Playing for Keeps by Julie Hammerle

Published: May 8, 2023
Entangled: August
Pages: 275
Genre: Romantic Comedy
KKECReads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I received a copy of this book for free, and I leave my review voluntarily.

Julie Hammerle (she/her) is a USA Today best-selling, RITA nominated author, who writes romantic comedies for adults and teens. Before settling down to write “for real,” she studied opera, taught Latin, and held her real estate license for one hot minute. She lives in Chicago with her husband and her two kids and a dog.

Bryce Barrett has disappeared off the face of the earth. Well, technically she’s just temporarily hiding out in a teeny Midwest town, away from her ruined marriage and professional demise…at least until she can figure out her next steps. But when she bumps into her ex—dressed in what could be only described as “dumpster chic”—she does the only reasonable thing a woman can do: panics and pretends the cute security guard on the scene is her new boyfriend.

Free-spirited nomad Jake Warner knew returning to his hometown was a bad idea. It’s bad enough that his family’s pressuring him to step into his dad’s hypercompetitive shoes and settle down, but when a complete stranger (cute, though possibly unbalanced) enlists him as her fake boyfriend, Jake knows he’s making some questionable choices…especially when he inexplicably goes along with it.

Now these two mismatched misfits are temporary allies against a town filled with happy, normal, and annoyingly stable people. Fake dating keeps everyone off their back while they plot their respective escapes. But nothing botches a plan more than unexpected chemistry…

“I’m totally ready.”

Jake has spent the last ten years traveling the country. He has climbed mountains, scuba-dived, and maintained a no-commitment life. When he needs dental surgery, he is forced to call his parents for help, and they make moving home part of the deal. Bryce abandoned her life after being passed over for a promotion she deserved. Now, she is divorced, jobless, and avoiding all responsibility. She just wants to eat ice cream and watch TV. Who knew that two scoops and a pair of beaver slippers could lead to romance?

This was such a sweet story. I devoured this book. I liked the pacing and the humor. There was just enough spice, but mostly I loved the relationship between Bryce and Jake.

The way they came together and were so open and honest was beautiful. How they helped each other heal and realize they deserved more was powerful.

I loved Bryce’s personality. She was not afraid to be a hot mess, and she wasn’t scared to be a brilliant lawyer. I liked Jake’s loyalty and how his journey unfolded.

This was such a charming read. The characters were all so fun, and the plot was swoon-worthy!

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