Title: Play With Me
Series: Grover Beach Team #1
Author: Piper Shelly
Date Published: Dec 2012
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Ryan Hunter's parties are legend.
And tonight she's going to be there.
Liza Matthews anticipates the return of her best friend and only love since kindergarten from soccer camp. But when Tony finally shows up, his mind is more focused on another girl. And worse, she's a soccer player. Fighting for the attention Liza craves, she's just a hairbreadth away from making a very stupid decision. But when extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, she's prepared to play ball to get her man.
The tryouts are hell, the first match ends bloody, and the morning after the selection party she wakes up in the worst place possible—in the arms of the captain of the soccer team. The hottest guy in school. Ryan Hunter.
Ryan rolled up the sleeves of his white shirt, then took my hand, and pulled me toward the bumping mass. “C’mon, let’s dance.”
Heck, I wasn’t a dancer. Protest was useless, because he wouldn’t hear me shout in this club unless I plastered myself against him and yelled in his ear. I followed. He didn’t stop until we stood in the middle of the dancing crowd.
My hand was captured in his, maybe because he knew I would have fled otherwise. Ryan moved closer, his free hand planted in the small of my back. “Loosen up, Matthews. You’re supposed to have fun.” He pressed his lips to my ear to speak. “Or at least look like you do.”
He gave me a soft push and made me twirl under his arm. Ryan did things so nonchalantly. The lightness of his demeanor, his unconcern, rubbed off on me at this moment. I laughed as he caught me again in an easy hug and swayed with me to the music. The dry smoke troubled my breathing a little, but this close to Ryan, all I smelled was him. And he smelled fantastic. Just like the other morning when I woke up next to him.
I didn’t know what brought him to my house tonight. Could be he just felt pity for me for what had happened with Tony, and as the captain of our team he made it his duty to cheer me up. Or he simply liked me. Whichever, I was thankful he didn’t give up when I told him no in the text message. Because he was a wonderful lift for my mood. He made me forget. He made me smile.
And right now he made me a little nervous.
I felt this tingle in my stomach every time I was close to him. Especially as he twirled me around and caught my back against his chest. His hand splayed on my belly, he pushed me against him, performing a body wave with me.
I laughed out loud, maybe to cover my shyness. “What are you doing?” I shouted over my shoulder and found his face very close to mine.
“Distracting you.” He rolled again, and I felt each of his hard muscles grinding against my back. “Does it work?”
Unbelievably so. I didn’t reply but let Ryan move me. With all the dancing, my tee got a mess, and the hem traveled a few inches up. Half of Ryan’s hand lay on my naked stomach. It sent a shiver down my spine. One of the good ones.
As the song ended, he released me and shouted next to my ear, “Phil has just come in. Let’s say hello.”
I smoothed my clothes out on the way to the oblong bar. The music wasn’t as loud back there. Leaning over the metal top, Ryan introduced me to a man with shoulder length hair and black muscle shirt. He looked mid-thirty, maybe a bit younger. Phil set two cans of Coke in front of us.
After the hot dance with Ryan, this was more than welcome.
Perched on a bar stool, I listened while the two talked about Ryan’s last year in High School and the new soccer team. Phil asked me if I liked it.
I lied. “Yeah, it’s great. Love the training.”
The slanted look from Ryan promised he didn’t buy one word of it.
“What?” I mouthed at him with a half smile.
He leaned in closer and brushed my hair behind my ear. “I still have the text where you say you’re done with soccer, Liza.”
The taunt in his voice as he said my name prickled my skin. I leaned back an inch so I could gaze at his face. “Did you really not know my name before I sent you that message?”
He laughed and shrugged one shoulder. “Why, Matthews? You were devoted to Mitchell. What would I care?”
From the way he averted his eyes for a second, and the sly grin that remained on his lips, I wasn’t sure if I should believe him.
“You’re such an ass, you know.” I shoved his shoulder, grinning at him.
The roguish gleam in his eyes captured me. “I’ve been told girls go for that.” He winked then drank from his Coke, but his gaze held mine all that time.
Heat rushed to my cheeks, because, hands down, he was right. It was all too easy to fall for him. Not only because he looked illegally good in a white shirt, or because of his amazing smell. It was the attention he gave me that made me feel good around him. Special. Desired, even.
And for the weirdest moment, I wanted him to desire me.
