Can I start by saying how much I genuinely love Kendall Ryan's work? All of the books I have read have been so outstanding. The Play Mate is the kind of novel that leaves you feel flushed and buzzed. Just a touch of this series and you're left glowing, breathless and maybe a little overwhelmed with emotions. In the case of The Play Mate, it contains all the things that make us love Kendall Ryan's novels: swoon-worthy alpha males and the bad ass women who love them, sizzling chemistry, classic banter exchanges and delicious backstories.
Best of all? The Play Mate primarily takes place in (
Admittedly, I definitely think this one may be the weak link in the Roommates series. Does that mean it is a bad novel? Hell, no. It's just as appealing as you'd expect--a tantalizing relationship between two fantastic characters who have been friends since they were children, smoking chemistry and a whole lot of wit spicing up the dialogue. As per usual, Kendall Ryan writes a total smoke show of a novel and keeps readers on the edge of their seat, anticipating the--ahem--big bang and hoping for a happily-ever-after for a set of characters who truly deserve it.
That being said, I did genuinely like the characters once I got used to them. I had a few moments where Evie felt a little less-than-likable to me. I had to keep reminding myself that at the start of the novel she is at that awkward age where you're no longer a teen but still quite young. So, there are a few parts I was side-eyeing her but she does grow throughout the course of The Play Mate and it was easy to see parts of me and my friends in her.
Plus, I loved the reasoning she had for approaching her older brother's best friend to begin with. (1) He is a total babe. (2) Her only sexual experience was a total dud. Sometimes us girls have to deal with unfulfilled sex-lives and baby-girl truly went out there, determined, to have a do-over. I kind of loved that about her.
Then there's Smith--okay, so. Hang on. I need a cold shower before I can fully comprehend my thoughts on him. My mind is spinning because I usually love the women in these books more than the men (because girl-power, duh) but damn. D-A-M-N. Let's just say that Smith is one of Kendall's best creations--right up there with Cooper Kingsley, who is the ULTIMATE if I'm being honest with you ladies and gentlemen.
I liked his internal struggle over his attraction to Evie. It built the tension perfectly and was just fun to explore and watch as their relationship developed and unfolded. Their scenes were more than just good sex (once they finally reached this point) and I felt their emotional connection with one another pretty quickly.
There's just this feeling you get around people who have known you for a very long time, once you start to explore a new turn in the bond you share. Evie and Smith really showcase that sometimes the people you are meant to be with have been right there all along.
I think that the only thing that I wasn't keen on in the novel was the manner in which their passion ignited to begin with--I.E. Evie sneaking into his hotel room in Paris and seducing him, without Smith knowing it was Evie. They have feelings for one another blooming then and a deep attraction for one another, but there's a part of me that was immensely uncomfortable with this plot and there's really no way of working around that.
While it didn't make me hate the novel, it did knock down my rating by one star. Sigh. Not everything is going to be for me. And it doesn't define their relationship. So, I feel obligated to mention it but to also add that the novel was still very entertaining and a definite must-read for fans of Kendall Ryan. I just can't tire of her work--she is truly the Queen of Romance.
If you're looking for a novel full of intense sexual tension, and encounters, connections and friends-to-lovers relationships, The Play Mate should be at the top of your list. Deeply satisfying and utterly captivating, this was a great addition to the Roommates series.