Overall Grade: 4.5 ⭐️
“I couldn’t think of anything I wanted more in the world than to be with someone who made me more me, or thought I made him more him.”
At its core, what is Louise Bay’s Private Player?
Romance catnip. Seriously! If you’ve read any of my reviews EVER, then you know I’m a hound for a broody, alpha-level, too sure of himself hero. And Bay’s hero in her newest book, Nathan, is all of those things.
His meet-cute happens with his heroine, Madison, at their mutual friends’ wedding (International Player’s Truly and Noah). From the moment Madison and Nathan meet, it’s a mix of palatable attraction, tequila, and a wardrobe malfunction courtesy of a chair where the heroine flashes her pink panties at, at the very least, her tablemates.
Madison and Nathan hit it off so well that they spend a steamy one night together, knowing they will never see each other again. Except…
This is romance, and that never happens for a hero and heroine. You see, Madison is a burgeoning reporter for The Post, and well, our hero, Nathan, has an image problem. He’s been spotted with his best friend’s wife, and the preeminent gossip columnist who wrote about him has skewered him. With that in mind, his PR team finds a journalist to spend time with Nathan to get a sense of the man in order to write a piece about him, saving his reputation and his job. And guess who is assigned to him? You guessed it: Madison.
As you can imagine, Bay’s Private Player evolves into a romantic journey between two people trying to deny their growing attraction for purposes of their credibility but also Nathan’s reticence towards relationships. Is it possible for Madison and Nathan to find their happy ending? Well, this is a romance, but how they get there is always unpredictable.
There are some amazing parts of Private Player:
*Nathan’s family (who get their stories in future books)
*The interplay between Madison and Nathan especially as they fight their attraction. Talk about steam floating off the page.
*Madison’s introspection about Nathan when he’s unable to see his situation from outside of his own ambition and connection
*The way that Madison and Nathan fall incrementally in love even when they fight it
*Louise Bay’s insistence on writing heroes such as Nathan who captivate her readers and make you want more of them
*The general message to live your life on your own terms
My only criticisms of this story are its predictability (which, for me, because I adore Louise Bay, isn’t a huge issue) and the very little we get of Madison’s relationship with her mother. Bay gives us a nibble of it, but I would have liked more of it to see its impact on Madison. She tells us about it, but I would have liked a bit more of that characterization.
All of that aside, Louise Bay’s Private Player is a preeminent Bay story. It has steam, attraction, sweet moments, a worthy message, and a glorious happy ending. What else could you ask for in a romance book?
In love and romance,