Monday, June 17, 2013

Play With Me + Ryan Hunter by Piper Shelly: Promo + Review

Title: Play With Me

Author: Piper Shelly
Release date: December 2012

Genre: Romance

Event organized by:
Reading Addictions Blog Tours

Ryan Hunter's parties are legend.

And tonight she's going to be there.

Liza Matthews anticipates the return of her best friend and only love since kindergarten from soccer camp. But when Tony finally shows up, his mind is more focused on another girl. And worse, she's a soccer player. Fighting for the attention Liza craves, she's just a hairbreadth away from making a very stupid decision. But when extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, she's prepared to play ball to get her man.

The tryouts are hell, the first match ends bloody, and the morning after the selection party she wakes up in the worst place possible—in the arms of the captain of the soccer team. The hottest guy in school. Ryan Hunter.
Title: Play With Me

Author: Piper Shelly
Release date: April 2013

Genre: Romance

Event organized by:
Reading Addictions Blog Tours

Ryan Hunter kissed more girls than he cares to remember. But the only one he ever wanted is in love with his best friend.

Watching Liza Matthews’ obsession with Tony Mitchell is a torture Ryan conceals from everyone. Until after a five-week soccer camp, where Tony gets involved with someone else, things suddenly take a different turn. Ryan knows if he doesn’t make a move now and grab his chance, he might never get another.

Asked by Tony to distract Liza, Ryan is only too happy. He subtly seduces her first into his soccer team and later on to his party. He does all in his power to make her see that he’s not just an insufferable playboy but a guy who really cares about her. Some one-on-one soccer training, a passionate kiss— things seem to be going the way he wants. Except Ryan didn’t reckon on his best friend showing up at the worst possible moment and destroying everything…



