Review: The Play Mate by Kendall Ryan

the play mateTitle: The Play Mate

Author: Kendall Ryan

Year of publication: 2017

The heroine: Social media expert Evie (Everleigh) Reed

The hero: Businessman Smith Hamilton

The blurb: Smith Hamilton has it all—he’s smart, good-looking and loaded. But he remembers a time when he had nothing and no one, so he’s not about to mess up, especially with his best friend’s little sister. That means keeping Evie at arm’s length … even though the once pesky little girl is now a buxom bombshell. A sexy blonde who pushes his self-control to the limit the night she crawls into bed with him.

Evie Reed knows she’s blessed—with an exclusive education, a family who loves her, and a new job managing social media for her family’s lingerie company. But she wants more, like a reason to wear the sexy lingerie herself. She has just the man in mind to help with that. She’s crushed on Smith forever. Surely tricking her way into his bed will force him to see her in a new, adult way.

Except that when Evie’s plan leads to disaster, she and Smith must decide—ignore the attraction sizzling between them, or become play mates and risk it all.

Standalone or series: This is book two in the Roommates series, but they’re all separate stories with no interconnecting characters, so this can be read as a standalone.

The review: This is my favourite of the series so far. Smith has known Evie for years; he’s been best friends with her brother, Cullen, since they were kids. Evie’s all grown up now and Smith’s noticed; but since she’s his best friend’s little sister, he would never dream of making a move.

Until one night in Paris, where the three of them have met up, when Evie slips into his hotel room and seduces him. He doesn’t realise until almost past the point of no return that it’s her, and although he stops anything further from happening, he regrets it. But once they all head home to Chicago, he won’t really have to see her, right?

Wrong, because Smith decides to invest in Cullen and Evie’s family lingerie business as they need a cashflow injection to keep it afloat, and Evie’s agreed to take over the social media role for the company. Which means that they’ll be seeing each other every day, because Smith has agreed to spend six months helping Cullen get the business back on track. And being around each other means that neither of them can resist the magnetic attraction between them.

What I’ve noticed with the first three books in this series is that there are age differences between the couples; in the first book, Paige is four years older than Cannon; in this one, Smith is seven years old than Evie; and in the third book, Max is ten years older than Addison. Age differences don’t bother me a whole lot, because younger people can be mature and older people can be the opposite, and what I like about Kendall’s books is that it’s not made out to be a very big deal.

I loved Smith. He comes from a potentially damaging background; his single mother dumped him when he was four and he was adopted by the Hamiltons at six. What’s nice is that he was raised in a perfectly normal, loving family; they never made him feel any different. He’s close to one of his siblings, Pam, and adores her three children. While he does wonder about his biological parents, he’s not so desperate to find them that it consumes him, because he loves the parents who raised him and he doesn’t want to hurt them.

But he does know he wants a family of his own, and he realises he wants that with Evie. So he tells Cullen how he feels; Cullen does the anticipated sulk for a little while, but eventually gives in when he sees how much Smith and Evie mean to each other. I also love the little epilogues we get, when they’re together and happy. Loved this book!




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