Tuesday, October 1, 2013

review: playing dirty by jennifer echols

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Playing Dirty takes place about two years after the first book in the Stargazer series from Jennifer Echols. The focus this time is on Sarah who has just gotten a makeover after splitting with her husband. After bad boy Nine Lives went to jail on Sarah’s watch, she’s got one chance to save her career by working with a country band led by the very sexy Quentin who is reportedly a coke addict about to break up the band because his on/off girlfriend and bandmate has taken up with another member of the band. But Sarah soon learns that not everything is as it seems with this band. To start, Erin only pretends to get drunk, Martin never removes his shirt during strip poker, and she catches the supposedly uneducated Quentin and Owen watching Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment on DVD. Sarah is determined to not only figure out what’s going on with this band, but get them to finish the album for the record label. The band, on the other hand, is determined to keep Sarah out; and Quentin isn’t above seducing Sarah to keep her distracted.

Every member of the band has a secret which is revealed by the end and those secrets kept me reading so that I finished Playing Dirty in just over a day. I loved the band (I kept picturing them as sexy characters on the show Nashville) and Sarah. Although Sarah’s been hurt and is definitely vulnerable, she was almost always in control. And the ├╝ber-intelligent Quentin is pretty much the sexiest man ever. With excellent characters and a compelling plot, Playing Dirty is one of the best romances around.

As a side note, Stargazer is not a company I’d ever want to work for as apparently your job is always in danger. Sarah went through quite an ordeal with Nine Lives (which is slowly revealed through Playing Dirty so I won’t spoil it), but she receives the threat of being fired rather than praise. In the first novel, Wendy was also in danger of being fired. Sounds like a terrible company!
Review copy provided by the publisher, Pocket Books.

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