Ryan rolled up the sleeves of his white shirt, then took my hand, and pulled me toward the bumping mass. “C’mon, let’s dance.”
Heck, I wasn’t a dancer. Protest was useless, because he wouldn’t hear me shout in this club unless I plastered myself against him and yelled in his ear. I followed. He didn’t stop until we stood in the middle of the dancing crowd.
My hand was captured in his, maybe because he knew I would have fled otherwise. Ryan moved closer, his free hand planted in the small of my back. “Loosen up, Matthews. You’re supposed to have fun.” He pressed his lips to my ear to speak. “Or at least look like you do.”
He gave me a soft push and made me twirl under his arm. Ryan did things so nonchalantly. The lightness of his demeanor, his unconcern, rubbed off on me at this moment. I laughed as he caught me again in an easy hug and swayed with me to the music. The dry smoke troubled my breathing a little, but this close to Ryan, all I smelled was him. And he smelled fantastic. Just like the other morning when I woke up next to him.
I didn’t know what brought him to my house tonight. Could be he just felt pity for me for what had happened with Tony, and as the captain of our team he made it his duty to cheer me up. Or he simply liked me. Whichever, I was thankful he didn’t give up when I told him no in the text message. Because he was a wonderful lift for my mood. He made me forget. He made me smile.
And right now he made me a little nervous.
I felt this tingle in my stomach every time I was close to him. Especially as he twirled me around and caught my back against his chest. His hand splayed on my belly, he pushed me against him, performing a body wave with me.
I laughed out loud, maybe to cover my shyness. “What are you doing?” I shouted over my shoulder and found his face very close to mine.
“Distracting you.” He rolled again, and I felt each of his hard muscles grinding against my back. “Does it work?”
Unbelievably so. I didn’t reply but let Ryan move me. With all the dancing, my tee got a mess, and the hem traveled a few inches up. Half of Ryan’s hand lay on my naked stomach. It sent a shiver down my spine. One of the good ones.
As the song ended, he released me and shouted next to my ear, “Phil has just come in. Let’s say hello.”
I smoothed my clothes out on the way to the oblong bar. The music wasn’t as loud back there. Leaning over the metal top, Ryan introduced me to a man with shoulder length hair and black muscle shirt. He looked mid-thirty, maybe a bit younger. Phil set two cans of Coke in front of us.
After the hot dance with Ryan, this was more than welcome.
Perched on a bar stool, I listened while the two talked about Ryan’s last year in High School and the new soccer team. Phil asked me if I liked it.
I lied. “Yeah, it’s great. Love the training.”
The slanted look from Ryan promised he didn’t buy one word of it.
“What?” I mouthed at him with a half smile.
He leaned in closer and brushed my hair behind my ear. “I still have the text where you say you’re done with soccer, Liza.”
The taunt in his voice as he said my name prickled my skin. I leaned back an inch so I could gaze at his face. “Did you really not know my name before I sent you that message?”
He laughed and shrugged one shoulder. “Why, Matthews? You were devoted to Mitchell. What would I care?”
From the way he averted his eyes for a second, and the sly grin that remained on his lips, I wasn’t sure if I should believe him.
“You’re such an ass, you know.” I shoved his shoulder, grinning at him.
The roguish gleam in his eyes captured me. “I’ve been told girls go for that.” He winked then drank from his Coke, but his gaze held mine all that time.
Heat rushed to my cheeks, because, hands down, he was right. It was all too easy to fall for him. Not only because he looked illegally good in a white shirt, or because of his amazing smell. It was the attention he gave me that made me feel good around him. Special. Desired, even.
And for the weirdest moment, I wanted him to desire me.
Letting my gaze slide to a few kids who’d started singing karaoke on a small stage across the room, I hoped I could flush that idea with a long drink from my soda, deeming it a side effect of the pain Tony caused me today. I wanted to stay faithful to my love for him, even if he made it clear that he’d rather kiss the Barbie Clone than me. But with Hunter standing between my legs, his hand placed casually just above my right knee, it was no use denying the attraction. His charm had worked on me for days now, and it was different to anything I had experienced so far. Fresh, exciting, dangerous. Nothing compared to good old safe Tony.
I wouldn’t want them to switch places right now. And that was the scariest thought of all.
A tall, dark-haired beauty came up behind Ryan and dragged me out of my musing. She wrapped one arm around his neck and kissed him on the cheek. “Hi, little brother.”
“Hey, Rach.” He let her come around and introduced us.
As he called me Matthews and the friend of a friend, my heart sank. I reached out to shake Rachel’s hand. “My name is Liza.”
“Don’t mind him. The oaf was never comfortable with first names.” The tall girl laughed and shoved her brother playfully. “I’m lucky—I’m his sister.”
“That doesn’t mean a thing, Carter,” he teased her and popped another soda then clinked cans with Philip.
“So, the friend of a friend, huh?” Rachel’s tone was light but curious. “Where is that friend?”
“Not here.” Ryan grinned at her. It was hard to miss the certain glint of mischief in his eyes. The glint that didn’t fail to make me nervous again as his gaze met mine.
Rachel sighed with a roll of her eyes. “Just when will you grow up and settle for one?”
“He’s young, baby.” Phil leaned over the counter to kiss his wife. “He has time.”
“I know.” She pulled away and snorted as she cast her brother a grin. “I’m just waiting for the day that a girl sees through you…and decides to like you anyway.”
Ryan laughed. “Yep, me too.”
After hiding from his mom in his parents’ beach house yesterday, it was odd to see him banter with his family like that. Free, uncomplicated. Funny.
“That calls for a drink.” Philip fetched two small glasses from behind the bar, placed one in front of himself and the other in front of Ryan, and started filling them with Tequila.
