I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Playing for Keeps by R. L. Mathewson
Series: Neighbor from Hell #1
Published by Self Published Genres: Contemporary
Reviewed by Lily Elizabeth
Haley Blaine is a painfully shy history teacher who works with Jason Bradford, her gorgeous yet immature next door neighbor. For five long years, she has avoided him at all costs, while fantasizing about his demise.
Blessed with a handsome face and charm to spare, Jason likes to live a pretty stress free and gratifying life. With women, he’s upfront about keeping things casual. It’s not his fault women become obsessed with him!
Forced to endure each other’s company one fateful day due to Mother Nature’s angry creatures, they are forced to get to know each other and thus begins a beautiful friendship that evolves into something red hot.
I had some reservations when I began reading this book. I’m not the biggest fan of pushover female leads paired with overbearing male leads (there’s alpha males, but I seriously pictured Jason being a frat boy…and well, yuck!). Within the first chapter, those preconceptions were shattered, and I was sucked in. Haley has always been a strong woman, though insecure due to her being the square peg in her family. Jason has been carefree as he grew up in a loving, though quirky, family.
Written in an energetic, witty manner, the reader gets to fall in love right along with the characters. Each of the characters has dimension and quirks that are friggin’ adorable. Ms. Matthewson has a gift for writing a sweet story (no saccharine here though), and yet she has some explosive intimate scenes. I wouldn’t mind going a couple of rounds with Jason if truth be told!
Can I talk about the epilogue? Props for giving the reader a real glimpse into the future (not just a couple of months later). It’s kind of a pet peeve of mine when the author fast- forwards to the immediate future. I want to see what the character’s lives are like years later when the honeymoon period is over.
I would like to also applaud Ms. Matthewson for not using this first book in the series as the “set up” book for future books. This can be read as a stand-alone, but once exposed to her writing style and these engaging characters, it is hard to stop at just the first book in the series.