Blog Tour: Playing with Fire: Lexi Ryan

Playing with Fire (Mended Hearts#1)
Lexi Ryan

Add to Goodreads
Buy: Amazon/iTunes
Expected Release: July 7, 2015

Dr. Phoenix Reid isn't who she seems...

Everyone knows a phoenix rises from the ashes. What they don't talk about are the people she drags with her into the fire.

I thought one hot night with Max Hallowell was harmless. I never expected it would force me to face my past or bring back the man who swore he'd never let me go. Now Max wants to help me. Wants to save me. But if I let him, he'll be destroyed. I can already smell the flames.

A woman with a secret past. A man determined to protect her. A dangerous passion that could cost them both everything.

Dr. Phoenix Reed has a new life, with good  friends in the town of New Hope. But her past still haunts her and may be catching up to her.

Max Hallowell has always been the good guy who wants the girl who wants someone else and ends up losing in love. But he is ready to try again with Nix. One night rocks their worlds, but Nix can't handle what Max seems to want from her. 

It is a dance between attraction, temptation, secrets, and fear. There is a lot of fight or flight with Nix, leaving Max confused. But Nix is very private and untrusting. None of her close friends know where she comes from and what she has been through. And the secrets are not only eating at her, but she is afraid that she could be in danger. So she doesn't want to get any of her new friends involved, including Max. 

Poor Max. I have always liked him despite not wanting him to win the other girls in previous books. He is caring, protective, sexy, and sweet. But I was Team Nate with Hanna, did not want him with any other Thompson girl, and I hated him with scheming Meredith. Being unlucky in love did a number on his self esteem and confidence. But I loved him with Nix. Their chemistry and need to touch is evident and at times he actually makes her feel safe. But the problem with caring about someone is the need to sacrifice and protect them. So when danger keeps coming at Nix, she has to protect those she cares about in the only way she knows how. She knows Max is the good guy who wants to protect and save the damsel in distress.  But she hates to risk anyone. So Max is often left in the dark about what is really going on.

Nix is strong and resilient, but she is also so vulnerable and damaged. Various situations in her past really skewed her thinking and made her feel unworthy and she thinks her baggage is too much to put on anyone else. But she is a good person who truly cares about others. My heart broke for her at times as she struggled with what she wanted but felt she could not have.

This was mysterious, emotional, angsty, suspenseful, and had plenty of twists and turns. It is about survival, strength, and hope.  Most of the old friends from New Hope make appearances: Cally and Will,  Hanna and Nate, Lizzy and Sam, Maggie and Asher, and Krystal. This tight group is both protective and nosy. They are all in the middle of Nix and Max's business adding both support and humor. And we get to know a charismatic police detective named Cade. He is new to the group but steps in when needed and seems to have his own personal baggage. He will be the focus of the next book in the series.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Both Max and Nix are familiar characters to anyone who has read any of Lexi’s Unbound series. And while I didn’t necessarily like Max so much in Lost in Me (the first book I read with these characters) and neither did Nix, my opinion of him changed as that truth came out and I watched his hurt after losing Hanna. By the time Hanna’s trilogy was over, Max seemed so sweet and chivalrous that my heart broke for him in his own heartbreak.

Nix has been hiding a whole life outside of New Hope that she fears and those fears drive a lot of her decisions, including the decision to not let any man into her life ever again. As her past comes to light, and comes back to threaten her and those around her, I couldn’t help but become more sympathetic towards the usually closed-off doctor.

I don’t understand what it is that she wants or what she’s afraid of, but I do understand this -- our connection, our kiss, and how damn good it feels to hold someone again.

But the Max that wanted to break down Nix’s walls was such a different man from that sad, broken man and I couldn’t help but love him more. He has the chivalrous, knight-in-shining-armor things going for him, but he is also immensely protective, and develops a bit of a caveman side when it comes to Nix and her safety.

These two connected in a way that I hadn’t seen coming. Nix was adamant whenever the subject of her future that she would remain single. But she hadn’t counted on Max’s determination, nor on his ability to work his way behind her walls. I loved watching her come to depend on him, and they way she fit so easily into his life with Clare.
This was exciting, tense, and once I started reading I could not put it down. The group of family and friends that has been developed in New Hope surrounds Max and Nix, and I love the little bits readers continue to get from the established couples while keeping the focus on the main storyline. And Cade’s epilogue sets up intrigue about the woman he falls for and made me wish I could get my hands on his story immediately.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Playing with Fire is the first in a new series of standalone novels featuring the New Hope characters Lexi Ryan fans have come to love. While you wait for Nix and Max's story, explore Love Unbound, the collection of books set in Lexi's New Hope world. 

*Note: Each series can be read on its own, but for the chronology purists, the reading order is below.

Love Unbound: Splintered Hearts

Unbreak Me (Maggie’s story)
Stolen Wishes: A Wish I May Prequel Novella (Will and Cally’s prequel)
Wish I May (Will and Cally’s novel)
Or read them together in the omnibus edition, Splintered Hearts: The New Hope Trilogy

Love Unbound: Here and Now

Lost in Me (Hanna’s story begins)
Fall to You (Hanna’s story continues)
All for This (Hanna’s story concludes) 
Or read them together in the omnibus edition, Here and Now: The Complete Series

Love Unbound: Reckless and Real

Something Wild (Liz and Sam’s story begins)
Something Reckless (Liz and Sam’s story continues)
Something Real (Liz and Sam’s story concludes) 

Love Unbound: Mended Hearts

Playing with Fire (Nix’s story, coming July 7, 2015)
Holding Her Close (Cade's Story)

Lexi Ryan Website | Facebook | Twitter  | Newsletter

New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author Lexi Ryan’s novels have been described as intense, emotional, and wickedly sexy. A former college professor, she now writes full-time from her home in Indiana, where she lives with her husband, two children, and a neurotic dog. Find her on Facebook or Twitter to chat about books, TV, and her children’s latest antics.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...