Risky Play by Rachel Van Dyken

What else can a virgin do when she’s ditched at the altar? Seattle heiress Mackenzie Dupont is treating herself to a single-girl honeymoon in Mexico and a desire to relinquish her innocence to a gorgeous one-night stand. Fake names. True pleasure. But when she wakes up alone, Mackenzie realizes just how much anger is left in her broken heart.

Suffering a tragic personal loss, pro soccer player Slade Rodriguez has his reasons for vanishing without a goodbye. Right or wrong, he’s blaming the beautiful and infuriating stranger he never wants to see again. They’re both in for a shock when Mackenzie shows up as his new personal assistant. And they both have a lot to learn about each other. Because they share more than they could possibly know, including a common enemy who’s playing his own games. And he’s not afraid to get dirty.

Now there’s only one way Mackenzie and Slade can win: to trust in each other and to stop hiding from the lies they’ve told, the secrets they’ve kept, the mistakes they’ve made, and the attraction that still burns between them.


Title: Risky Play
Author: Rachel Van Dyken
Series: Red Card Series
Pages: 288
Genre(s): Contemporary, US
Hot Buttons: death of a parent / grief <-- highlight to reveal (may contain spoilers)


Oh, my my my…where has Rachel Van Dyken been all my life and why is this the first book of hers I’ve ever read?! Seriously - this book hit all the marks for me and then some.

To get all the important bits out the way first - this is the first book in Van Dyne’s Red Card series - which I’m hoping will continue to focus on players from Slade’s Seattle soccer club. But this book stands completely alone - no pesky cliffhangers - and has the required HEA.

While being keen to read this story, I was also slightly wary based on a couple of things from the blurb. I tend to shy away from heavy emotions - such as grief - in my romances. And, I was already annoyed at Slade for blaming Mackenzie for his father’s death before I even picked up the book. So if you’re in the same position as me - please believe me when i tell you to put your fears at rest - this book is worth taking the chance on and then some.

The first thing I noticed is Ms Van Dyken’s writing style. It’s so fresh, fast and you’re engrossed in the book before you even realise what’s happened. Reading it feels like you’re chatting with your bestie - it’s funny, comfortable and I just loved when I could really get stuck in and spend some time with the characters. The chapters are also quite short, which I found tempted me to read just one more. Then another. And another.

Normally in a novel I fall in love with one of the main characters more than the other. Not so in this book. I loved both of them. Everyone. And Alfie the dog, too!

Slade is perfection in his annoying, jackassy, sexy, teasing way. He was so broken that I just wanted to give him a big ol’ hug. And then slap him around the head for being such an idiot on more than one occasion. But I still loved him.

Mackenzie turned into one of the best heroines for me - which surprised me quite a lot. She grew so much in the course of the book - from quite a shy, reserved person who bent to the whims of others, to a strong - yet still vulnerable - woman who became herself and owned it. At times, I saw so much of myself in her fears and vulnerabilities that I was in awe of the connection I felt with her.

But it was when Slade and Mack came together that things really came to life. I felt the heat and the sparks, the anger, recriminations, the teasing and the nervousness. It was just their connection - no matter how you framed it - they clicked. And it was glorious. The little texts they sent each other. The banter. Top notch.

And that extends to more than just our main couple. The banter between Slade and Matt. And Slade and Jagger. And Slade and Jagger and Matt. It just made my day - it was bloody hilarious! There was a total bromance going on with those three and I’ve got my fingers firmly crossed that both Jagger and Matt get their own stories in the rest of this series and we get more moments of magic between those lovely men.

I’m not going to lie, I shed a wee tear with a few of the scenes about Slade and his Dad. But it never goes too deep, which I’m thankful for. There were many occasions where I laughed out loud and even more when I found myself sighing in delight with my hand clutched at my throat like a Victorian virgin. Sigh.

It was also delightful to read a book where our hero - despite being a worldwide celebrity - has the same fears as the heroine about their relationship. That he puts himself and his feelings on the line before our heroine. That there truly is balance in their relationship.

You can tell how much I rated this book because I’m giving it five stars despite this atrocious line being included:

“What the hell kind of name was Joanna, anyways?”

*side eye*

This is the kind of book that really rings my bell. It’s sexy, sweet, funny and with banter for miles. A really highly recommend romance and an author I think I’ll be heading out to buy up her back catalogue. 5 stars.


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Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she's not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.

She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers!



http://www.clairecontrerasbooks.com/        https://www.facebook.com/CContrerasBooks/    https://www.instagram.com/jillshalvis/https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6655354.Claire_Contreras    https://twitter.com/marquitaval

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* I received this book from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review. *

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