Letting my gaze slide to a few kids who’d started singing karaoke on a small stage across the room, I hoped I could flush that idea with a long drink from my soda, deeming it a side effect of the pain Tony caused me today. I wanted to stay faithful to my love for him, even if he made it clear that he’d rather kiss the Barbie Clone than me. But with Hunter standing between my legs, his hand placed casually just above my right knee, it was no use denying the attraction. His charm had worked on me for days now, and it was different to anything I had experienced so far. Fresh, exciting, dangerous. Nothing compared to good old safe Tony.
I wouldn’t want them to switch places right now. And that was the scariest thought of all.
A tall, dark-haired beauty came up behind Ryan and dragged me out of my musing. She wrapped one arm around his neck and kissed him on the cheek. “Hi, little brother.”
“Hey, Rach.” He let her come around and introduced us.
As he called me Matthews and the friend of a friend, my heart sank. I reached out to shake Rachel’s hand. “My name is Liza.”
“Don’t mind him. The oaf was never comfortable with first names.” The tall girl laughed and shoved her brother playfully. “I’m lucky—I’m his sister.”
“That doesn’t mean a thing, Carter,” he teased her and popped another soda then clinked cans with Philip.
“So, the friend of a friend, huh?” Rachel’s tone was light but curious. “Where is that friend?”
“Not here.” Ryan grinned at her. It was hard to miss the certain glint of mischief in his eyes. The glint that didn’t fail to make me nervous again as his gaze met mine.
Rachel sighed with a roll of her eyes. “Just when will you grow up and settle for one?”
“He’s young, baby.” Phil leaned over the counter to kiss his wife. “He has time.”
“I know.” She pulled away and snorted as she cast her brother a grin. “I’m just waiting for the day that a girl sees through you…and decides to like you anyway.”
Ryan laughed. “Yep, me too.”
After hiding from his mom in his parents’ beach house yesterday, it was odd to see him banter with his family like that. Free, uncomplicated. Funny.
“That calls for a drink.” Philip fetched two small glasses from behind the bar, placed one in front of himself and the other in front of Ryan, and started filling them with Tequila.
“You can have your drink with Rach. I’ll skip tonight.” Ryan shoved the glass toward his sister, his lips suddenly getting a little too tight.
“You pass? With that beautiful drinking partner?” Philip’s beam my way confused me. I didn’t intend to drink a teeny tiny drop of that shit, but he hadn’t given me a glass anyway, so what did he mean?
“I’m not having this drink with her.”
Okay, now Ryan’s implications hurt. He would drink with other girls, but not with me?
“Why? Is she shy?” Phil demanded.
“She’s too nice.”
“Ah, she’s a prude then.”
What bullcrap was that? “I’m not a prude! And I’m standing right beside you, so I would appreciate it if you told me what the hell you’re talking about.”
Ryan turned a sheepish grin on me. He brushed his knuckle across my cheek. “She’s decent,” he told Phil.
“Yeah, and decent is a shit word for prude,” I muttered. “So why don’t you want to do with me whatever you are used to doing with others when you come here?” Somehow I felt that my hurt pride would land me in trouble. Still, I couldn’t let them get away with calling me a prude. After all I slipped out of my room twice for this guy while being grounded. And currently I sat on a barstool in a club that opened its doors only for people age twenty-one and over.
“You don’t know what you’re asking for, Matthews.”
“Well, it won’t kill me to find out, right?” God, I should bite off my tongue.
“Okay,” Ryan drawled. “Remember, I gave you fair warning.”
Lips pressed together, I gave Hunter a determined stare, but with his last words he had me practically wetting my pants.
Philip seemed pleased with the situation as he filled the two glasses; Ryan’s only half full on his sister’s demand. He placed one half of a lime-slice on either glass.
Ryan grinned at me. “You still game?”
“I don’t have to drink this, do I?” Shit. My voice almost cracked with my rising unease.
“No, you don’t. That’s for me. You only assist with the lime.”
Assist with the lime…meant to do what? Feed it to him? Okay. I could do that. “Game on.”
Ryan cast me a smirk that made me wonder if I was in the right place at the right time. But it was too late to cop out. He took the lime off the Tequila and clinked his glass to Philip’s. At the same time he held the slice out to me. “Bite.”
“Bite,” he repeated.
He dragged the brim of his cap around to the back of his head then knocked the shot down. I leaned forward and bit into the fruit he held out, my eyes trained on his face. Yuck, the sour taste made me grimace. I pulled back. Ryan tossed the slice away and cupped my neck, yanking me toward him. Everything happened so fast, I couldn’t even lick the lime juice from my lips.
But he did. And my heart stopped beating.
One thing is for sure: this short novel is a breather.
After all those gut-wrenching, emotionally-wreaking novels - it's good to read something light, short and just awfully sweet novel.
