Read my reviews of the previous books in The Game series:
Top Priority (#1) | Their Boy (#2) | Breathless (#3) | Doll Parts (#4) | Out of the Ashes (#5) | The Shepherd (#6) | Adrift in the Embers (#7) | Hostile Takeover (#8) | Senseless (#9) | The Secret Plan (#10)
Dee once told me that she was worried I’d eventually be disappointed by a book in this series. This is not that book. As usual, this nominally works as a stand-alone, but the main characters have been introduced (and teased) in previous books, and it also features multiple favorites from earlier in the series. The first prologue hits us with Macklin’s pain right out of the gate, circling back to complete the teasers we got in both Senseless and The Secret Plan. After my glimpses of him in those books and Hostile Takeover, I had a feeling that learning more about him would solidify his place as “my” character in this series. After I finished this book (and then read it again two days later, because I could), I can confirm that while Greer and Reese are still my Mclean House book boyfriends, Macklin is definitely my person.
This book is part second-chance romance between Walker and Macklin, but it is also the most potentially awkward first-chance romance between Macklin’s sweet boyfriend Lane and an older man from Lane’s past. Sound complicated? It’s really not, but it’s also not a book in this series without extended dynamics with the potential for extra steaminess. The chemistry between Lane and Ty is real, both between the sheets and as intrepid reptile handlers. Dee builds excellent tension on multiple levels by setting up epic collision courses for Macklin and Lane because even if their relationship is solid, they cannot be 100 percent of what the other needs.
Vacations are a step outside real life, where anything can happen, and Dee upends the status quo for both Macklin and Lane on their adventure to Florida. The book doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, but absolutely on a “happily for now” note regarding the new and rekindled relationships on which this book is centered. Macklin’s reconnection with Walker as described here didn’t wreck me as much as I expected, but their full second-chance arc is far from over. I understand why Dee ended up breaking this book into two parts because there is more to come on both fronts. Instead of this story getting cut short, I’d much rather wait longer for the conclusions to these romances and find out how everything (and everyone) ends up tied together in the end. (Pun totally intended.)
And, a final thought that is relevant to many of Dee’s series: It’s probably a very good thing that River Tenley doesn’t want to take over the world.
Disclaimer: I received a digital review copy of this book from the author.