“You can have your drink with Rach. I’ll skip tonight.” Ryan shoved the glass toward his sister, his lips suddenly getting a little too tight.
“You pass? With that beautiful drinking partner?” Philip’s beam my way confused me. I didn’t intend to drink a teeny tiny drop of that shit, but he hadn’t given me a glass anyway, so what did he mean?
“I’m not having this drink with her.”
Okay, now Ryan’s implications hurt. He would drink with other girls, but not with me?
“Why? Is she shy?” Phil demanded.
“She’s too nice.”
“Ah, she’s a prude then.”
What bullcrap was that? “I’m not a prude! And I’m standing right beside you, so I would appreciate it if you told me what the hell you’re talking about.”
Ryan turned a sheepish grin on me. He brushed his knuckle across my cheek. “She’s decent,” he told Phil.
“Yeah, and decent is a shit word for prude,” I muttered. “So why don’t you want to do with me whatever you are used to doing with others when you come here?” Somehow I felt that my hurt pride would land me in trouble. Still, I couldn’t let them get away with calling me a prude. After all I slipped out of my room twice for this guy while being grounded. And currently I sat on a barstool in a club that opened its doors only for people age twenty-one and over.
“You don’t know what you’re asking for, Matthews.”
“Well, it won’t kill me to find out, right?” God, I should bite off my tongue.
“Okay,” Ryan drawled. “Remember, I gave you fair warning.”
Lips pressed together, I gave Hunter a determined stare, but with his last words he had me practically wetting my pants.
Philip seemed pleased with the situation as he filled the two glasses; Ryan’s only half full on his sister’s demand. He placed one half of a lime-slice on either glass.
Ryan grinned at me. “You still game?”
“I don’t have to drink this, do I?” Shit. My voice almost cracked with my rising unease.
“No, you don’t. That’s for me. You only assist with the lime.”
Assist with the lime…meant to do what? Feed it to him? Okay. I could do that. “Game on.”
Ryan cast me a smirk that made me wonder if I was in the right place at the right time. But it was too late to cop out. He took the lime off the Tequila and clinked his glass to Philip’s. At the same time he held the slice out to me. “Bite.”
Bite,” he repeated.
He dragged the brim of his cap around to the back of his head then knocked the shot down. I leaned forward and bit into the fruit he held out, my eyes trained on his face. Yuck, the sour taste made me grimace. I pulled back. Ryan tossed the slice away and cupped my neck, yanking me toward him. Everything happened so fast, I couldn’t even lick the lime juice from my lips. But he did. And my heart stopped beating.
She nodded, and it was clear that the little distance we’d run so far had troubled her a lot more than me. She sounded like a pair of bellows. As soon as we reached the beach, Liza slumped to the sand as though she had no life left in her any more.
That was not part of the plan. I stood over her, hands on my hips, and gazed at her reddened face. “What are you doing?”
I liked how she made me chuckle with such simple things. “No, you’re not. Get up, we’re not done.”
I am,” she protested. “But don’t mind me. You just go on. I’m sure in a few hours someone will come and scrape me off the pavement.” She waved a dismissive hand. “Dig me out of the sand. Whatever.”
Laughing about her antics, I squatted down and started to untie her shoes for what was to come next. We weren’t done yet.
“Hey, what the heck—” She pulled her leg away. “You don’t steal from a dying person.”
I surrendered, lifting my hands, palms up. “Fine, then take them off yourself.”
“What?” Her mouth sagged open as she propped on her elbows in the sand and looked at me with wide eyes. “Why?” Then her gaze moved to the sea and her lips spread in a hopeful grin. “We’re going to take a swim now to cool off after the training?”
“Nope,” I said, though she put a very beguiling thought in my head right then. I could be swayed to some fooling around in the water with her. But then this would be too much of a temptation. Kisses came along with such nonsense. And I had sworn to myself that I wouldn’t do that until she knew the truth about Mitchell. After a longing glance at the sea, I faced her again and said with a firm voice that wouldn’t get me into trouble, “The little run was only warm-up. The training begins here.”
All color disappeared from her face. “You can’t be serious.”
“What are you willing to bet on it?”
She grimaced and sighed, but I’d figured out by now, my word counted to her, and she slipped her shoes off to hide them with mine by the rocks. I wondered if it was just the captain she saw in me, or if she wanted to make a good impression because she saw me, the nice guy, and therefore stuck with me.
Only a few minutes later, she made clear I wasn’t a nice guy to her as she shot me a look filled with loathing. “Do your parents know about this sadistic side of yours?”
I remembered the first time that I had run on the beach for training. Her calves probably hurt like mad. But she had to get through this. We wanted to turn her into a kick-ass soccer player. I tugged gently at her high ponytail. “What can I say? You bring out my best side.”
“Ah, great. I feel so special now.” Liza shoved my shoulder, and I laughed as I struggled to steady myself with my feet sinking into the soft sand. “How far are we going?” she demanded.
“I never ran this route before, but I guess it’s about a half-mile. You know the houses at Misty Beach?”
“Your parents own a house down there?”
“Yep.” It was a nice little thing compared to the mansion we lived in, and I really liked to come out here after training on weekends and study or read on the wrap-around veranda. My dad had set up a porch swing for Rachel and me when we were kids, and it was the perfect place to relax and enjoy a warm summer day.
We still had a bit of a way in front of us, and when Misty Beach came into view, I thought Liza wouldn’t endure another step. She licked her lips, and her lungs made a weird, gasping sound. “I swear I’m going to drink up the ocean,” she cried.
