Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Playing For Keeps by R.L. Mathewson

** 3.5 out of 5 Stars **


Done with being the world’s biggest pushover, Haley decides that things are going to change starting with the aggravating neighbor who has too much charm and not enough restraint.  What she didn’t expect was to be sucked into his world, but Haley has a game plan and she won’t let herself forget just what the bad boy next door is capable of.
The last thing Jason expected was for his little shy neighbor to go Rambo on him over some ruined flowers.  After he decides to take her under his wing he can’t help but notice that she fits very nicely in his life.  Now the only thing left is to convince her that this is anything but a game.

This is a pretty good book.  It was easy to follow; I liked the characters well enough even though Haley could get on my nerves at times.  The plot was easy to follow and kept me interested.  This wasn’t a book that I couldn’t put down but I still enjoyed it.  Haley could get a little whiney and she made me want to pull my hair out at times.  Jason was entertaining and persistent.  He was made out to be a bad boy but I just didn’t see him that way.

Haley is a teacher.  She’s timid, quiet, and a push over.  She has avoided confrontation all her life but she finally gets pushed too far.  She’s short with long reddish brown hair and green eyes.  In a word, she’s adorable.  She’s in love with Derek Jeter.  She’s also very stubborn.

Jason works at the same school.  He is a teacher with a classroom across the hall.  He’s the world’s worst neighbor.  He’s laid back and a nice guy.  He’s always paid for the damage he’s caused to her house or property.  He’s a womanizer but completely against commitment.  He’s never even had a woman in his house.   He’s very protective of her even before he knows her and he’s not sure why.

After 5 years of living next door to the world’s worst neighbor, Haley has had enough.  He’s ripping up her tulips and she makes a split second decision and gets after him with the water hose.  This create some sort of tulip battle where they are both yanking tulips, crawling over and under each other, and water…quite the scene.  She somehow ends up under him and he’s getting turned on.  They disturb a yellow jacket nest and end up running from them into her house.  After 6 hours of hiding in a house running away from bees a friendship begins to form.

He’s very protective of her.  He doesn’t like the idea of guys hitting on her so he starts running them off.  Weeks pass and they start getting to know each other, becoming like best friends.  He’s sort of taken her under his wing.  He wants to open her up to the world, teach her to stand up for herself.  It’s working. She has figured out that she can bribe him to do just about anything if she bakes him cakes and cookies. 
The attraction between them begins to grow.  He’s into her but refuses to admit it.  Things begin to change after the night in the hotel.  He ends up sleeping in the same bed with her and they end up cuddling all night.  The following nights after neither can sleep alone.  They have wrecked sleep for each other.  So what are they to do?  Well Jason will just have to climb into her window and tell her to move her butt over so they can both get some sleep.

“Look woman, I don’t know what you did, but I haven’t been able to sleep since we got back from New York. I’m tired  and all I want is some sleep so cuddle your *** up with me or so help me I will kill you,”

It was supposed to be a one night thing but it turns into night after night.  They can’t sleep without the other one.  He begins to realize that Haley is becoming his world.  He’s completely fine with it and seeing as how he doesn’t do the girlfriend thing, he’s running scared. 

Haley’s family is a piece of work.  They pretty much don’t know she exists aside from berating and degrading her.  Jason isn’t happy when he sees what they do to her.  They pretend he isn’t even there and start talking about setting her up with her ex who is in the restaurant. 

He’s getting grumpy and irrated.  He still hasn’t put two and two together.  He keeps referring to her as his and he wants to kill every guy who looks at her.  He’s constantly touching her.  They are officially in a relationship without the actual relationship.  They are out with their buddies but separately when they end up at the same bar.  He walks into the bar to witness Haley beating the crap out of some guy.  When the guy knocks her to the floor, Jason sees red and punches the guy in the face.  She’s not done with the guy yet so Jason has to throw her over his shoulder and leave the bar. 

They are in bed later that night and she kisses him.  He starts to tell her the sleeping arrangements are over but then she kisses him again and he fights it and doesn’t kiss her back.  He thinks he’s not good enough and can’t give her what she needs.  She jumps out of bed with him calling her name and runs home.  He still gets in her house even though she locked him out and he tries to explain why.  Only the talking turns into something else.  

They decide to give an actual relationship a go.  They move from best friend status to boyfriend/girlfriend status.  She want have sex with him because she is waiting for her future husband.  She still thinks he’s gonna get bored and leave her.  She has no idea that he has no intentions of ever leaving her.  He finally realizes that this girl is his life and he’s in love with her.

Things are going great until her friends try to convince him she’s using him.  Yeah those are some great friends she has there.  They tell her she isn’t sleeping with him because she’s not in love with him.  He’s out to prove a point…that she does actually love him.  He makes a huge mistake and it ends up breaking them up.  

She’s taking a trip for a week to get over him only he’s not having it so he stows himself away and goes with her.  She tells him over and over they are done and he tells her they aren’t.  He stays at the cottage but it’s not going to be easy.  He’s got to convince her to let him stay and remind her how good they are together.  She intends to leave so he hides her keys, money, wallet and cell phone.  He’s bound and determined to fix it.  He tries everything he can until she tries to set him up on a date with the waitress.  He’s done after that, he’s going home.

They get into a huge fight in her front yard where he tells her exactly how he feels about her.  She refuses to believe him because she’s scared and a coward.  She’s not willing to take a chance that he really does want her forever.  This is when she realizes that she’s made a mistake and that they really are supposed to be together.  But unfortunately for her, he’s had enough.  

Taking matter into her own hands she starts using his methods to get him to talk to her.  When that doesn’t work she cuffs him to a chair.  He will have to listen to her now.  They get into it and he demands her to marry him that weekend.  She’s already told him she would. 

10 years later…

They have 3 kids who eat as much as Jason does and are still completely in love.  The only unhappy thing is the fact that her snobby family disowned Haley after she married Jason.

I’m giving this book 3.5 stars.  I don’t really know why it wasn’t a 5 star read for me.  It was good but it just didn’t hold my interest to the point of not being able to put it down.  I recommend if you’re looking for an easy read.

 My Jason/Haley

Favorite quotes…

“I’m sorry I don’t speak mumble,”

"You didn't wake me up." 
"I did wake you up. Three times in fact. Each time you threw something at me and went back to sleep."
"And you gave up? You know our routine, woman. You have to keep at it until I'm forced to get off the bed to find something to throw at you."


 1.  Playing For Keeps
 2.  Perfection
 3.  Checkmate