Series: Games #5
Published by Self-Published on July 11th 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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Annabelle Tucker is still reeling from last season’s Endurance Island, when the man she loved played her for a fool. When producers ask her back for a new season it’s the last thing she’s interested in…until she hears her ex, the gorgeous but duplicitous Kip, will be there. Revenge and a grand prize? Yes, please!
But someone’s there to throw a kink into her plans. Someone tall and cut, and with the sexiest gray eyes. Jendan Abercrombie’s on an opposing team, but it doesn’t mean that Annabelle can’t lust after him, right? She’ll just have to save all that lusting for post-show, when she’s free to follow where her loins lead.
When a tribal twist puts them both on the same team – naked – will Annabelle be able to resist his very apparent charms? Or will she have to vote Jendan out to save her game?
I have to admit that I’m not one of those that enjoys watching reality TV (I’d rather spend my time behind a book) nor have I read any other books in the Games Series so for me this story was a breath of fresh air from my usual reads.
In this story, Annabelle Tucker has just returned back to real life after a stint in the fourth season of Endurance Island. While one would expect her to be famous she is infamous for being the slutty contestant that fell for another cast member, Kip. She thought that Kip felt the same as she did but behind the camera, he was using her to get further in the game. While she was confessing her love during those confessionals Kip was tearing her down and humiliating her on National TV.
Life after Endurance Island was completely miserable. She had to quit school just to get away from the ridicule. She wanted nothing else to do with the show yet when the casting director started leaving messages she was tempted to ignore them. Her curiosity, however, got the best of her and out of desperation she ends up back on the Season 5 with Kip as her partner no less.
I thought that the entire situation couldn’t get any worse but Jessica Clare sure did add enough twist and turns throughout Annabelle’s ordeal. What I enjoyed specifically about all of it was how Annabelle tackled every task challenge beautifully. There were moments were she had to make some difficult decisions and while some might think she was heartless you can definitely tell that all those decisions weren’t made lightly.
Annabelle knew that she needed to repair her reputation and make a stand this second time around and she sure did end up doing just that and even gained so much more. I was totally impressed with her character.
Now about the romance, it felt that it was on the lighter side than what I am used to. For me, this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Because of this, the story seemed to focus more on Annabelle’s comeback more than anything else. It seemed to have highlighted the couple’s relationship emotionally rather than physically which I very much appreciated.
I thought the writing was superb and the story line was compelling. I particularly enjoyed reading Jendan’s thoughts before every single chapter. It took a lot of control on my part not to skip ahead to read what he had to say next. What a really nice touch!
I enjoyed Book 5 in the Games Series and I sure am looking forward to reading the previous books in the series as well.
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“All right, guys,” Chip’s voice interrupted my self-loathing. “As I said before, everything you’re starting the game with is in that box right here.” He gestured at the row of colorful boxes lined up at his feet, each one no taller than his knee. “You’re not even allowed the clothes on your back. At the signal, find your box with your name and change into your gear. Once you have your gear, the game starts. This is your first challenge.”
I shivered. The game was beginning already. I was ready for this, though. All weekend, I’d brushed up on my skills that I’d learned from my last round on the island. I could make a decent fire with coconut fluff if given time and supplies. I was flexible and in shape. I studied puzzles and the local flora and fauna on the flight out so I wouldn’t be unawares. I was as ready as I could be.
“When I say go, you will change into your playing gear. Once you are changed, take your box and haul it across that line on the far side of the beach.” He pointed into the distance, and I could see a row of cameramen lined up next to a finish line with tiny waving flags. It was about a hundred yards away. Not a fun sprint, but a do-able one.
“The last team to change out of their clothing and into their Endurance Island gear will not be nominated for
Judgment – they will be eliminated. Today is your first day in the game…and it will be the last for two players. This is immunity, Judgment, and execution all in one swoop.”
As a one, contestants started to cast confused looks at each other. We were all thinking the same thing – we were going to have to change clothes on the beach? In front of each other? Really? What the heck was up with that? This was national television, not cable, so I knew that any boobs or balls would be pixelated out, but I wasn’t relishing the thought of getting naked in front of anyone, much less fifteen other someones…
And an entire camera crew watching, to boot.
Okay. I told myself I could do this. I studied the box, thinking. Inside, there would probably be a team shirt designation or something along those lines. Maybe a slip dress. I could probably wiggle into something without flashing my boobs to the world.
“Everyone ready?” Chip raised his hand, a gleeful look on his face. He quickly lowered it. “Go!”
There was no time to think. Everyone hauled ass forward, sand spraying as sixteen pairs of feet ran toward the row of boxes across the beach. The wind whipped strands of hair into my eyes and Kip quickly shoved ahead of me. I slowed momentarily, letting the stampeding rush of bodies swarm ahead. It wouldn’t do me any good to push ahead of Kip only to be slammed to the ground by a rogue elbow. I trotted as close behind the others as I dared, and reached the colored boxes a few steps after the others.
My hands landed on my box the moment the first gasp of shock went up.
That made me jerk upright. I looked away from my box as I pulled off the lid, staring down at the line.
A woman was holding up a pair of sneakers and waving them in the air. “This is all that’s in my box!” Others were pulling off their lids and murmuring as well. No one sounded happy. For that matter, no one sounded like they knew what to do.
Others held up their items – no one had anything but shoes.
I tossed the lid of my yellow box aside. Sure enough, there was a pair of dainty yellow and white sneakers laid neatly inside my box. That was it. I picked them up and shook them out, in case there was a clue of some kind to where the rest of my gear might be hidden.
“I don’t understand,” Kip said. “No one has anything but shoes.”
“That’s right,” Chip boomed from nearby. “For this season of Endurance Island, you’ll be playing stripped of every luxury. And that includes clothing.”