“Katy Short doesn’t want to be on The World Races. She’s not a social butterfly like her brother (and partner) Brodie. In fact, she’s just as happy to end up in last place as in first.
But when her brother makes a selfish move that pairs her up with silent and surly rock star Liam Brogan, everything in the race changes. Now Katy’s fighting to stay out of the Loser Lodge, just so she won’t have to suffer through all that alone time with Mr. Tall, Dark and Arrogant.
Except Liam? Kinda hot. He’s sexy, pierced… and not nearly as surly as she thought. There’s one good thing about a game with partners — lots of one-on-one time…”
–Synopsis from Goodreads
Playing Games written by Jessica Clare is book number 2 in the Games series. Add it on Goodreads!
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I have already read this series once before, and I loved it so much that I had to read it again. Which thanks to Goodreads, I found out that I am re-reading it exactly one year from the first time! I can rant and rave about the first book to everyone I know, but it does not have to be read before reading this book. ALTHOUGH I do recommend it, because there are some characters from the first book in this book as well, and could cause some spoilers. Check out the first book Wicked Games on Goodreads!
| Psst… Check out my reviews for this series |
| #1 Wicked Games | #2 Playing Games | #3 Ice Games |
| #5 Body Games | #5.5 Pleasure Games | #6 Partner Games |
Katy Short loves making cupcakes and other desserts. She loves her business of doing just those things. Yet she loves her brother more and stupidly agreed to interview for a reality TV show, that thanks to Katy they get cast for. Even though Brodie is her brother and partner, he’s a real ass hole. Thankfully and unthankfully after using a game advantage without even talking to Katy about, they had to switch partners. So now Katy is paired up with rock star Liam Brogan. He’s bad boy type with piercings and tattoos. Totally not Katy’s type. Especially after he cost her to lose the first race.
So now as partners they have to figure out how to win, and get along. So when Katy becomes friends with one of the other players on the show, she realizes that maybe doing something like pretending to like Liam could make good TV. Which could make the producers try to keep them on. We all know pretending usually turns into something more, but will it shatter almost as soon as it starts because of her asshole brother Brodie?
What happens when the games are over? Will rock star legend even blink an eye at small cake shop owner that was denied for a loan Katy?
The book has a perfect mix or comedy, romance, competitive aspects and fighting between other players and even people in the same team. The challenges were fun to read and some were pretty entertaining to the point that I really wish this was what the challenges where on real TV. Anyways. I loved this book, and I look forward to re-reading the next book in the series Ice Games!
Check out my review on Goodreads or take a look at my longer review and summary below!
Long review with all the spoilers so SPOILER ALERT!
Katy Short sits in front of the camera crew, doing her casting interview for Endurance Island. The only reason she is doing this is for her older brother Brodie. Ever since the show came out, he has been talking about being on it non stop. So Katy does everything she can to make his “dream” come true. She’s a baker and has a small online service where she delivers around the country. So she brings in cupcakes, that wins the producers over. After one bite, they’re bringing her brother in and telling them that although they don’t have room for them on the newest season of Endurance Island, that they would be perfect for The World Races. Plus they would get $20,000 per team. Katy was sold, she can build up her business after being denied the loan for it. So they were off to Hollywood the next weekend for final interviews to hopefully be cast.
Spoiler alert, they were picked for World Races. First book spoiler alert. The married couple is Abby and Dean from the 2nd season of Endurance Island and the first book Wicked Games. There’s a mix of different teams. Sisters, 2 men that are lovers, 2 marine looking best friends and the celebrity couple is 2 people from the band Finding Threnody. Liam and Tesla. Katy already dislikes them and almost everyone else. Brodie is so beyond excited about the experience and the people they are up against, especially the celebrity team.
The 3 week challenge begins. The teams must race to the end of the football field they’re standing on and search for a ball with a number on it. There a many balls that don’t have any numbers on it, but 10 do labeled 1-10. The teams that find the balls labeled 1-3 get to jump on the first plane out to their first stop. Katy see’s a ball in the corner and rushes towards it, just as the guy from the rocker band does too. She jumps on it, at the same time he does and lands on her grabbing it from underneath her. Of course asshat got #2. Brodie finds #10 and unfortunately everyone else already found their footballs with numbers. Katy and Brodie are dead last.
The first flight to Greenland would be 2 flights. The first every team would board. While they waited Brodie talked to Tesla, and Katy sat next to Abby and Dean. Making a quiet alliance just in case. She really liked her. When it was time to board, Brodie finally stopped flirting with Tesla and found his sister. Katy was a little pissed, I mean that asshole did steal the ball from her. Which is what she said to Brodie, loud enough for them to hear her. Camera’s too. So of course when she’s seated on the plane,the empty seat next to her is Liam. Telling her the seat next to her is for the guitar playing asshole. Which is what she called him earlier.
When they got to Greenland they rushed to the first game of the race. Brodie grabbing the disc with instructions, not even saying thank you. Also not even reading it out loud for Katy. When Katy finally finished, he was rushing her to the first challenge. Dog sled to town. They passed a few teams along the way, either going too slow, having problems or looking at their maps. When passing, Brodie seemed to shout louder to rub in their faces. Not good.
