Leveling the Field by Megan Erickson
Book Four of the Gamers series
Publisher: Entangled Brazen
Publication Date: May 2, 2016
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley
***Warning: this is an adult book, and for the eyes of mature readers***
Summary (from Goodreads):
Reclusive magazine exec Ethan Talley is furious when his business partner hires a photographer—a gorgeous photographer who insists on speaking her mind, damn it—to take pictures for an upcoming article. No matter how badly he wants the woman…under him, over him, against the nearest wall…he has reasons for not wanting to be on camera anymore, and his scars are only one of them.
It takes approximately two seconds for Lissa Kingsman to recognize Ethan as the popular YouTube gamer who fell off the planet years ago. But this Ethan is different than the charming man she used to watch, and the crush she had on him then is nothing compared to the way she’s lusting after the brooding man he is today. If sex is all he can give her, fine. Why not use that bearskin rug in her studio for something other than a prop? But she’s determined to put a chink in his armor, no matter how much he resists.
What I Liked:
This is only my second read of the Gamers series, but I am no stranger to Megan Erickson (literally and metaphorically!). I think my favorite book by her was book two of this series, Playing For Her Heart! But I think this book would probably come in a close second. I loved Lissa and Ethan!
Ethan is a magazine executive (he works with Grant) who has physical and emotional scars that he does not want to talk about. Former YouTube sensation E-Rad is not going to be on camera anytime soon. Ethan seems cold, but really, he's a little broken. Photographer Lissa Kingsman wants Ethan to join her project celebrating people with scars, physical and emotional. But Ethan refuses to be photographed - by her, or anyone else. Gone are his days on camera. But why? The tension builds between Ethan and Lissa, and maybe he won't help her with her project, but the pair do not let the intense chemistry between them go unnoticed.
Oh Ethan! We're introduced to him in previous books (remember, I've only read book two and now this one), and he appears to be a little cold. It's still true in this book, at least on the surface. Ethan is closed off to everyone, including his sister Chloe. He's rich, successful, handsome, and totally lonely. But a death in his past explains everything. Ethan is every inch an alpha male, but not necessarily an in-your-face charmingly arrogant one. He's complicated and a little broken and everyone is worried about him.
Lissa, on the other hand, is positive and yet so real. She has a dirty mouth and she isn't afraid to speak her mind or get loud. Lissa is intelligent and kind, but also very direct, and a very strong woman. I liked Lissa a lot! She's definitely a good fit for Ethan.
I definitely consider this more of "Ethan's book" than "Ethan and Lissa's" because Ethan's emotional journey is so much more important than Lissa's (in my opinion). But I like that both characters have had difficult pasts that are similar, and both characters have to work through guilty and denial.
These two are FIRE! Such great chemistry, and the build-up is fairly short but thorough. In classic Erickson fashion, there were soooo many steamy scenes and each one was different. You can always expect a high heat level from Erickson!
Final thing I'd like to mention - you can probably tell from the cover, but we have an interracial couple! Hats off to diversity.
All in all, this book was fantastic, and I really enjoyed it. I know I need to read the other two books in the series that I skipped, but I am really content with books two and four that I have read!
What I Did Not Like:
Hmmm, I want more, possibly. This book was short! I mean, Erickson wrote the story beautifully and I didn't think anything was rushed or under-written. But I always want more when it comes to her steamy romances!
Would I Recommend It:
I highly recommend this book, if you like adult romance novels, Brazen books, and/or Megan Erickson's books! It's not one of Erickson's to skip. I am so happy to see Ethan get a HEA!
4 stars. Such a good series! I really liked Grant but I think Ethan might be my favorite of the two male protagonists. Lissa is definitely my favorite (between her and Chloe)! I can't wait to read more books from Erickson in the future.
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