ridiculous, standing there, too embarrassed to put her thoughts into words. She could enjoy a ménage easy enough, but actually talk about it? That was harder.
But she didn’t need to give her thoughts a voice.
A sardonic smile curled Jake’s lips. “Why?” He slid out of the bed and came to stand behind her. Wrapping his arms around her, he muttered against her neck, “The why is easy. Because of you, Dana. I don’t give a damn about Mason, but I do give a damn about you…and anything I can do to get close to you, I’m going to do.”
His voice hardened as he added, “Even if it means sharing you with another man.”
“And what if there isn’t another man?” Wiggling around in his arms, she stared up at him. “What if it comes down to just you? Just you and me.”
FTC Advisory: The author provided me with a copy of Playing for Keeps. 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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