Found Play With Me at Goodreads just in time that I needed something light to read.
The story is narrated by Liza, a girl who has been forever in love with her best friend, Tony. She's been waiting for him to come back from summer camp whole summer, and then maybe, just maybe, they can move on from being just friends to something more. After all, they have known each other for more than a life time.
But things seem to change. Tony changed and she wasn't happy. Especially when Barbie started hanging around him. It didn't even help when Ryan Hunter, the soccer team captain starts to notice her. He just invited her to be at his party - a party that every one wants to be in!
He also didn't end with just the party, he even offered to train her for soccer. Despite the fact that she was grounded, Hunter found ways to get her up from bed and start her training. Which made Liza confuse - how can she feel something weird with Hunter, especially being close to him and not with Tony? She has been in love with her best friend, right? Why can't she have those butterflies fluttering all over her stomach with Tony?
And then Tony confessed something he had been keeping from her...
I would stop at that because any more words coming from my keyboard would be a spoiler. I'm just glad I came across this book, and even happier when I came across the epilogue found in the author's site. It's an additional icing on the cake- really sweet.
Funny how we think we were so in love with a certain person - only to find out that we were meant to be with another one.:)
Title: Ryan Hunter
Series: Grover Beach Team #2
Author: Piper Shelly
Date Published: April 2013
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Ryan Hunter kissed more girls than he cares to remember. But the only one he ever wanted is in love with his best friend.
Watching Liza Matthews’ obsession with Tony Mitchell is a torture Ryan conceals from everyone. Until after a five-week soccer camp, where Tony gets involved with someone else, things suddenly take a different turn. Ryan knows if he doesn’t make a move now and grab his chance, he might never get another.
Asked by Tony to distract Liza, Ryan is only too happy. He subtly seduces her first into his soccer team and later on to his party. He does all in his power to make her see that he’s not just an insufferable playboy but a guy who really cares about her. Some one-on-one soccer training, a passionate kiss— things seem to be going the way he wants. Except Ryan didn’t reckon on his best friend showing up at the worst possible moment and destroying everything…
As the stomping beat grew louder the farther we walked down the windowless aisle that was dimly lit by neon bars, Liza pulled on my arm and stopped me. “I don’t think I should be here,” she whined. “On second thought, you shouldn’t be here either.”
“You worry too much.” I pulled her on, giving her no chance to back out. “I’m here almost every weekend. Everyone knows me. And no one will bother us.”
I pushed the thick metal door in front of us open. A cloud of dry smoke and sweat immediately stabbed us in the face. The strobe light made focusing impossible, but I knew my way around here and maneuvered us through the bumping and grinding crowd of clubbers. “C’mon, let’s dance.”
The word dance shifted down a gear in Liza’s pace, but I came here for a reason, and feeling her body close to mine was definitely one of the most important. Holding her hand tight, I dragged her along onto the middle of the dance floor, then I turned her around and pressed her against me. Her skin and hair were the only things smelling good in this place, and I dragged in a deep breath when I lowered my head to hers. “Loosen up, Matthews. You’re supposed to have fun.” Giving her a soft push, I twirled her under my arm, then caught her again, and pressed my lips to her ear. “Or at least look like you do.”
Liza laughed, but I could also feel her shivering slightly every time I hugged her tight against my chest. Mmm, it was just the way I wanted her to react to me. Spinning her around, I caught her with her back to my front, running my palm from just underneath her breasts down over her stomach until my hand lay splayed over the small strip of naked skin on her belly. With gentle moves, I made her roll her body with mine to the music.
“What are you doing?” she shouted over her shoulder between hiccups of shy laughter.
Nuzzling her temple, I said in her ear, “Distracting you.” I moved her again and loved how her body rubbed against mine, making me go wild for her.
It was probably a good thing that Phil came in at that minute and motioned for me to come over as our gazes caught across the room, because otherwise I might just have dragged Liza back out into my car to fucking make out with her for the rest of the night.
Liza smoothed her clothes, that had turned into a mess from my holding her, as we headed over to the oblong bar where Phil served some drinks to a couple of patrons. When they left, he grabbed two cans of Coke from the fridge and placed them in front of Liza and me. Since there were no speakers above the bar, we could talk in an almost normal volume back here.
“Phil—Liza,” I introduced them. “Liza, this is Phil, my older sister’s husband.”
Liza shook hands with him then guzzled down what seemed to be three quarters of the Coke on one go. I helped her onto one of the high, leather bar stools and took a casual stance between her legs, turned to face the bar.
Phil knew that whoever I brought with me to this club wasn’t my girlfriend, so he asked, “You know each other from school?”
