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Book CoverVeena’s review of The Final Score (Play By Play) by Jaci Burton
Contemporary Romance published by Berkeley 12 Sep 17

Mia Cassidy is all grown up with her very newly established Sports Management agency.  It’s inevitable that she runs into college friend Nathan Riley, who’s coming into his own as the quarterback for the local football team.  Since both are currently single and with no entanglements, they decide to go the friends-with-benefits route in order to preserve their friendship and scratch their itch.  While I enjoyed their romance, I did feel that the friends-with-benefits saga lasted a lot longer than it should have, and what’s this about Mia unilaterally decided what’s best for them as a couple!!!!????

Nathan Riley is delightful. He’s somewhat nervous stepping into the quarterback position, replacing his famous dad and feeling the pressure of the team’s and fans’ expectations from him.  It’s great to see him settling into his role and taking over the mantle of his position until it’s a comfortable fit.

Mia is a complex character. With her famous people she’s been around sports all her life, so it comes as no surprise that she would use her college degree to set up a sports management business. From the get-go she’s very successful and somewhat overwhelmed at how easily success has come to her, even though she works really hard.

Both she and Nathan have not forgotten their one sexual encounter from college days, even though significant time has passed. It’s no surprise that they decide to take advantage of their sensual chemistry and extend their friendship into the sexual zone. Even as they hide their extra-curricular activities from their friends and family – and I do feel that Mia is somewhat obsessive about this – it’s clear that those close to them suspect.

In order to get that happy ending, they’re going to need to work on the secrecy and figure out how to be a couple in the limelight that comes from both their careers. It’s hard given Mia’s obsessive need to control things, but Nathan will eventually win through.  A great feel-good story with lots of familiar characters from the series.

Grade: B


In the new Play-by-Play novel by the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Contact, a star quarterback is torn between his love of the game—and the woman who may be the love of his life.

Nathan Riley is ready to follow in the footsteps of his famous football player father. He’s been drafted as quarterback for his dad’s former team, and his future is bright. When his friend Mia Cassidy moves to the same city, their years-long friendship suddenly sparks hot, reminding him of the one night they had together in college that he can never forget.

Like Nathan, Mia is from a sports dynasty family and embarking on an incredible new career—as founder of her own sports management company. Her friendship with Nathan means everything to her, and tossing sex into the mix again could jeopardize it. But the chemistry between them has always sizzled, and it isn’t long before Mia realizes she wants more with Nathan than just late-night talks and pizza.

Passion has a funny way of changing the rules, and soon Nathan and Mia discover that to win it all, they’ll have to make an unexpected play for love.

Read an excerpt.