When it comes to contemporary romance, my friends say L.J. Shen is the best. And you know me, I don’t read romance very often, so I always consider my friends’ opinions on the matter. So, when I found “Playing with Fire” in Audible at a very good price, I asked my friend Tatiana, should I buy it or not? She was like, we don’t ask questions like this; we buy. And that’s what I did! I have to say, I am glad with my decision! And a big thank you to my friend for recommending the author and the specific book!
In a sleepy Texas college town, Grace Shaw tries to live her life being as invisible as possible. The fire that almost destroyed their house one night, took away part of her confidence and her once beautiful face and body. She was a cheerleader and a popular girl that lost all of that, as well as her boyfriend. She now goes to college, where she hopes no one notices her, because those that do, always have something to comment on her face or stare at her, a constant reminder of her once gorgeous face and her lost future. She lives with her grandmother and works at a taco canteen with her friend and daughter of the owner. She avoids getting in touch with other students. She already has a lot in her mind.
West St. Claire is a local celebrity in college and the town. He is a ladies’ man and a mysterious underground fighter, the town’s beloved bad boy. He run as far away from home as he could. He doesn’t want to be close to his family, and he is doing everything in his power to help them and keep them away at the same time. Hi popularity doesn’t help him forget his past, but his motorcycle helps him be as fast as lightning. When he get’s a job in the canteen along with Grace he get’s to know her, his whole life turns upside down. All his hidden secrets, the past that no one knew about comes back to haunt him and make him a different person.
The chemistry between those two is amazing. Grace is a very relatable character, it could be the girl next door, it could be you for all you know. She has insecurities and she is biased against people like West St. Claire, the cocky arrogant kind that has a different girlfriend every night. But when she comes to know him she realizes he is not that bad and he is actually easy to work with. At least when he wears all his clothes while working and he doesn’t distract her or the customers with his abs. They both have their ghosts of the past. Ghosts that still follow them in their current life and they don’t want to share them with anyone else. But they find out that they can share those ghosts with each other.
Grace is such a lovable heroine. She is strong and determined and the gradually manages to come out of her shell and greet the world without hiding and without thinking what other people think about her. She is protective with the people she loves and she does her best to cope on her own, to stand on her own feet. West on the other side is the typical alpha male that finds his master. He changes his behavior in favor of Grace as he realizes she makes him a better person. I really liked the character development of these two, as well as their relationship. It was emotional at times, but overall an enjoyable read.