“Chin up, Matthews. We’re almost there.” I grabbed her upper arm when she stumbled and didn’t let her stop just yet, dragging her along with me the last few meters. As I led her up to our bungalow, her face lit up, seriously proud of herself. And I was, too.
There was always a set of keys in the potted plant on the broad railing. I fished them out and let us in. The door slammed shut behind us.
While Liza stood rooted in the living room, her gaze traveling over the couch, wide-screen TV, and especially over the bookshelf, I headed into the sun-fused kitchen. From the fridge, I grabbed two bottles of water and tossed one at Liza.
She guzzled the water down as if she came equipped with a camel hump, then she wiped her lips with the back of her hand. “So, great tormentor, why did we run on the beach? Was it just for your personal pleasure to see me suffer?”
My personal pleasure would be to see her strip naked right now. Rolling my eyes at her, I smiled. “Why do you think so badly of me?”
“I don’t know.” She left her spot on the wall and leaned her delicious butt against the backrest of the couch. As she folded her arms over her chest, it gave her words that sweet edge of sarcasm. “Maybe because I lost my lungs somewhere on the way? Or because my legs are on fire?”
“Oh, come on now,” I teased her. “We jogged over two miles and you’re still standing. That’s great. And running in the sand will strengthen your legs a lot better than the pavement. Since we only run on grass at soccer, you need to get used to the additional—”
Smart-ass. “Exactly.” I walked toward her and gently swiped her sweaty bangs out of her eyes. Every time I touched her, I could think about nothing else than a first, tender kiss. Something in her look told me she was becoming aware of it, too. Breaking our locked gazes, I took the empty bottle out of her hands and tossed it along with mine into the trashcan. Then I stiffened at the sound of footsteps on the porch.
Shit. That was my mom.
My glance skidded to the door then back at Liza. Not a good moment to have her here. Liza seemed equally shocked, but maybe just because I sort of panicked right in front of her. There was not time for an explanation. As my mom’s key rattled in the lock, I started toward Liza and tried not to hurt her when I knocked her backward over the couch. We landed on the cushions together, then I rolled to the side and pulled her down to the hard wooden floor with me, out of my mom’s sight. Hands down, Liza landing on top of me was the summit of my dreams, but it also pushed all air out of my lungs.
As she scowled down at me, I could feel her warm breath on my face, and it made me harden underneath her. So not what I had planned, dammit. I clamped down on my jaw and fought for control. But I didn’t think she noticed, although something in her expression softened for a millisecond. Like she was surprised about what she saw there in my eyes.
“Who is it?” she hissed, then and her gaze turned annoyed once again.
“Can only be my mom,” I whispered back and suppressed a moan then shoved her off of me. It was safer for both of us if she didn’t stay on top of me in this unbelievable turn-me-on position. I squeezed her in between the couch and me and placed one hand over her mouth to keep her silent while my mom carried several boxes into the kitchen. “She’s stocking the fridge.”
As my lips brushed against her ear, Liza closed her eyes. Her warm breath caressed the back of my hand. I smiled. Enjoying it, was she? What the hell stopped me from kissing around her ear a little just to make her sigh like that again? Ah right, noise drifting from behind the couch did.
A few seconds later, Liza pulled my hand away from her lips. “Why are we hiding here?”
Because things like girls were a complicated issue with my folks and me. “My parents don’t like me bringing random girls to this place. Unless you want to be introduced as my girlfriend, I suggest you stay down.”
She didn’t move. Okay, being introduced as my girlfriend wasn’t her goal, however much it was mine. But I really didn’t want to answer questions from my mom, so I appreciated Liza’s silent agreement.
It didn’t take long until my mom was done and left the bungalow. Just to be sure, I waited another minute before I got to my feet.
Liza breathed a relieved sigh. She wouldn’t take my hand when I offered to help her up, but remained lying, legs bent, feet on the floor, and folded her arms behind her head. “You sure your dad isn’t on his way, too?”
“Yes, I’m sure.” Silly little girl. She always made me laugh with her cynicism. “He never comes here during the week.” Ignoring her belligerent behavior, I reached down for her hand and pulled. “Get up.”
Rising, she patted invisible dust off her bum. “Next time you feel the need to knock me over, I’d appreciate a little warning first.”
If that is all it takes to drag her down with me… “Gotcha!”
I went to the bathroom in the back of the house, right next to my bedroom, and fetched a fresh towel from the shelf. Walking back to the front, I wiped my face and neck with it then tossed it at Liza so she could towel off, too.
She caught it, then looked at the terry cloth with a wry face. “Ew.”
Ew? Seriously? I stopped, turning to her, and wanted to tell her that she was now a soccer player and not running for Miss California.
But her snappy tongue was faster than mine. “I don’t know how a little running together got us to that level of intimacy.”
It just does. Deal with it. She got my arching of a brow as an answer and, ignoring her grimace, I walked out on the porch and slumped down on the swing. It took only half a minute until she followed me, and hey, she was rubbing her neck with my used towel.
She tossed it back at me with a hard thrust. I caught it before the bundle smacked me in the face.
“Let’s go back,” she muttered.
Already? I didn’t want to just yet. “Are we in a hurry, Matthews?”
She looked around uncomfortably, clearly not in the mood to hang out in the swing, then decided to park her sexy body against the post next to the wooden steps that led down to the beach. “Not really. But I won’t stay in a place where I have to sign a marriage license to be welcome,” she snapped.
Was she still scared because of my mom? “She won’t come back.”
“I don’t care.” She cast me a glare that spelled Come back with me or drop dead.

