Overall Grade: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2
Okay. Confession. This is only the second book I’ve read of Stacey Lynn’s with the first book being the 3rd book of her Rough Riders series of standalones, Wicked Player. I know with that book I appreciated the storyline of the stoic Gage and his need to release pain along with Elizabeth’s need to use pain to move her out of her head. On some level, I connected with them. I know that I downloaded the first two books in this series, but I haven’t had an opportunity to read them yet (reading and reviewing takes up a bit of time), but know that I intend to read them because Stacey Lynn is swiftly becoming a favorite of mine. To be honest, it’s mostly come about with Cocky Player, her newest book.
The story goes that Brenna is a virgin and wants to lose her innocence to a stranger. She’s tired of “carrying” it on her like a driver’s license, and she wants to lose it to a stranger so there are no attachments. She goes with her roommate to a bar one night, intent on achieving this, and she meets Connor at the bar. Ready to give her virginity to him, at the last minute, the moment is ruined, and she runs away from him. Confused and unable to get Brenna out of his mind, he goes about his business until, a few days later, he finds that Brenna is the daughter of his team’s owner. See, Connor is the starting running back for the Raleigh Rough Riders. Angry, he approaches her, thinking she is “playing” him, the consummate playboy. However, there is something darker about Brenna. Connor recognizes something in her; he’s drawn to her. He decides he wants to be her “teacher” because the thought of her with anyone else unnerves him. And so their relationship begins, but it is fraught with something Brenna hasn’t revealed and Connor doesn’t know, causing a challenge that could keep them apart forever.
A little tidbit about me as a reader of romance…I love bad boys. You know the ones? The playboys, the heroes who are surly and full of themselves. They are some of my favorite heroes because they fall hard for the heroine of their stories. Even more, we often find that they are hiding behind that facade, and they usually believe they aren’t “good enough” for her. But deep down, these men are loyal, caring, compassionate, and they have HUGE hearts that even they don’t know they have. If you are like me, and you love this type of hero, then you NEED to read this book. Because this is Connor.
You should know that he is going to give you whiplash at the beginning of this story. One minute he wants to be with Brenna and the next he can’t. It will drive you crazy, confuse you, make you yell at your book. Then, that moment of recognition happens, and you will fall deeply for this guy. I know I did. Lynn crafts him to be this handsome, hot, seemingly cranky running back, and you’ll love his outside. But then, she offers up his heart, and you’ll be done. Stick a fork in ya’ done.
Now, as you know, to change a hero like Connor, you need a strong heroine. Brenna is that type of heroine, but Lynn has given her a very soft, naive, innocent exterior. You won’t understand the depth of her strength until you hear her story. In that moment, your heart will ache, and you will understand Connor’s connection to her. That is really the essence of Cocky Player, their connection. This is soulmate-level stuff. From. The. Very. Start. Kismet. Karma. Kindred.
Yes, there is a general story of Connor finding his way and Brenna finding her space in her family, but the depth of this book lies in their coupling. This is true contemporary romance, and it’s grounded in the building of Connor and Brenna’s relationship.
If you love some angst with a side of hot, then Stacey Lynn’s Cocky Player is definitely your book. I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew from a few chapters in that this book would have my heart more so than Wicked Player. I didn’t expect that. This romance has everything you love to read: hot, cocky football player with a heart of gold, a easy temptress of a heroine, lots and lots of steam, and some angst to keep you grounded.
In love and romance,