ARC Review: The Player Next Door by KA Tucker

Posted June 17, 2020 by Kate

ARC Review: The Player Next Door by KA TuckerCheck out on Goodreads | Buy on Amazon
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Source: Valentine PR, Kindle Unlimited

From the international bestselling author of The Simple Wild and Ten Tiny Breaths comes a new second-chance, hate-to-love romance.
Scarlet Reed has returned to Polson Falls, convinced that twelve years away is long enough to shed her humiliating childhood identity as the town harlot's daughter. With a teaching job secured and an adorable fixer-upper to call home, things in her life are finally looking up.
That is, until she finds out that Shane Beckett lives next door.
Shane Beckett, the handsome and charismatic high school star quarterback who smashed her heart. The lying, cheating player who was supposed to be long gone, living the pro football dream and fooling women into thinking he's Prince Charming. Shane Beckett, who is as attractive as ever and flashing his dimples at her as if he has done no wrong.
Scarlet makes it abundantly clear that old wounds have not been forgotten. Neighbors they may be, but friends they most certainly are not. She won't allow herself to fall for the single father and firefighter again, no matter how many apologies he offers, how many times he rushes to her aid, or how hard he makes her heart pound.
But as she spends more time with him, she begins to fear that maybe she's wrong. Maybe Shane has changed.
And maybe this time she's the one playing herself—out of a chance at true happiness.

Disclaimer: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, but it doesn’t influence my opinion of the book nor the contents of this review in any way. 

The Player Next Door is an ARC that I accepted without reading the blurb – an act that has periodically been my downfall, but one that ended up working out sweetly in this case. K.A. Tucker is an author that I used to thoroughly enjoy, but I haven’t read her books in close to three years now! Once I read her book Say You Still Love Mealso a second-chance romance, I resolved to read more of her books.

This one follows Scarlett Reed, twelve years after she left her small town to go to college in New York, and didn’t look back. But when she’s offered a job she can’t afford to refuse, the same day her childhood dream house hits the market, it seems like Kismet and she moves back to Polson Falls, Pennsylvania, eager for a fresh start as the new sixth-grade teacher. Except… her neighbor. Shit.

Shane Beckett was her high school’s star quarterback, and the guy she dated the summer into her senior year. It was a perfect, sweet romance, and one that ended humiliatingly the week before their senior year started, leading into a year of teasing from the popular crowd about shooting above her belt, alongside the usual comments about being the daughter of the town harlot. He crushed her heart, and Scarlett was not happy to see him living next door. Especially when she realized his son was in her class, and now Shane wants to be friends.

“Let’s just keep things as they are, okay? Simple.”
And brimming with sexual tension.

I was so pleasantly surprised by this book! I loved Scarlett and Shane! Their banter in the beginning… wow! Who knew that joint home renovation could be so hot?? *Fans self* Neighbor romances are at the top of my list of favorite tropes because there’s a constant undercurrent of tension in the book that I just ~eat up~ and this one was no different! The blatant sexual tension was coursing through this one, even as I appreciated Scarlett’s hang-ups, and then the situation they were in, with Scarlett has his son’s teacher.

Also… did I mention he’s a firefighter??? :)

It was everything it promised: a fun and flirty small-town romance! Flirty is right, too! Whew. Imagine the boy who broke your heart back in high school, except back in your life, all muscle, and handy to have around the house as things inevitably needs fixed – especially with all the housework that goes into a new purchase?? Especially considering he doesn’t close his curtains at night 😉 But my girl Scarlett did not let him in easy – she knew how to hold a grudge! I felt like it went on a wee bit long, but honestly… that’s probably an accurate reflection of how someone would act. Props to Shane for not giving up, though :)

And speaking of the small town aspect of the romance! K.A. Tucker did an incredible job with that – running into the school mean girl, your worst (and favorite) teachers from back in the day now your co-workers… geez! It made Scarlett seem all the braver. But really, despite the ending (which went a bit quick), I’m quite impressed with this one. I’m anxious to read more from K.A. Tucker!

Other books you may enjoy…


What are your favorite second-chance romances? Have you read a book by K.A. Tucker? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!

Chat with me!