Author Bio
Wow, this is always the hardest part for me to write…don’t know why. You would think talking about my life should be easier.

I was born and raised in Austria. Half my life I spent in Vienna, but I didn’t like the city. I much prefer the beautiful countryside, with its many meadows and the breathtaking Alps. That’s why I moved to Upper Austria right after graduation. There are trees now in front of my window instead of just another ugly gray building, and I love to be woken by the cacophony of birds every morning.

At seventeen, I met the love of my life, but it took another four years until we finally got together. It was the best decision I could have made. I’m now married to this man, and I count myself lucky for someone like him. Even I will admit it can be hard at times to live with me. I’m moody and tend to lapse into my fantasy world at any given minute—well in my defense, I’m a writer. :-)

We have a ten-year-old son, and together we travel a lot…although I sometimes wish the trips were shorter because I can’t wait to get back to my laptop and WIP. Yeah, that’s just me. I built my world around my passion, and I like it that way.

So, you see, I’m leading a pretty normal life.

Of course it will all change the day my book follows the act of Harry Potter, and I’ll become richer than the Queen. I swear I’ll never again clean my windows myself then. Yeah, one day, LOL…

 I read both Play With Me and Ryan Hunter for this review. The story is the same story with the difference being his thoughts/actions verses her thoughts/actions. In this way, you really get a sense of the miscommunication that causes conflict between them.

Liza is a likeable character that is driven towards romantic feelings for her BFF - Tony. In an effort to spend more time with him, and get closer to him, she joins his Soccer team. Here is where Ryan Hunter enters the scene - as her Soccer captain.

The interesting thing about reading Ryan Hunter after Play With Me is that I didn't expect some of the thoughts in Ryan's head.

The concern I had was that Ryan Hunter's character was not as strong in his own novella. He is displayed as a very confident, charming character in Play With Me. In Ryan Hunter, he becomes almost... more of a sensitive character. 

I would go ahead and say that Play With Me is the stronger of the two novellas. However, because Ryan Hunter adds a new dynamic to the story, I would still suggest you give that one a read if you like Play With Me.

When it Comes to Play With Me and Ryan Hunter?

Buy It | Read It | Borrow It | Toss It | Burn It

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