Well Played by Jen Deluca
Publication Date: September 22, 2020
Summary From NetGalley:
Stacey is jolted when her friends Simon and Emily get engaged. She knew she was putting her life on hold when she stayed in Willow Creek to care for her sick mother, but it’s been years now, and even though Stacey loves spending her summers pouring drinks and flirting with patrons at the local Renaissance Faire, she wants more out of life. Stacey vows to have her life figured out by the time her friends get hitched at Faire next summer. Maybe she’ll even find The One.
When Stacey imagined “The One,” it never occurred to her that her summertime Faire fling, Dex MacLean, might fit the bill. While Dex is easy on the eyes onstage with his band The Dueling Kilts, Stacey has never felt an emotional connection with him. So when she receives a tender email from the typically monosyllabic hunk, she’s not sure what to make of it.
Faire returns to Willow Creek, and Stacey comes face-to-face with the man with whom she’s exchanged hundreds of online messages over the past nine months. To Stacey’s shock, it isn’t Dex—she’s been falling in love with a man she barely knows.
ARC provided by Berkley Publishing Group via NetGalley for an honest review.
I was absolutely delighted to return to Willow Creek and spend more time at the Renaissance Fair. I really enjoyed the first book, Well Met, earlier this year so was excited to get my hands on the next book and see how all of the characters I had grown fond of were doing.
Like many other romance series, this one takes place in the same town and had the Renaissance Fair, but the story is about two other characters from the first book. Simon and Emily are very much a part of the story, which was wonderful, but it is no longer their story.
I related to Stacey immediately and her feelings of being stuck. I think many people have felt the same way at some point in their lives. She is comfortable with being stuck though and it does take quite a bit to get her to up and do something about it. Her first step was to start up an email and texting correspondence with ‘Dex’, and to realize that there might be more to life than her apartment and her cat. Her cat Benedict, was adorable and the perfect companion by the way, I just adored him. I really enjoyed the emails and texting between her and ‘Dex’, even though we know pretty quickly that it isn’t him. It was fun watching her figure it out.
I really liked the guy she ends up with as well. (Don’t want to say who, cause no spoilers) He was charming and kind and someone that Stacey really deserved. He also had a sense of humor and also felt stuck just like Stacey. He was a bit of a jerk for not revealing who he really is before she figured it out and confronted him. But I like to think that maybe he had planned some big romantic reveal, just cause he seemed like that kind of guy.
Like I mentioned before, the reader pretty much knows from the start that she isn’t corresponding with Dex, but there are some nice twists and surprises when the truth comes out, so it was okay that we knew. The pacing and writing is excellent and really made it an enticing read that was hard to put down.
If you enjoyed the first book, then you will definitely enjoy this one as well. I hope the author continues this series as I would love to see April and Mitch get together next, which was hinted at a bit in this book. But even if those two don’t get together I would love to see their stories.