REVIEW: “Most Valuable Playboy” by Lauren Blakely

Lauren Blakely breaks out a new American football series with a “faux” NFL.  She outfits “Most Valuable Playboy” with main characters who are incredibly sweet and over the moon in love.  “Most Valuable Playboy” is a Relationship of Convenience Trope with a Best Friend’s Little Sister “kicker”.  Lauren Blakely sets the story in San Francisco and Sausalito, California with a fictional NFL team the San Francisco Renegades.  Cooper is the team’s new quarterback who rose from back-up to starter after three years on the bench.  Violet is a sweet and kind-hearted hairdresser who he’s known since they were kids.  When the team’s owner’s sister starts sniffing after Cooper wanting to get in his pants he needs help.  Luckily Violet come to his rescue unwittingly bringing the belief that she’s Cooper’s secret girlfriend.  Fortunately this relationship of convenience works out for both of them; until pretend isn’t enough.

Cooper has been the back-up quarterback for three years while the beloved veteran let the team to Super Bowl victory.  Finally after his predecessor retires it’s Cooper’s time to shine.  After a bumpy start the team looks in a good position to earn a Wild Card spot.  However Cooper and his closest teammates have made a sacrificial pact to help ensure their winning season.  Each man has their superstitious ritual but Cooper’s is the most extreme.  Cooper has a reputation of being the “Most Valuable Playboy” so he makes a bold pronouncement.  He decides at the start of the season to abstain from sex in order to better focus on the game.  The Pact is working and the guys are dedicated to their cause.

On the evening of a charity bachelor auction the sister of the team owner ambushes Cooper.  She makes it clear she has her eye on Cooper and wants to get him into her bed.  The only person he’s able to warn is his best friend’s little sister and his friend Violet.  Luckily Violet is a quick thinker and not shy about spending Cooper’s money and wins him at the auction.  However the story that Violet’s Cooper’s girlfriend who he’s known since he was six years-old takes off like romantic wildfire.  Violet and Cooper think they’ll have to pretend for a day or two.  However circumstances arise which cause the couple to have to prepare to pretend for an undisclosed amount of time.

But the staged cute/romantic selfies, the kisses for the cameras, and public appearances turn up the heat.  For Cooper the kisses turn real, and his story of crushing on Violet since high school starts feeling true.  Cooper’s swirling in team politics, the pressure to win, maybe unrequited love, and a superstitious ritual of abstinence.  What’s real?  Is self-doubt the big enemy or a jealous woman?  Will Cooper lose his position on the team?  Don’t forget, he can’t have sex or the team will lose!  Or will Cooper face an protective big brother?

Most Valuable Playboy” is told in Lauren Blakely’s signature Male Point of View (except for a couple of chapters).  This book is the first installment in a series with the next installment focusing on a Receiver.  Violet is a super sweet and gracious Heroine with lots of sass and sexuality.  Cooper’s a straight up good guy; a humble professional football player, with lots of heart and tons of integrity.  The cast of secondary characters are wonderfully colorful and intriguing.  “Most Valuable Playboy” is yet another winner in Lauren Blakely’s booklist.

I’m giving “Most Valuable Playboy” 5 Lightning Bolts and a Storm Warning.

 

This novel was provided, voluntarily read, and honestly reviewed.

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