“Sort of. We play soccer together now,” I told him. “New co-ed team.”
“Really? That’s cool.” He turned an interested face to Liza and pulled his shoulder length hair into a pony tail. “Do you like it?”
“Yeah, it’s great. Love the training.”
What did she just say? Slowly to make an impact, I turned toward her, raising one brow.
“What?” she mouthed, returning my look with an irritated one of her own.
Our gazes locked for the length of a heartbeat, then I tucked her soft strands behind her ear and leaned closer. “I still have the text where you say you’re done with soccer, Liza.”
I realized how she swallowed at my taunt. But then she leaned back just a little and looked me sternly in the eye. “Did you really not know my name before I sent you that message?”
Ah, girl, if only you knew. But I wouldn’t tell her. Not now, anyway. With a laugh, I shrugged it off. “Why, Matthews? You were devoted to Mitchell. What would I care?”
That earned me a hard shove against my shoulder, but she grinned, anyway. “You’re such an ass, you know.”
I was abruptly pulled out of that moment when a girl looped her arm around my neck and pressed a kiss to my cheek. For the time of a heartbeat I froze, scared this was one of my acquaintances coming over to say hello at the utterly wrong moment. Then I looked into familiar brown eyes.
“Hi, little brother,” Rachel said and shoved her long black hair back over her shoulder.
“Hey,” I said back and relaxed. I knew she was burning to hear who the girl by my side was, so I waited until she came around, then I told her, “This is the friend of a friend. Her name is Matthews, and she’s on my soccer team. Well was…is…I don’t know.”
The girls shook hands, and Liza said after a short scowl at me, “My name is Liza.”
“Don’t mind him. The oaf was never comfortable with first names.” Rach sold me out. “I’m lucky—I’m his sister.”
Yeah, right. “That doesn’t mean a thing, Carter.” I pulled her hair like I used to do when I wanted to annoy her as a child and laughed. Then I popped another soda and clinked cans with my brother in law.
“So, the friend of a friend, huh?” I heard Rachel say to Liza, and she sounded way to curious. “Where is that friend?”
“Not here,” I told her with an evil grin, letting her know that for tonight, Liza was my friend. Liza seemed to enjoy that fact just the same as she met my gaze.
The only one who didn’t look happy was Rachel. “Just when will you grow up and settle for one?”
Luckily, Phil backed me up as he leaned over the bar and kissed my sister. “He’s young, baby. He has time.”
“I know.” Rachel gave me a wry look. “I’m just waiting for the day that a girl sees through you…and decides to like you anyway.”
“Yep, me, too.” I really was. And hopefully, Liza would just be the one.
“That calls for a drink!” Philip announced all of a sudden, and I could have murdered him for that.
But instead, I froze, and a weird shower skittered down the back of my neck. What the hell—he couldn’t be serious. This wasn’t me bringing a random girl to the club to have some meaningless fun, goddammit. It was Liza. And I would do many things with her right now, but I wouldn’t ruin our first kiss with a stupid game.
Phil place two small glasses on the counter and shoved one toward me. Immediately, I passed it on to my sister, not intending to play along. “You can have your drink with Rach. I’ll skip tonight.”
“This game is stupid,” Rach pointed out with a disgusted grunt.
But Philip ignored her and made a wry face at me. “You pass? With that beautiful drinking partner?”
She was beautiful, but that was not the point. “I’m not having this drink with her.”
“Why? Is she shy?”
Maybe she was, but who gave a damn? Above all, Liza was special. And Phil needed to understand that. “She’s too nice,” I said, determined to put an end to this. At the same time, I noticed Liza’s attention focused on me, and it was anything but pleasant.
“Ah, she’s a prude then,” Phil concluded wrongly.
That seriously pissed Liza off. “I’m not a prude! And I’m standing right beside you, so I would appreciate it if you told me what the hell you two are talking about.”
Trying to soothe and reassure her, I stroked her cheek with my knuckles. “She’s decent,” I corrected Phil.
“Yeah, and decent is a shit word for prude,” Liza muttered, dropping her gaze, but then she looked back at me and scowled again. Or maybe it wasn’t a scowl after all? “Why don’t you want to do with me whatever you’re used to doing with others when you come here?”
Oh, girl, if only you knew how very much I want to do just that with you. With everything I’d found out from yesterday’s diary entry, I could just imagine how the thought of my denying her would hurt her. It made her vulnerable to me, and in that exact moment, I realized with a start how much this appealed to me. I always thought I’d go for the sassy and strong type of girl, which Liza definitely could be if she wanted to. But it was her vulnerability that attracted me the most.
