I will admit that I am a huge fan of Emma Hart's, and I have read quite a few of her books at this point. But that being said, so far I have sort of a love/hate relationship with her By His Game series. Each book in this series is a standalone story with interconnected characters, so these don't have to be read in order. If you are interested in reading them though, I would recommend starting at the beginning. Sidelined is the second book in this series, and I had a few of the same issues with this one as I did with the first book in this series. While I liked parts of it, there were things that I really didn't care for. It's really hard for me to write anything negative about Emma Hart's work, because I think that she is a fantastic writer. I think maybe I am just not clicking with this series for some reason.
After her boyfriend of three years cheated on her and knocked up her cousin, Macey Kelly has sworn off men. She has no problem seeking them out for a night of no strings sex, but anything beyond that she isn't willing to do. But with her best friend having fallen in love with a football player, she has been forced to be around Jack Carr. Though they have had a couple of steamy nights together, she isn't willing to try anything more with him because she doesn't trust him. But Jack isn't willing to let go so easily, especially when he is looking for the same thing she is. When Jack proposes that they stick to just having sex with no feelings, at first Macey wants nothing to do with it. But soon she realizes that it might be exactly what she needs. When her ex shows up at her door with something he needs to tell her though, her new arrangement quickly gets more complicated. Before long, Macey is more confused than ever and wondering which guy if either she should be with. Should she choose the man she knows everything about and is comfortable with despite the fact that he betrayed her? Or should she take a risk with the sexy football star that she feels a strong connection and chemistry with?
I have to say that I really liked Jack. He had his moments that he ticked me off a bit, but for the most part he is what kept me reading this story. He was sweet and sexy, and I loved how open and honest he was with Macey. He wouldn't let her get away with her crap, and wasn't afraid to make her face some tough issues. He was great, and I really liked him for Macey. Macey was tough and strong at times, and then came off as completely weak and immature at others. She was very wishy washy and didn't seem to have a clue what she wanted. She pushed Jack away constantly only to pull him right back in. Then she would say she didn't want her ex Mitch back, only to be unable to let him go. She was confusing, and honestly I didn't really like her. I felt like Jack deserved better, and she was stupid for ever allowing Mitch even a second of her time. Mitch was awful to me. He made a huge mistake, and even admitted to Macey that he wouldn't have told her he betrayed her if her cousin hadn't forced his hand. He came back around after being gone for a year, and just expected that Macey would give him another chance. He didn't deserve one, and honestly he didn't even really seem that apologetic. I didn't really understand why she felt so torn, because to me and all her friends and family it was completely obvious who she should be with.
Overall, this was a good but not great story to me. While I loved Jack and liked him and Macey when they were together, I hated the fact that she was so indecisive. I felt like she had no reason to drag things out with these two guys. I didn't understand how after being so upset with Mitch and everything that he had done, that she would continue to date him and talk to him. I don't mind a love triangle when I see the connection between the characters, and when I feel that either of the love interests actually deserves a shot. But in this case, I really didn't feel that way and it just irritated me with how long it went on. Not only that, but feelings were clearly involved at that point, and it just didn't feel right that she would be physical with both of them even if was only kissing and dates rather than full on sex. I just felt like it was cheating even if technically it wasn't against the arrangement. While I had these issues with the story, I think that there are lots of people who will really enjoy this book and not have any of the problems I did. I have really enjoyed the other books I have read from Emma Hart outside this series, and I think that she is a great writer. So I think if this book sounds like something that you might like that you should still give it a shot. This series just might not be the one for me.
**ARC Provided by Inkslinger PR**