Image from Goodreads

Title: Risky Play
Series: Red Card #1
Author: Rachel Van Dyken
Publisher: Skyscape
Publication Date: 19 March 2019

Synopsis from Goodreads

What else can a virgin do when she’s ditched at the altar? Seattle heiress Mackenzie Dupont is treating herself to a single-girl honeymoon in Mexico and a desire to relinquish her innocence to a gorgeous one-night stand. Fake names. True pleasure. But when she wakes up alone, Mackenzie realizes just how much anger is left in her broken heart.

Suffering a tragic personal loss, pro soccer player Slade Rodriguez has his reasons for vanishing without a goodbye. Right or wrong, he’s blaming the beautiful and infuriating stranger he never wants to see again. They’re both in for a shock when Mackenzie shows up as his new personal assistant. And they both have a lot to learn about each other. Because they share more than they could possibly know, including a common enemy who’s playing his own games. And he’s not afraid to get dirty.

Now there’s only one way Mackenzie and Slade can win: to trust in each other and to stop hiding from the lies they’ve told, the secrets they’ve kept, the mistakes they’ve made, and the attraction that still burns between them.

Review

Risky Play is utterly captivating; the characters draw you into their lives from the beginning, making you completely invested in all areas of their lives and the emotional challenges they face.

Both Mackenzie and Slade are running away from their real lives, needing a break from the stress they have been subjected to by their former significant others. Seated next to each other on the flight to their escape destination; fate takes a dramatic turn making them confront the regrets they have in life.

Wanting to remain as far from their real lives as possible, both of our protagonists provide each other with false names and share very little in the way of personal information. Yet, the chemistry between them and the determination to live their best lives ensure a night to remember.

Unfortunately, real life intrudes in a tragic manner causing emotions to become tangled and confused, as well as misdirected.

Mackenzie has a wonderful family relationship but has never felt quite accepted for herself. A people pleaser by nature, Mackenzie struggles to find the comfort and support she herself requires rather than just giving care without receiving it in return. Her encounter with Slade leaves her even more at a loose end until fate takes control and forces the pair into a confrontation of sorts.

There are a lot of emotions going on in the pages of Risky Play with a web of tangled relationships where you need to look below the surface of the persona some people project in order to see who they truly are at heart.

Mackenzie’s caring, empathetic nature can sometimes feel a little bit subservient, although she owns her need to take care of the people around her. Slade has a range of personas he presents to the world, working through his complex emotions requires time and patience. Which Mackenzie supplies in abundance. Allowing Slade to develop into the man he can be proud of.

There is a lot of background detail for both Mackenzie and Slade included in the narrative, making them three-dimensional characters while also developing the peripheral characters at the same time. I am positive the peripheral characters are going to play a very important part in the series as a whole. I desperately want Jagger to have his own happily ever after – he deserves it 😍