The Play by Karina Halle
Published by Metal Blonde Books
Published on November 3rd 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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A troubled Scottish rugby player who doesn't play by the rules.
A vivacious man-eater who's given up on love.
When it comes to Lachlan and Kayla, opposites don't just attract - they explode.
Kayla Moore has always been comfortable with her feisty, maneating reputation. At least it was fine until she hit her thirties and saw her best friends Stephanie and Nicola settle down with Linden and Bram McGregor, leaving Kayla to be the odd one out. Tired of being the third wheel with nothing but one-night stands and dead-end dates in San Francisco, Kayla decides to take a vow of celibacy and put men on the backburner.
That is until she lays her eyes on Linden and Bram’s cousin, hot Scot Lachlan McGregor. Lachlan is her sexual fantasy come to life – tall, tatted, and built like a Mack truck. With a steely gaze and successful rugby career back in Edinburgh, he’s the kind of man that makes her want to throw her vow right out the window. But Lachlan’s quiet and intense demeanor makes him a hard man to get to know, let alone get close to.
It isn’t until the two of them are thrown together one long, unforgettable night that Kayla realizes there is so much more to this brooding macho man than what meets the eye. But even with sparks flying between the two, Lachlan can’t stay in America forever. Now, Kayla has to decide whether to uproot her whole life and chance it all on someone she barely knows or risk getting burned once again.
Sometimes love is a game that just needs to be played.
“I’m so in love with you,” he whispers … “So in love. There is no bottom. I just keep falling.”
OMG, I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!
Full of emotion, humour, drama, angst, an EPIC romance and some of the steamiest sex ever (phew!), Karina Halle has hit it out of the park with this one! So many feels, I was crying after reading just the prologue! It’s the story of Lachlan and Kayla, two damaged souls who find something incredible together, and who fight like hell to keep it. I absolutely loved it!
This book follows on from The Pact and The Offer – Lachlan is the cousin of Linden and Bram McGregor, “the Scottish trifecta of hot guys”, and Kayla is good friends with Stephanie and Nicola – so both of them have been introduced in earlier books, but this one can easily be read as a standalone.
Kayla is a feisty bombshell who has watched her two best friends find their perfect matches, fall in love and settle down. She’s a bit of a man-eating party girl, and has always been ok with that…
I swear, I’m not afraid of love. There’s just no one out there for me and I’ve made peace with that. If you can’t find a man to share your heart with, well…share your vagina with him instead.
…but she’s getting tired of the game so has taken a vow of celibacy, taking a break from men altogether. And then Lachlan McGregor walks into her life.
Lachlan is a professional Rugby player from Edinburgh. He is visiting San Francisco from Scotland to help Bram do some fundraising for his charity. Tall, dark and broody, the man is a giant pillar of intensity and gorgeousness, and Kayla is immediately smitten.
With Kayla’s vow to stay away from men, Lachlan’s reclusive nature and only a few short weeks before Lachlan has to return to Scotland, these two seem doomed from the start. It doesn’t help that their first few encounters are less than encouraging, but there is a spark there, and as they spend time together, the chemistry between them starts to really sizzle. With every glance, every touch, and every conversation between them, the sense of anticipation builds brilliantly, until they can’t hold back any more.
“I’m going to kiss you,” he says.
Oh Jesus, is this happening? I’m not going to survive this.
“Please tell me you’re not joking,” I whisper.
There was nothing I could do.
She’s a riptide.
I’m just a man without oars.
HOLY HELL, these two together are a force of nature! They see something in each other that neither of them realised they wanted or needed, and as they start to open up to each other, they fall for each other in a big way. And then then is the sex – OMFG, the sex is intense, a little bit dirty and crazy hot, and there’s a whole lot of it! But more than that, it’s emotional and so, so passionate, and is a real reflection on their feelings for each other. At times it’s almost a spiritual experience for them, and I’m sure I sat there with a dazed look in my eyes as I read some of those scenes (while fanning myself).
“Tell me what you want, love,” I tell her, my voice rough with lust. “Tell me what you want and I’ll give you what I have.”
Their hook up becomes so much more than either of them ever expected, and when the time comes for Lachlan to leave, they find that neither of them are prepared to let each other go.
“I want you,” he says with a gruff tenderness. “I want more of you. And I don’t care how I get it.”
…“You have me.”
That’s all I’m going to say about the story, because you need to just dive in and experience it all. But I need to say that Lachlan McGregor has TOTALLY stolen my heart! He is different from the types of heroes Karina usually writes – he’s more serious, quiet and brooding with some very dark demons. He has overcome so much to get where he is, and he has the biggest heart, but he is still haunted by his past. Kayla brings light into his life, and I love that we slowly get to see the real him as he opens up to her. He is so damaged, and my heart hurt as the full extent of his brokenness is revealed.
“Who am I?” I ask softly, heart pleading. “Who am I to you?”
She turns to face me… “You’re Lachlan McGregor. And you’re mine.”
Kayla blew me away in this story. Described as a “crazy, flirtatious, ballsy, ambitious, yet sensitive girl”, she is so incredibly strong. She has her own issues that she needs to deal with, and I love that she doesn’t lose herself to everything that is happening between her and Lachlan. But at the same time, she makes it clear that she’s prepared to fight for her man and I love the way she is there for him.
“I will never, ever run from you, Lachlan. I’ll only run toward you. Always.”
This is such a beautiful relationship. In one way it’s so incredibly easy – they fall for each other so naturally, it feels so ‘right’. But there are challenges in their way and external dramas which they need to deal with, and it’s an incredibly emotional read. Yes, there is angst and heartache, but it’s not stupid or overdone. It’s very real, it’s very heart-felt and it’s dealt with brilliantly! I could understand where the characters were coming from, I was never annoyed with them, I just wanted to hug them both and make it all better. And through it all, their love story absolutely melted my heart.
“You’re my beautiful world. And I’m whatever you want me to be, just as long as you know that I have never, ever felt this way about someone in my entire life” … “I’m losing myself in you. Every day. And it’s the most wonderful, terrifying feeling in the world.”
Gah, what a swoonfest!
This book is longer than the average and while I confess I’m not usually a fan of longer books, I loved that in this one there is plenty of time for the story to fully develop. The romance builds slowly and realistically and there’s a great mix of relationship development and character development, which I loved, because it lets you to get fully invested into the story, and at no point did anything feel rushed or glossed over. I was completely sucked into Lachlan and Kayla’s story, and I felt everything everything so strongly.
“I can see all your cracks and your darkness and your flaws and I fall in love with it all. And I hope you can fall in love with everything that I am, all that lurks in my dark, all that shines in my light. I want you to love every little piece of me, because it all belongs to you.”
It’s not all dark and heavy though. Lachlan and Kayla have a lot of fun together, and their special moments always made me smile. There’s also a whole lot of crass and inappropriate humour which had me laughing out loud, and of course lots of time with the characters from the previous books, and the introduction of a couple of newbies that are primed for a book of their own (Brigs needs his own book!).
I loved this book! I adored this book from start to finish, and I know it’s going to be one that stays with me for a long time.