Play for Keeps

Maggie Wells. Sourcebooks Casablanca, $7.99 mass market (352p) ISBN 978-1-4926-5152-9
Wells’s second Love Games erotic contemporary (after Love Game) scores with the sex but falters with the romance. Wolcott University’s public relations head, Millie Jensen, indulges her mutual attraction with men’s basketball coach Tyrell Ransom after his wife leaves him for one of his superstar players. Their relationship starts with a long-distance burn as Ty waits in Reno, Nev., to get his divorce papers settled; when he returns to Wolcott’s unspecified Midwest location, their passion explodes into satisfying encounters rich with pure enjoyment amid gentle power plays and smart, hot banter. Millie and Ty’s situation seems perfect until Millie’s hang-ups about remaining independent get in the way. Millie’s gal pals, introduced in the first book, are entertaining; the interracial aspect of the leads’ midlife connection (she’s white, he’s black) is unmistakably present but low-key; and the chemistry is strong. However, the uneven pacing of the central conflict undermines the romantic thread. The final plot twist jumps to lifelong commitment without stopping to build a real relationship, leaving readers with an unwelcome sense that the protagonists’ happiness won’t be forever. Agent: Sara Megibow, KT Literary. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/19/2018
Release date: 04/01/2018
Genre: Fiction
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