And yet, I couldn’t take advantage of it. Anybody’s first kiss should be romantic. Something Liza would remember for the rest of her life…and smile when she did. She’d hate me if I spoiled this for her. But heck, when I looked at her cute pout, I could hardly withstand the temptation. “You don’t know what you’re asking for, Matthews,” I growled.
“Well, it won’t kill me to find out, right?”
It wouldn’t kill her, no. But she might kill me, if I screwed this up. Her eyes fastened on mine. Holy shit, what if I just gave it a try? If I made it good for her, she might acquire a taste for it. More me.
Taking in a deep breath, I drawled, “Okay. But remember, I gave you fair warning.”
I already came across Piper Shelly’s Play with Me early this year. I already loved it because amidst all the emotionally gripping novels saved in my e-Readers, here comes a novel that would just make you smile, swoon a little bit and reminded you of those times when you had your first crush or first love in your teens. I enjoyed reading Liza’s POV in Play with Me. But reading Ryan Hunter with his own POV – definitely SWOON!!! Who doesn’t love going inside a boy’s brain and knowing what’s running inside it? I know I would!
Wait, whine, beg on my knees- Liza could have all of that from me. She only had to snap her fingers.
Ryan Hunter had been in love with Liza for a while now – and when I say a while – meaning a long time. But Liza had already set her eyes on her best friend Tony. However, Tony has set his sights on another girl. He asked Ryan’s help to distract Liza – a change he’ll be too dumb to pass.
So, while Tony is busy with another girl, Ryan Hunter is slowly making his way to Liza’s senses and heart. Everything was perfect and going smoothly until Tony changed his mind.
For a minute there, I thought I stood a chance. But I guess in the end, Mitchell will still be the lucky one.
Beneath the “cool dude” exterior, Ryan Hunter is a sweet boy who loves his family, a great friend and has a passion for soccer. He also plays it safe when it comes to the matters of the heart. He didn’t take a risk with Liza for the longest time he was in love with her until Tony gave him the ‘go-signal’ (or sort of). And when he finally made his move - I really understood Liza when she finally questioned her feelings for Tony. I just wished Ryan was more forward for his feelings and fought for Liza more rather than feeling sorry for himself. But, it didn’t make me love him less. Because despite his imperfections, I’d chose Ryan Hunter over Anthony Mitchell anytime.
Some says it’s inevitable to fall in love with your best friend. Especially when you spend your whole life with him or her and you couldn’t imagine spending it with someone else. Why find someone else when you have already the best at your side? Now the question is – does the best friend felt the same? What if the emotion is unrequited? On the other hand, for the person who goes in between these two friends, competing for the attention, the time and the life-long friendship can be a lot of hard work. But when you want to be with that person, you can get through it no matter what the circumstances are.
Ryan Hunter is the second installment in Piper Shelly’s Grover Beach Team Series and just like the first one, I’m sure you will enjoy reading it. It’s amazing without really breaking your heart, it’s wonderful without needing a Kleenex beside you. Some books can indeed be wonderful without making a mess of your make up. It’s a short sweet read, and easy on the heart. I’d recommend it to friends who wants to read something light, or for those people who simply wants to fall in love.
Wrapping up: If you’re asking me what do I love best? I love both books - they share different POVS, and I get to see the different side of the story. :) These two - they show a writer can wow a reader without making him/her cry. I heart you Ryan Hunter! :)
Wow, this is always the hardest part for me to write…don’t know why. You would think talking about my life should be easier.
I was born and raised in Austria. Half my life I spent in Vienna, but I didn’t like the city. I much prefer the beautiful countryside, with its many meadows and the breathtaking Alps. That’s why I moved to Upper Austria right after graduation. There are trees now in front of my window instead of just another ugly gray building, and I love to be woken by the cacophony of birds every morning.
At seventeen, I met the love of my life, but it took another four years until we finally got together. It was the best decision I could have made. I’m now married to this man, and I count myself lucky for someone like him. Even I will admit it can be hard at times to live with me. I’m moody and tend to lapse into my fantasy world at any given minute—well in my defense, I’m a writer. :-)
We have a ten-year-old son, and together we travel a lot…although I sometimes wish the trips were shorter because I can’t wait to get back to my laptop and WIP. Yeah, that’s just me. I built my world around my passion, and I like it that way.
So, you see, I’m leading a pretty normal life.
Of course it will all change the day my book follows the act of Harry Potter, and I’ll become richer than the Queen. I swear I’ll never again clean my windows myself then. Yeah, one day, LOL…