Playing with Fire is the first book in Lexi Ryan's new Mended Hearts Series, which features characters from New Hope. If you are a fan of Lexi Ryan's, you will recognize many familiar faces here. The Mended Hearts series books can each stand on their own, but the characters are interconnected and are best when read in order for full enjoyment. It is not necessary to have read any of the previous books to understand Playing with Fire, but if you are going to read any of the books I would recommend at least reading the Here and Now series since Max plays such a huge part in those books. If you haven't read those books though, beware of spoilers for those books below.
Dr. Phoenix Reid doesn't let many others close, and she definitely doesn't tell them about her past. She prefers to keep things private, but one night with Max Hallowell changes everything. She thought that she could keep things to one night of pleasure, but Max doesn't seem to be giving up. He wants Nix, and is willing to give her all the time that she needs. But Nix knows that she needs to keep away from Max in order to keep him and his daughter safe. But what happens when she starts to let Max in, and he is determined to help her even after learning everything? Can they find a way to make sure that Nix is safe and have a chance at a future together, or will everything go up in flames?
I really loved Max in the previous books, and I really felt badly for him. I always thought that Hannah needed to be with Nate, but I couldn't help but fall in love with Max. He had made some huge mistakes, but he was a great guy that gave so much of himself to others. My heart broke for him when he lost everything, but I was glad that he was able to focus on the positive in his life and I thought that he was a great dad to Claire. That was even more evident here, and he was so adorable with her and with everything he did for her. But I really liked him with Nix. He was every bit the good guy we have come to know and love, but he was also so supportive. I loved that he didn't judge her or give up on her. Nix did annoy me a bit in this book if I am honest. While I understood where she was coming from once all was revealed, her hot and cold act got old here. I was ready for it to be over before it was, and I wanted her to wake up and see just what she was at risk of losing with Max. They were so good for one another, and I wanted her to see that sooner than she did.
Overall, this was a good story though and I really liked how everything turned out. I love Max, and it was great to finally see him find some happiness! I was shocked when their connection first started to happen in previous books, because I never saw it coming. But throughout this book it become so clear how perfect they were for one another. I loved seeing familiar faces, and it was really great that they were all so supportive of Nix and Max together, because there very easily could have been some drama there with everyone's intertwined pasts. I am looking forward to more in this series though, and I cannot wait to get Cade's story next!
**ARC Provided by AToMR Tours**