Played by Clare James – BECKY’S REVIEW

played review photo


Who doesn’t like a story about a sexy country crooner? And I was given an ARC


4 stars


Play. Or be played.

The music should be enough. End of story. But Aaron Major is finding out it’s not, and now his agent has hired a firm of suits to help launch his debut album, turning his life into a goddamn circus. Smile here. Play there. Be nice. Well, screw that. If Aaron wanted to spend his time shaking hands and kissing babies, he would’ve gone into politics.

Helping launch the career of country singer Aaron Major should be a cakewalk for PR pro Melody Sharp. Aaron is charming, sexy, and oh-so-appealing when he’s on stage. Off stage, though, he’s her worst nightmare. A stubborn, ornery, reclusive nightmare without a lick of business-or fashion-sense. The only way he’s going to make it in music is with a serious makeover-and quite possibly a personality transplant.

Soon, they’re engaged in a game of give and take, and though it’s Melody calling the shots, it’s Aaron who holds all control…


Played, the second book in Clare James’s Elite PR series, is a sweet little country love song of a book. The two central characters in this story, Melody Sharp and Aaron Major, are both working on making comebacks. Aaron needs to reboot his career as a country star and Melody needs to reboot hers in the competitive world of public relations. The heart of this story is really about two people who are looking to regain their identity and find something else along the way.

I really enjoyed reading Played. Even though it’s the second in the series, it can definitely be read as a standalone. One of my favorite things about this story were the characters of Aaron and Melody and the way they mirrored one another. They’re both on a road to redemption and both of their egos have been bruised. Melody does a bit of soul-searching because when she left her tiny hometown after being jilted by a boyfriend, she’s hell bent on proving her ex and everyone back home that she’s somebody. Along the way though, she loses herself and doesn’t really know what she truly wants. I loved seeing Melody finally realize who she is and what she wants and enjoyed seeing her go after it. Aaron is in a similar predicament. He crashed and burned as a young country star and after stepping away from the spotlight, he’s ready to return. He works just as hard as Melody for to regain his confidence and swagger. Clare James does an excellent job of giving her readers the opportunity to see her characters transform.

Reading Played was like a breath of fresh air. It’s a sweet little story but I still longed for a little bit of tension and angst. Clare James really lets the relationship between Aaron and Melody develop. She doesn’t rush it. But I missed those obstacles; I felt like Aaron and Melody needed some curves thrown at them. James provides a few minor hiccups, but nothing to truly rock the boat.

If you’re looking to take a break from those complicated alphas, then Played is the perfect story for you to one-click!

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