September 1, 2017


Lauren Blakely does it again. Another touchdown.

Most Valuable Playboy, by Lauren Blakely
Publish Date:
September 1, 2017
Publisher: self-published
Format: e-ARC, provided by the author and InkslingerPR
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 5 STARS

(Synopsis) Hands down, my favorite thing in the world is to score. Touchdowns.

Don't let the fact that I'm the leading pick in the Most Valuable Playboy charity auction fool you. These days, I'm only a player on the field. I've kept my pants zipped all season long -- and it has been long -- because nothing's more important than leading my team to victory every week. Except maybe escaping from the team owner's recently-widowed and handsy-as-hell sister who's dead set on winning more than a date with me.

Enter Violet and a well-placed Hail Mary.

She's my best friend's sister with a smile as sweet as cherry pie and a mind that runs quicker than the 40-yard-dash. After Violet saves the day with the highest bid, I don't even give her a two-minute warning before I kiss her in front of the whole crowd and then announce that she's my girlfriend. Which would be fine except my agent tells me we've got to keep up the act while he's negotiating my contract. 

Violet takes one for the team and pretends to be mine, but our boyfriend-girlfriend scrimmage quickly turns into a full contact sport, and I want it to go into overtime. The problem is -- I've been riding the bench for years.

How can a guy like me, who finally has a chance to prove his worth on the field, convince the girl she’s most valuable to his heart?

Lauren Blakely's male POV rom-coms are absolutely my jam. Not only are they funny, sweet and sexy, but I just love how she writes from the guy's POV. And how she cleverly captures bits of the girl's POV in round-about ways. 

Cooper is a star in the NFL and has always had a crush on one of his best childhood friends, Violet. When she bids on him during a bachelor auction to save him from a potentially bad situation with his team owner's sister, Cooper finally get what he's always wanted - to be Violet's boyfriend. Even if it is only fake for the press. But, for him, it's more real than anything else in his life.

Most Valuable Playboy takes a few of my favorite tropes - friends-to-lovers, fake relationship, secret crush, best friend's sister - and mashes them all together in such a perfect way. They're all things we've read before, but with the all-male POV and Lauren Blakely's special brand of humor and heat, it makes this particular story super special. 

Cooper is the sweetest beta hero ever. He's polite to a fault and treats women - even those he can't stand and who don't give him the same in return - with the utmost respect. Violet has been in his life since she was in second grade and he became best friends with her brother. They would do anything for each other, so when Cooper asks her to save him from the barracuda that is his team owner's sister, Violet doesn't hesitate. But, up on the stage after she wins him, things go a little sideways, and suddenly, Cooper and Violet are forced to spend a lot more time together. Which ends up being just the shove both of them needed.

Cooper is a famous NFL player and Violet is the owner of a beauty salon. He's used to fame and fortune and she is not. That's only one hurdle these two have to overcome in order to make the HEAs in their heads a reality. Misconceptions, miscommunication and good intentions also cause trouble for these two, who really are perfect for each other.

Most Valuable Playboy is told entirely from Cooper's POV, but with strategically placed text conversations between Violet and her BFF Holly, we can see where Violet's head is at during the whole "fake girlfriend" gig too. But, honestly, even without those texts, I could tell from her interactions with Cooper and their super steamy sheet time that she was totally into him.

Things are set up for a new story between the team's PR manager and one of Cooper's fellow team mates, and I'm already chomping at the bit for that story!

The business suit woman raises a hand, offering forty-one hundred.

Maxine’s eyes laser in on me, and she slashes an arm through the air. “Five thousand dollars,” she says, jacking the price up by nine hundred and staking her claim. I shudder inside.

The guy’s eyes widen, and he holds up his hands. “I’m out.”

My stomach plummets when the business woman shakes her head.

“Going once?” Sierra asks, scanning the tables, looking for perhaps one last big spender. My eyes scan the crowd, too. Hell, maybe I’ll find an escape hatch. A trapdoor to drop into and disappear like in a magic act. Maybe Trent will learn to read my mind. Trent, I’ll cover you for anything you bid. Just raise that hand, name a price, and save me.

My best friend’s expression is merely curious now as he watches Maxine and Sierra, waiting for the verdict. My opportunity to play yard boy slips through my fingers.

The look in Maxine’s eyes is pure satisfaction as she waits for the final word. She winks at me, as if we have a secret. Holy shit. She thinks I want this. She thinks I want her to win me.

A flash of chestnut brown hair in the back catches my attention. A flurry of silver. It’s Violet, hands in the air, wildly flapping over her head in the middle of the ballroom. She brings her finger to her nose. And she’s tapping it, like fucking Santa Claus coming down the chimney, and Harlan tapping his nose to signal his agent, and all the greatest solutions in the universe at once.

My heart goes crazy.

It hammers in my chest. This is like finding an open receiver a second before you’re sacked.

“Going twice,” Sierra says, trailing off as she waits.

I raise my arm and tap my nose, too. Violet is the only one who knows I need to get out of this jam. She’s the only one I mentioned it to. And she’s the only one now who can save me.

“Ten thousand dollars.”

Holy shit. Violet does not mess around with my money. Her eyes widen, as if she’s surprised she bid that high.

My gaze finds Trent. He’s staring at his sister, slack-jawed.

Sierra’s smile is bright and wide. “Ten thousand dollars. Do we have ten thousand, one hundred?”

The room is hushed. Maxine’s expression is blank. She must be shocked. She probably didn’t expect anyone to vie with her to this extent.

I tap my foot, willing Sierra to close this quickly. Just slam the door shut, please, fucking please.

“Going one. Going twice.”

I say a silent prayer. I cross my fingers. I hope.

Maxine blinks, opens her mouth, and I steel myself for a disgustingly high counter bid.

But there’s only silence. No words come. Violet has shocked her speechless. This type of bid wasn’t in Maxine’s playbook.

Sierra raises her arm. “And a night with the quarterback is sold for ten thousand dollars.”

Talk about a Hail Mary.

A #1 New York Times Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that's hot, sweet and sexy. She lives in California with her family and has plotted entire novels while walking her dogs. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than eighty times, and she's sold more than 2 million books. In September she'll release MOST VALUABLE PLAYBOY, a standalone sports romance. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter!

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✮✮✮ Enter to win this amazing MOST VALUABLE PLAYBOY GIVEAWAY! ✮✮✮

Lauren’s Most Valuable Playboy Team Spirit Prize Package Giveaway! This bundle is valued at $450 and includes a Coach Handbag ($300 value) and $150 Stub Hub Gift Card to use for tickets to the game, your favorite concert, or theater performance.

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