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Played: A Novel (Gridiron Series Book 4) Kindle Edition
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Ara Martin has been the ever faithful best friend to Ty Masters ever since they literally ran into each other their freshmen year. The daughter of a famous sculpture she decided to make art her major yet she wants to do things on her own merit not because her father opened the proverbial door for her. So Ara has put years into a job where she is treated like crap in the hopes it will look good on a reference. While celebrating the championship with a bunch of the players on the team Ty and Ara have a drunken steamy hook-up that he can't even remember and she vows to never let it happen again.
Ty Masters is the world's worst boyfriend and he freely admits it. His most recent ex-girlfriend is absolutely livid because in addition to all the missed calls, texts and broken plans he also totally forgot her birthday. Football is his first love and with the combine and NFL draft coming up in a few weeks his sole focus is only that. Yet he always has time for Ara and has for the last four years - always calling and texting her before anyone else, but she has firmly placed him in the friend zone. Now with the draft coming , his ex causing trouble on social media and an agent that is so annoying he needs her more than ever.
I want to say with how much I loved the first three books in this series - they were all funny, sweet and witty with serious chemistry between the H/h. The amount of angst this book had though was on another level from the others as were the characters. Even "happy go lucky" Knox's appearances weren't his usual jovial self. This is a good book that I read pretty quickly, but to me the whole flavor of the series changed. I am anxious to see what direction this series goes next :)
Ara has been Ty's best friend for four years. She's secretly in love with him, but is so worried that moving into the love zone will damage their strong friendship she keeps her feelings to herself. A drunken night of rolling around naked together does nothing to help her confidence here -- Ty doesn't remember any of it.
What she doesn't know is that Ty is in love with her too. It takes pretty much the whole book for these two to get on the same page. Ara has some other things going on in her life that damage her confidence. She's trying to find a job in the art field on her own without her artist father's help.
I did want to slap Ara when Ty finally decides to reveal his feelings and she's still runs from him. That got a little frustrating for me, as it was clear to e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e that Ara and Ty were meant for each other.
Overall, this is a cute college romance with a nicely developed football theme. Ty is definitely swoon-worthy and every time the story mentioned his glasses, all I could see in my mind was the delicious cover!
There's some really nice "twin" shenangans going on too, which provided some nice humor.
I liked Played, I like this whole series.
Ty Masters chose to play five years rather than four so he didn't have to compete with his twin brother Knox in the professional draft since they both played the same position. He also chose a different college across the country so they could both live out their individual glory rather than share a collective spotlight. They are extremely competitive with one another but also extremely close. When his brother went into the draft a year early it took some of the pressure off of Ty but also added a bit of pressure to live up to his brother's pristine image. Like most twins, Ty and Knox differ like night and day. The one thing they have in common is their focus on football, the difference is their approach with that focus. Unlike his brother, Ty has enjoyed the dating life in college. While his brother stayed away from women, Ty enjoyed them but never let them come before his game. He's gained the reputation of being a crappy, uncaring boyfriend. He could care less. The only woman that is important in his life is Ara Martin, his best friend. With the upcoming draft his agent is pressuring him about everything from his diet to dating. His agent is concerned about his reputation and how it will affect his draft round.
Ara Martin has been living within her parents shadows after their divorce. Her father is a renowned sculptor who tends to remarry with every masterpiece he creates. Her mother is a driven professional that thinks art is a frivolous and insecure career. She's also a bit cold hearted with her views on family and marriage. Ara is trying to carve out her own place in the art world without her father's influence or her mother's negativity. After being a product of numerous divorces in her childhood, she chose to put Ty Masters in the friend department because she valued their friendship too much.
So this book focuses on the final semester of their senior year in college. Ty and Ara are both struggling in very different ways. The one thing that is easy in their lives is each other. From the social media to Ty's twin brother, a nasty agent, and a rancid ex girlfriend, the pressure has become a hotbed in Ty's life. Ara's determination to prove herself in her own world is hard enough let alone the different types of pressure her parents are separately creating, Ty Masters is the only thing that isn't a boiling point in her life. The problem is deep down Ty is a boiling point, she is hopelessly in love with him but doesn't want to ruin their friendship. Little does she know Ty is realizing that he is in love with her. Ty's approach is like his approach to football, full focus and winning what he wants on his own terms.
Jen Frederick once again scored big with Played. She showed a very different side to the sport that most fans don't see and added a breathtaking romance to the mix. It is a great addition to the series and I think I might love Ty Masters a little more than I loved Knox Masters.
So if you are tired of all the crap going on in real life sports, take yourself to Jen Frederick's Grid Iron sports world, it will not disappoint.