When they got to the final part of the challenge it was broke down to two different options. One was a kayak race and the other an eating challenge. Brodie of course did the Kayak and Katy did the gross food part. They had to eat cooked and uncooked mukluk which was like whale blubber, meat and fat. She was seated next to Liam, who was not doing so well and could not keep anything down. Katy had troubles at first, but got the rhythm down to eat an uncooked and cooked one at the same time with water. Abby was done first and rushed off to the finish line. So when Katy finished second she was ecstatic. Especially since they were dead last when they started. When she ran to the finish line she didn’t see Abby’s partner Dean, but saw her brother Brodie. They finished in first! Shortly after Dean finally showed and they came in second. Last place was Liam and Tesla, which Tesla seemed to not be happy at Liam, even though he was still puking his guts out and looked horrible. Being the first place team they got the Ace card. With that they could use it at any time to save a team from going home when in last place. Katy was definitely not going to use it to save Liam and Tesla, but Brodie thought otherwise. Without even asking his partner, he hands over the ace and saves Tesla and Liam from being disqualified.
When the Ace was used there was a twist with using it. When it was played in the game the two teams must switch partners. So Brodie and Tesla were now and team and Katy and Liam were officially a team. This game could not get any worse. Well other than the fact that now she is in last place with Liam, and her asshole brother in first. Also there is no hotel but actually and igloo to sleep in.
The next challenge, even though Liam and Katy didn’t talk much, they already were getting along better than her and Brodie were. They had to plant, plants in Iceland and kiss an ancient stone. Before that Katy made a joke, that accidentally offended Liam. To make good TV and to kinda tell him sorry, she did something out of the ordinary and also without thinking. She kissed him. He slowly started kissing her back, before she pulled away. They left for the next part of the challenge. It was Katy’s turn and it worked out well. It was almost like a paint by numbers mixed with memory. She did well and they rushed to the last part of the challenge after Katy hugged Liam in excitement. When they got to the finish line for the end of the 2nd challenge, they came in 5th place. Meaning they were not in the final two to go home. Liam grabbed Katy first and picked her up in the air for a hug.
When they get to the hotel, it is too much for 1-2 couples to spend. But with Dean being a celebrity type, he got it half off and Abby asked Katy and Liam to share. While Abby and Dean took a shower, Katy and Liam talked about the kiss. Katy told him it was just for good TV. That if they made good TV they would last longer. When he asked if it was just that, she said maybe. Which made Liam say well I think we should continue just that… just to make good TV.
The 3rd challenge was in Paris, France. They had to learn a ballet dance and perform. Having Liam’s hands on her body was ticklish and also turning her on. But they had to rush to the last part of the challenge to not be in last.
Abby, Dean, Katy and Liam teamed up and helped each other for the last leg. When they got to the airport, it was going to be a 3 hour wait until the flight. Meaning any advanced time they had on the others will be probably lost. All that seemed to leave Katy’s mind when the cameras started asking her questions and Liam pulled her into his arms and started rubbing her arms or playing with her hair. Falling asleep in the crook of his neck with his arm around her, sounded pretty damn perfect. So she did just that.
The next challenge they had to wait until 7am for the places to open. Katy and Liam went away from the other teams to read the maps and strategist. Brodie came over to somewhat apologize which really wasn’t an apology. When he asked to borrow the map, they both said no and Brodie pulled it out of Liam’s hands. Causing a fight to break, and ripping the map. Chip the host broke in and told them to stop. Giving Brodie and Tessa a 2hr penalty for stealing.
After getting 2nd place they head off to a hotel. Katy can’t help but notice how great of a body Liam has. Even if he does have tattoos and piercings (which is 100% my ideal guy) and her typical type was tan blonde cowboys. Not paler brunette rockers. Katy ends up falling asleep, to be woken up a few hours later by Liam getting into bed and putting his arm around her. When she snuggled closer he moaned, causing her to turn around and slowly start kissing him at first. Then it turned naughty up until her stomach started growling. They head off to get dinner, and since in Paris decide to get a good meal. Since the show only gives them so much money for food, hotel and travel they have to share a meal.
In Egypt they had to go down the Pyramids and the burial sites that were shallow, small and dark. Katy started freaking out and Liam was very understanding and calm. Let them go at her pace and encouraged her to continue with kind words and distractions. He started talking to her about how sexy she is and how much he likes kissing her. They start talking about how this is more than just for good TV and that after this specific race they hope they can get a hotel and spend 12 hours in bed together. The cameras caught it all, even their hot make out and small groping session.
They end up getting first place and rush off to the hotel. Not to ruin it for ya, but you know it was going to happen. They had sex. But before they talked about how Liam hates being on stage, how he and Tesla used to date long ago. Ancient history.
