Playing To Win

After spending the last few years living in England, professional footballer Lane Gerrard has come home to New Zealand. When a story breaks in the paper claiming heís the father of a nine year old boy, Lane wants to get to the bottom of these lies. But when he confronts the alleged accuser, sheís nothing he expected. Feisty and looking as innocent as a lamb, Kate Alexander goes toe to toe with him before throwing him out of her house, but after seeing her son Lane can only think the story is true. Jamie is the spitting image of Lane. Working together to find out the truth, Lane and Kate grow closer. But someone doesnít want them getting close, and when the pranks turn dangerous, Lane realizes that itís not just Kateís life on the line, itís his heart too.

Iím not sure what I expected from Playing to Win, but it certainly wasnít the deep emotionally engaging story I got. Right from the start I connected with Kate, battling single mum with a spirit worth envy. I found her and Laneís first encounter funny and tense, alive with their feelings. Shelley Munro has done a wonderful job of mixing up the emotions in this scene, Laneís anger boils while poor Kate is left in shock. I loved the way she came out fighting when it finally sank in what he was accusing her of. Kate carries scars and isnít about to trust Lane no matter how bad she feels for him. For Jamieís sake Kate has no choice but to help Lane find the answers heís looking for. With them getting closer to each other, the attraction they feel only deepens, and when the pranks start turning nasty, both are forced to pay more attention to the threat. Ms. Munro weaves the different emotions and situations with ease and before you know it youíre at the end of the book. Besides being emotionally deep, Playing to Win builds to a suspenseful moment that left me breathless. The tension in the story builds with each page you turn, and I found myself trying to work out the truth as well as the identity of the person stalking Kate. However, Ms. Munro kept me guessing until the end. Iím not sure what was more nerve-racking, the sexual tension, the mystery of Jamieís father or the stalker. All the secondary characters add depth, and Ms. Munro brings them to life brilliantly. If youíre after a book that engages on all levels, you canít go past Playing to Win by Shelley Munro.

Reviewed by: Rachel C.

Rachel C.