Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Who doesn’t love the idea of going to a bar one night, meeting the eyes of an incredibly handsome man, deciding that you want to spend one night with him, finding out quickly that the two of you have instant chemistry, and taking that beautifully built, $exy man home to a night of ecstasy? That is the start to Alex Grayson’s newest book, Lead Player. What her heroine, Alaina, doesn’t realize is that she has spent the night with the lead guitarist for Phenix AND he’s the best friend to her best friend’s fiance. Thinking they would never meet again, Alaina realizes quickly that she cannot escape Enzo’s force field of hunkiness so easily. However, she struggles with the fact that he has lived a fast life of music and women. She is looking for a partner, a man to share her life, not a man who will disappoint her when he leaves her easily. Grayson’s Lead Player asks the questions: can Enzo give Alaina her “happily ever after” and will Alaina trust him enough to allow him into her life? Those questions become the breeding ground of fiery chemistry, a side story of an obsessed young woman, and a big secret that threatens any final happiness for Enzo and Alaina.
What did I love about Lead Player:
- Obviously, Enzo and Alaina’s coupleship is everything you love in a romance. These two have chemistry for days, and it’s apparent from the first chapter of this book. I think Enzo is initially attracted to Alaina physically; however, her personality and way of rejecting him piques his interest in her because she is different from the myriad of women prior to her. That’s catnip for romance readers. When a formerly promiscuous hero becomes enamoured to the point of changing his lifestyle, you can’t help but LOVE that type of romance. And Grayson writes this well for her readers in Lead Player. Add in the type of heroine able to take this “playboy” hero to his knees, and you find yourself “all in” to this type of romance. You’ll find this in Lead Player.
- The cavalcade of supporting characters. Grayson juggles the friendship group between Enzo and Alaina nicely. She teases their stories without letting them overpower Enzo and Alaina’s, which is no easy feat. I’ve read stories where authors have attempted to introduce a group of characters, and they become mired and confused in providing parallel stories through them. That isn’t the case in Lead Player. Even more, these other characters, namely Alaina’s best friends, Juliet and Nikki, are her strength. When the romance unravels, as it does in all romance books, they provide her with the support to endure it. They also offer her wisdom and promises of physical harm to the hero, which is what you hope your best friends would do for you. The characterizations feel real and grounded, and this is definitely Grayson’s strength as a writer.
- The plot. I enjoyed Enzo and Alaina’s journey. It feels seamless, although I really want to question Enzo a bit more. I mean…why Alaina? We know he wants a deeper connection with women beyond the one-nigh stand, but he also isn’t interested in relationship “things” yet. I’m not sure that there is a specific moment when he makes this different choice for himself, and I would love to understand his “why” more beyond his growing deeper interest in Alaina.
Overall, Lead Player engaged me in Enzo and Alaina’s story. I haven’t read K. Bromberg’s books yet, so I know I’m missing out on her Everyday Hero world. I know that it makes these “universe” books more profound when the reader is a devoted fan of the original author. However, Alex Grayson has crafted a story that captures your heart. It’s enough without the K. Bromberg sentimental influence. Enzo and Alaina’s story is the type of romance that readers like me end with a smile and feeling of contentment when the last page turns.
In love and romance,