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Book Blitz: Playing For Keeps by Emma Hart {Excerpt, Review+Giveaway}

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Hey guys! I'm so excited to be a part of Emma's book blitz! Today I have an excerpt, my review, AND a giveaway to share with you guys!

Playing For Keeps (The Game #2)
   by: Emma Hart

Publication Date: June 24, 2013
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Group: New Adult
Source: e-ARC received from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Page Count: 170 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N| Smashwords| Kobo| iBooks
My Rating: 5/5 stars

She's in love with him.
He's trying not to love her.
One night changes everything.

Aston Banks never meant to get close to Megan Harper – not even for that one night. Haunted by a childhood he refuses to face, he knew she could break through every wall he’d ever built and tear them down without even realizing she was doing it.

Betraying Braden by starting a relationship with Aston wasn’t on Megan’s to-do list, but the second she sees a glimpse of someone other than the arrogant ass she’s come to know, she can’t walk away.

Aston’s childhood is worse than Megan ever guessed, but as he tries and fails to push her away, it’s clear her love is stronger than the demons that cling to him every day. And now, because of it, he finally has to deal with what he’s buried deep down.

What he doesn’t want to face. What he’s fought against for so long.

And they have to do it all without Braden finding out.

Keeping a relationship secret has never been harder.

**This book can be read as a standalone novel, but reading The Love Game (The Game, #1) beforehand is advised.**


"You okay?”
I shake my head. “No. Every time. Every fucking time he brings her up. I thought he wouldn’t in front of you, but he did.”
“He has his own pain,” she says softly. “It doesn’t excuse it, but he does. He feels guilty for what happened to you – that he couldn’t stop it.”
My mind reels for a second and I look down at her. “He told you that?”
She nods, letting her hand drop from my back and standing in front of me. I stop.
“You’ve never let him tell you.” She reaches up and cups my face. “He hurts, too, Aston. You both hurt. It’s not something that will go away, but you can’t let it rule your lives. If you let pain rule you you’ll get lost in it.”
“What if I’m already lost?”
“You’re not lost. You’re hiding, but you’re not lost. I won’t let you get lost.”
I let my hands come up and rest on her back, pulling her into me. “What if there’s no map?”
“Then I’ll get lost with you,” she whispers. “I won’t let you let them win, Aston. I won’t let you get sucked in by those demons. I won’t let that happen. I care too much.”
And she does. I can hear it in her voice.
She wraps her arms around my neck, and I hold her to me tighter, our foreheads resting against each other.
“I’ll try, Megs,” I promise. “I can’t say I won’t, but as long as you’re here, I think I’ll be okay.”
“And you’ll talk to your Gramps? Just once?”
“I’ll think about it. How about we just focus on stopping me from getting lost for a bit?”
“You just need a place to aim for, that’s all. You need a place to go to.”
“Go on then.” I smile. “Give me a place.”
“Okay.” She pauses for a second, closing her eyes and chewing her lip.
“I’m waiting…” I tease her.
Her blue eyes open, shocking me with their vitality. “Aim for the moon, because even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
“I don’t need to aim for the sky. The only star I’ll ever need is standing right in front of me.” I brush my lips over hers. “Maybe the place I need to aim for is nowhere other than where I am right now.”
“Maybe I’d go with you wherever you ended up.”
“Maybe I’d never ask that of you.”
“Maybe you wouldn’t need to ask. Maybe you’ll never need to ask me for anything, because I’ll always be here.”
My Review:
As I said in my The Love Game review (here), I absolutely love Emma's books. This is the second installment of the Game series and this time Aston and Megan are our main characters and we get their alternating POV's. We were introduced to both of them in The Love Game, but here we get to know them on a much deeper level. Aston is introduced to us as even bigger player than Braden! He is known for the string of girls he takes to his room for sex and for just an overall womanizer.
Megan, however, we know is Braden's best friend. They grew up together and to say that he is protective of her is a serious understatement. He sees her as a little sister and clearly warns his fraternity brothers that she is off limits. She is driven and cares about her school work and also is not one of those girls that sleeps around. It becomes quite clear right away who Megan is interested in.
I loved Aston and Megan's relationship. What started off as one steamy night has become anything but. Aston isn't the arrogant, jerk that everyone has come to known. He definitely has demons from his past that still haunt him to this day. He has feelings for Megan, but is afraid to show her how he really feels because he knows once he opens up to her he won't be able to hide from her. Bit by bit Megan breaks down his walls and shows him that she wants to be there for him to fight the demons together. She is tough as nails too. Even when he tries to push her away, she stands strong and won't let him take the easy way out.
"I thought he was a "get what you see and see what you get" kinda guy. Now I think I was wrong. Now I think-no, I know- there's a side to him he's never shown anyone, that he keeps buried deep inside." (pg. 46, ARC copy)
I think the biggest thing I loved was the fact that their relationship was technically kept secret. The sneaking around, pretending to be normal around each other was completely hot. Their banter back and forth in front of their friends is hilarious. He's always egging her on and teasing her and she's constantly playing it off that he's the most immature guy to ever grace her presence. However, how long can they keep their friends from finding out the truth?
As I said, Aston has some pretty serious demons from his childhood that still haunt him. When he finally opens up to Megan and tells his story your heart just feels for him. Not to mention, Emma does a great job of giving us flashbacks so that we can really see how deep Aston's pain really goes.
He is a lot more complex than he lets on and underneath the cocky, arrogant exterior we see a man who has little to no self-worth and tries to bury the pain in meaningless sex. 
The crew is back once again, but the focus is really on Megan and Aston's story. We do see more of Braden and Megan's friendship and I love that she has someone who is so protective of her. And
"I want someone to love Megan as much as I love you. Hell, I want someone to love Megan as much as I do, and if that means I have to fight off every guy that comes calling for her until he comes along, then I will." (pg. 43, ARC copy)
We are introduced to Aston's grandfather, who we find out raised him, and watching the two interact is fun. Gramps is a bit crotchety, but loves the time he gets to spend with his grandson. They don't always see to eye on certain things and both of them can be quite stubborn.  
 Overall, I felt this story dealt with some heavier themes than The Love Game did, but it is an absolutely beautiful book about two people finding their way to each other, falling in love, and learning to place their trust where it counts the most: in one another.
"I'm thinking that she's sliding between the cracks of me, gripping hold of the mismatched pieces and tearing them apart. She's studying them, getting to know them, to know me, and then she's carefully lining them all back up and holding them together.
What she'll never know, is that she's the glue that holds it together.
She's the glue that holds me together." (pg. 95, ARC copy)

Link to Chapter One of Playing for Keeps on Emma's website:



Amazon US


About Emma:

By day, New York Times and USA Today bestselling New Adult author Emma Hart dons a cape and calls herself Super Mum to a terrible two year old and growing bump, due September 2013. By night, she drops the cape, pours a glass of juice and writes books.

Emma is working on Top Secret projects she will share with her followers and fans at every available opportunity. Naturally, all Top Secret projects involve a dashingly hot guy who likes to forget to wear a shirt, a sprinkling (or several) of hold-onto-your-panties hot scenes, and a whole lotta love.

She likes to be busy - unless busy involves doing the dishes, but that seems to be when all the ideas come to life.

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  1. OK, both books added to by wishlist, you are not helping me Jessica!

    1. Haha! Woooo! I loved them both. Such fun reads.

  2. I bought these books this week thanks to your powerful persuasion :-) I loaned the first one to my sister and told her you said it was good. She likes it! I will have to read when I get it back. :-)

    1. Eeep! I'm nervous now! I hope she ends up liking it!!!


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