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The Playing Game by Ainsley Booth

Title: The Playing Game
Series: Off the Ice #1
Author: Ainsley Booth
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Tropes: Second Chance/Hockey Romance
Friends to Lovers
Release Date: March 9, 2023


NHL veteran player Kieran Marsh has had more relationships than trips to the sin bin, making him a player on and off the ice. And two years ago, I had a one night stand with him when I thought I would forever stay the anonymous girl in the hockey jersey.

But now my city has an expansion team, and guess who’s one of their star players?

Of course I accept an offer to go see the opening night game. I can’t stay away, even though hockey destroyed my family, and so much about Kieran reminds me of the worst things my father ever did to my mother.

And when Kieran sees me in the stands? I know nothing is going to be the same again. This is his game, and he knows how to win.



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The Playing Game by Ainsley Booth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You guys … I honestly don’t know where to begin with this review.

This story could have gone off the rails into an angst-driven, dramatic, over the top mess, easily, but the author used her word wizardry powers and instead of driving the story into a cliché mess full of conflict, she instead made the choice to positively unfold not just the conflict in the story but everything else! It’s possible that’s a run-on sentence gone off the rails, but do you feel me? Because this little note is super important. Harper & Kieran’s story could have been written as an uphill battle, especially from Harper’s perspective, because of the baggage that Harper has been lugging around her entire life, but that’s not how it was written. It was written as a journey that sometimes was a little inclined, between a man and a woman who took the time to understand each other and respect the baggage they each carried from their pasts and worked together so they could both share in the carrying. Feel me? It is deeply emotional in all the organic, beautiful ways life is emotional, no more and no less, which made the entire journey relatable and realistic!

Okay, enough about that! Let’s talk about everything else!

Equal parts sexy, sweet and swoony, this story brought joy into my heart and soul!

The book is JOY.
The characters are JOY.
The storyline is JOY.
Every word is JOY.

When you read a story that lights you up inside, it can de difficult to convey that in a review because it’s just a feeling you get inside while you read and it’s very subjective but I just cannot imagine anyone not having a huge smile on their face while reading this story. It is a genuine life-positive story with ridiculous characters, secondary and main, that spark with the greatest energy! Banter and chemistry between everyone and an overall package full of heart!

This is my first #TopRead of 2023 and I hope it brings you as much enjoyment as it brought me!

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The Playing Game by Ainsley Booth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

You know what I love the most.. When I’ve been away from an author’s world and I come back and you’re reminded just why you loved it the first time around and what an idiot you are for not coming back sooner.

I’m gonna start this review with saying I loved Kieran and wish him to be real. His patience with Harper from the get-go was so sweet. Don’t get me wrong that man has a mouth on him, that will make you want to worship at his feel, but his sweetness was what made me love him.

Harper has a complicated past and when she was pushing him away, I secretly hope he’ll start looking elsewhere. But when she finally realized that she’s powerless to the pull he had on her, magic happened and I absolutely loved the relationship.

I’m so happy to be back in Ainsley Booth world and now I need to make sure to never leave again.

***Review copy requested and reviewed on behalf of OMGReads Blog***

View all my reviews


Ainsley Booth is a three-time USA Today bestselling author of erotic romance. Between her two pen names (she also writes contemporary romance as two-time New York Times bestseller Zoe York), she has published more than seventy books since 2013. Notable hits include Prime Minister and Hate F*@k.




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