Playing for Keeps by Stephanie Morris
Publisher: Amira Press
Length: Short (125 pages)
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Snapdragon
Keirra Smith has never met a man more self-confident, overbearing and irritating and she wants him. Only she isn’t willing to admit that she does. Eric Brooks lives a lifestyle that she doesn’t want any part of but he wont take no for an answer. Knowing that she is fighting a losing battle she gives in. After all what better way to prove to him that they are incompatible than to give into everything that she wants . . . he wants.
‘Playing for Keeps’ is a daring romp into the realm where desire clashes with intellectual decisions. Keirra is frankly attracted to police officer Eric Brooks… but he’s a cop, and she doesn’t date cops. Her police officer father died in the line of duty and she doesn’t ever want to experience that sort of loss again.
Besides, attractive as he is, Eric is also a seriously annoying, pushy know-it-all. He knows what he likes though, and he likes Keirra. He’s persistent enough so she gives in – just enough to show him how incompatible they really are… and it all starts to lead in a familiar direction. And, along the way, we realize that Eric was pretty likable, really. Funny events (especially around meals) build a better grasp of who he is, and their relationship starts to seem more promising; until what she fears the most happens.
Although the plot moves things right along, at times Morris is a bit wordy. The start, especially, features a bit too much contemplation on the part of the main character Keirra, and the dialogue is stilted. Once past the first few pages however, the story builds and maintains reader interest very satisfactorily. Keirra’s emotions come across as especially heartfelt, so she becomes more easy to sympathize with. While her relationship with some secondary characters (her sister Kayla, Principal Feldon) make her seem childlike, her own strength of character comes to the fore when she is with Eric. She becomes a livelier and more quick-witted person. Their verbal sparring is some of the best reading in this novella. This contrasts sharply with occasional paragraphs of slow back-story, most in the form of reflection.
In spite of that, the plot keeps to the point, and events lead forward in a logical way. Although the slow moments occur throughout, this is overall an enjoyable read. Likable characters, frequently snappy dialogue, and fairly unpredictable happenings all would make me select another of Morris’ works, for sure.