The Player Next Door by K. A. Tucker

Blog Tour: Courtesy of Valentine PR

Thanks so much to the author and Valentine PR for the complimentary advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review, and blog tour participation. All opinions are entirely my own. { partner } All of my reviews can also be found on Instagram @Tackling_TBR and on Goodreads

Book Description from Goodreads:

Scarlet Reed has returned to Polson Falls, convinced that twelve years away is long enough to shed her humiliating childhood identity as the town harlot’s daughter. With a teaching job secured and an adorable fixer-upper to call home, things in her life are finally looking up.

That is, until she finds out that Shane Beckett lives next door.

Shane Beckett, the handsome and charismatic high school star quarterback who smashed her heart. The lying, cheating player who was supposed to be long gone, living the pro football dream and fooling women into thinking he’s Prince Charming. Shane Beckett, who is as attractive as ever and flashing his dimples at her as if he has done no wrong.

Scarlet makes it abundantly clear that old wounds have not been forgotten. Neighbors they may be, but friends they most certainly are not. She won’t allow herself to fall for the single father and firefighter again, no matter how many apologies he offers, how many times he rushes to her aid, or how hard he makes her heart pound.

But as she spends more time with him, she begins to fear that maybe she’s wrong. Maybe Shane has changed.

And maybe this time she’s the one playing herself—out of a chance at true happiness.

Review: (4 Stars)

TW : childhood trauma, mention of infidelity, mention of bullying, injury to a minor

Despite what my “Dates Read” will say (I started this book and then put it down to finish another current read), I DEVOURED this book! The Player Next Door is a brand new second-chance romance from author K. A. Tucker. It was fairly lighthearted compared to some of her other work (though there were definitely some more intense scenes), a good middle-of-the-road steamy, and overall a delicious binge read during this continued quarantine.

Much like many others, I am a huge sucker for second-chance romances. Doesn’t everyone have that fantasy at least once or twice that their big ex, possibly love of their life, turns around and realizes that you’re the best thing that ever happened to a fool like them? Or maybe that they come back into your life just to see how you’re #thriving? I definitely have been known to. So what better type of story to throw yourself into and read over the course of about 48 hours! I loved getting to dive into all of the backstory of Scarlet and Shane’s past, and sort of getting to see both timelines (through Scarlet’s memories). It really helped me to feel invested in their story right from the word go.

As far as characters go, I thought both of our leads were extremely likable, while not immune from annoying characteristics or dumb decisions. But again, I think that getting to hear so much of their backstory really helped with falling in love with not only the characters, but also their love story in general. I found myself really aching for them when things weren’t going their way. I wanted them to succeed, and to be happy. Which I always think goes a long way! Although I will say that a few of the other characters, while more minor players in the story, really shone through for me in a way that almost stole the show for a few of the scenes! Characters like Justine specifically had me laughing right out loud at how ridiculous she could be, but how I could see myself being friends with her too. And if down the line a sequel were to come out putting my girl Justine in the spotlight, I would definitely not turn it away!

One of my favorite parts of this story was the setting – at the beginning of the book Scarlet is moving back to her small town that she grew up in. That’s another thing that always seemed so idyllic and charming to me – small town living, where you have fun town events and everyone knows everyone else. (Or maybe I just watched too much Gilmore Girls growing up?) But my favorite thing about it as a setting for this type of story that while it is a charming town, and she is getting all of that “new beginning” excitement by moving into her childhood dream house, the small town is also the catalyst for a good number of the mix-ups and challenges as well. Yes, everyone knows everyone, but that means that they also know everyone’s private business, and that is always an angle that I find really fun to read about.

Overall, I really, thoroughly enjoyed this book. I have already recommended it to more than one friend who I know will tear through it as quickly as I did, and I’m sure it will continue to come up for me in those conversations with girlfriends. As I said in the beginning, I think it is close to the perfect story to lose yourself in during what is still a fairly uncertain time. Because, much like those pesky neighbors in the book – it’s much better to get to focus on other people’s drama than on your own, right? At least, it’s certainly more fun!

About the Author:

K.A. Tucker writes captivating stories with an edge. She is the USA Today bestselling author of 17 books, including the Causal Enchantment, Ten Tiny Breaths and Burying Water series, He Will Be My Ruin, Until It Fades, Keep Her Safe, and The Simple Wild. Her books have been featured in national publications including USA Today, Globe & Mail, Suspense Magazine, First for Women, and Publisher’s Weekly. She has been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Romance 2013 for TEN TINY BREATHS and Best Romance 2018 for THE SIMPLE WILD. Her novels have been translated into 16 languages.K.A. Tucker currently resides in a quaint town outside of Toronto with her family.

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