Specific challenges went by pretty good. They were in first place for most of them. When Katy had to share a hot balloon ride with her brother Brodie, he tricked her into giving him and his partner Tesla the Ace. Katy had missed the clue and if she didn’t see it would have to go back up again. Each ride was an hour. So she gave it to him, without telling Liam. Although they did have the conversation that it was up to Katy on when the use it or not. But they were planning on Dean and Abby, their allies and best friends in this game.
During the next leg Brodie and Liam got into a brawl. Where Liam got a 6 hour penalty for punching Brodie 3 times. They thought they were going to be last and kicked off. But were actually kind of excited. If kicked off they get to spend it together in a lodge until the race is completely over. But they ended up not being last due to the final team having to take the balloon ride 4 times. They ran to the finish line and finished seconds before the last team.
With the next race it seemed to go in their favors. It was a music challenge and a food one. During the food challenge, we find out that Abby is almost 2 months pregnant 🙂 Except the fact that she has to eat spicy insects is not helping because of her pregnancy, and it puts them in last place to be eliminated. Liam expects Katy to use the Ace, since he still doesn’t know that she gave it to her brother, Brodie. When they get into the hotel, he asks her why she didn’t. She tells him and he freaks out. Assuming that she is trying to throw challenges, that she is trying to just get Brodie to win, that they both are just sleeping with him and his band mate Tesla for fame. He storms off and they don’t spend the night together in the hotel.
“Everything’s all wrong. All wrong, and I don’t know how to fix it. All I know is that I don’t know if I can trust Katy, and that makes me so goddamn miserable I can’t stand it. I’m in love with her and I don’t know if I’m being played for a fool.” — Liam Brogan, Final Leg of The World Races
On the final race they flew back to the United States to Philadelphia. Liam and Katy didn’t say a word to each other, even during their layovers and sitting next to each other on the flights. When the challenge came, they got into game mode and somewhat worked together when need be. While Liam was doing a challenge in another room, Brodie started talking to Katy. Saying that he needs to win, that was the plan the whole time. Katy told him she was unhappy with him and was not going to throw challenges for him. Ever. Except when they started to leave, Brodie called out and said “Don’t forget what we talked about” even though they didn’t really talk about anything. Katy tried explaining to Liam that they talked about nothing, but he wasn’t seeming to have it. When it was time for Katy’s challenge she wasn’t doing so well at making 200 pretzels. Brodie came in and they started fighting. She was trying to tell him that this wasn’t about the game anymore, that it was about Liam. She really liked him. Brodie said they were rock stars, they won’t even look their way when the games were done.
Katy had a lot of troubles with her part of the leg. She got lost, dropped the pretzels. When she finally finished and Brodie and Tesla were no where to be found, she lost it. Breaking down barely able to speak through her tears. Liam put her in the cab and they talked. He told her that he knows she wasn’t trying to throw the race for her brother. He heard them fighting in the pretzel shop, Tesla saw her blocking her pretzels so Brodie couldn’t see how to make them or how many she has done. He was upset, but he didn’t know that Brodie had blackmailed Katy. He understood, and forgave her with a kiss or two.
To my surprise, he lifted our twined hands to his mouth and kissed the back of my hand. “We didn’t start this as a team, but we’ll end it as one.”
I smiled at him. “I’m just sorry we couldn’t win.”
“I’m not,” he said. “I got a lot more out of this race than just a paycheck.”
The last race was to run up and down the same steps that Rocky did in the movies. EIGHT TIMES up and 8 times down. There were 8 giant and heavy figures that represented something from each race they did from each location. They had to run up the stairs and put them in order of when each race was. Brodie and Tesla kept on putting their heavy ass pieces in the wrong spots. Katy and Liam didn’t want them to cheat, so they carried the pieces in the box that they were, that way when they put it in the spot the other team could not see it. So even tho Tesla and Brodie finished first, the judges kept on saying it was wrong. Liam and Katy finished and when they judges said they had everything in order, Brodie tried saying they were cheating. That they did not take them out of the boxes, even tho the rules did not state that they needed too. So Katy and Liam got their last disc, and ran off to the finish line. Where Chip the host told them they were the winners of the World games!
After they were given the check for $250,000.00 they were rushed to interviews and separate hotel rooms. Being so exhausted they both fell asleep in their own rooms. Katy was woken up by someone from the production crew saying she had 20 mins before her car to take her to her flight arrived. Brodie came in to talk to her first. He was was going to the next season of Endurance Island and maybe even another show called House Mates. That even though he didn’t win, he wasn’t mad at Katy. That he got what he wanted kind of. Fame and more TV time. He did however tell Katy that Liam already left. Making her sad of course.
Katy got to the airport, and was waiting for her flight, when she overheard girls talking about Liam from his rock band and wanting to get autographs. He came up to her and basically was being super sweet. Katy should have never believed Brodie and tried to find Liam, because he was waiting for her. He told her that he wanted to spend time with her and just her, maybe a one month vacation. That the band broke up, Tesla was going solo and he was going to do song writing. He was happy he didn’t have to tour anymore. That he could move to where she was, or she could move to him. He didn’t care because he loved her. And she of course loved him.