Playing By The Rules (Portwood Brothers, #1)
Payton always had one rule she lived by, no boyfriends until after college. No one seemed to agree with her, even her own mother who had her at age sixteen. Returning to school after an accident that flipped Payton’s world upside down left her feeling out of control. Holding on to her rule seemed to be her only lifeline.
Josh had been letting the past rule his life for too long. Finally being at school, he’d become his own man, and he’d been putting all that behind him. Just when he thought he had it all put together, life got crazy. Not only did his ex show back up, but Josh also found he couldn’t get Payton Whitmore out of his head.
Once Josh convinces Payton to give him a shot, she’s so closed off that he wonders if it’s even worth it. Josh can tell there’s something special about Payton though, and as soon as he goes all in, he’s ready to show her that some rules are made to be broken.
Playing With Fire (Portwood Brothers, #2)
Jackson wants the one thing he can’t have, his brother’s girlfriend. He tried to forget her, but even spending nine months Afghanistan didn’t make him want her any less. Now he was heading home, a home he shares with his brother and the woman they both want.
Emma believed that you should never follow your heart. She tried that once, and she ended up alone and broken. After she put the pieces back together, she decided she’d rather forget about love and just have fun. Who needed someone special anyway? Certainly not her.
When both of them realize they are on the same page, they embark in a hot, no-strings arrangement that satisfies their needs without getting their hearts involved. But when you play with fire, someone always gets burned.
Playing For The Win (Portwood Brothers, #3)
Addison had always thought when she said, “I do” two years ago that it’d be forever. Madly in love, things were going along fine, great even, until she found out her husband was keeping secrets from her. Unable to deal with that on top of everything else in her life, she packed her bags and headed home to her parents.
Bryce had been called a lot of things in his life, most of them he wouldn’t repeat. One thing he’s never been called was a quitter. He’d proven time and time again that when he set his mind to something, he succeeded at it. It might take some persistence and a little hard work, but he never gave up until it paid off.
Bryce knows one way or another he was getting his wife back. He’d have to fight harder than he ever had before, but he’d do it for Addison, for them. He’d play dirty if he had to because he wasn’t going to lose. He was playing to win.
Review by Susan:
Before I start can I just say that I LOVE Bryce, have done since we first met him. I always thought he was just a bit misunderstood, I couldn’t wait to read his story and I wasn’t disappointed. I was sucked straight into the story and spat out at the end! I was disappointed in Bryce for not confiding in Addison about what he was doing and I wished Addison opened up about what she was going through sooner but then we wouldn’t have seen them fight for their marriage if they had. I loved that we got to meet back up with the rest of the family from previous books and got another glimpse into their lives. I don’t want to give anything away so that’s all I will say, a great conclusion to a fab series. I’m a bit sad it’s all over, though I can’t wait to see what the author comes up with next. I wish I could give this more than 5 Stars, please give this series a go, you won’t be disappointed.
* * Reviewed for Sweet & Spicy Reads-ARC provided for honest review * *
Excerpt from Playing For The Win (Portwood Brothers, #3)
© Emily Robertson 2016
Bryce grabbed the bag of food and pulled out several cartons of spicy food. He passed over a carton and a set of chopsticks and the reached in and grabbed the napkins. Addison opened the lid and wasted no time digging into her drunken noodles. After several bites, she glanced over to see what was in Bryce’s container. Shaking his head laughing at her, he held out a bite of his pad thai for her.
“How are your noodles?” he asked gesturing toward her meal.
“It’s perfect. Just what the doctor ordered.”
The pad of Bryce’s thumb ran across the corner of her mouth, “Sauce,” he explained. Their eyes held as she watched him take his thumb and suck the sauce off and then smiled at her.
When she didn’t return the smile, his shoulders slouched and he ducked his head. “Sorry.” Addison hated those words. She’d heard a lifetime of sorries over the past year. She wasn’t even sure what people were sorry for anymore. Even now she didn’t know. “What for?”
She saw his shoulders rise and fall with the deep breath he took, “Hell, I don’t even know anymore. What do you need me to be sorry for to make this better, to make it so you’ll come home?”
Her first reaction was to get defensive. Why would someone apologize when they didn’t even know why? However, in her time home, Addison knew that she was just as much to blame for the breakdown. “Bryce…” The rest died on her lips when she looked up and saw the pained look in his eyes. The hurt he was feeling.
“Baby, tell me. I don’t know what’s going on with you anymore. I just feel like I can’t fix it, I can’t fix us unless I have a clue what I’m fixing.”
On a whisper, Addison said, “It’s not fixable, Bryce.”
“Everything’s fixable. I just want us back, and I know I fucked it all up with the whole Renee thing,” at the mention of Renee’s name she flinched and retreated a bit more into herself.
“Don’t do that.”
“Are you really asking me not to be hurt by that whole situation?” she asked hurt that he’d even suggest it. “You lied to me for who knows how long, and you still haven’t told me what’s going on.”
“You have every right to be hurt, but there’s bigger issues than that. This has been going on since-”
“Don’t you dare say it,” Addison interrupted before he could finish.
“Baby, you need to talk about it. You’ve never said a word. We went to the hospital and you didn’t say anything. I gave you space because I thought that was best, but I’m really doubting myself. Maybe I needed to push you to open up.”
Pulling her knees to her chest and hugging them, Addison tried to retreat inside. She had to get away from this conversation.
“Addison, look at me.”
She continued to look straight ahead and was trying to think of anything other than the conversation Bryce wanted to have. She’d just been told she’d never have kids, and he wanted to talk about the one child she did carry and lost. She couldn’t take it anymore, and she was leaving. She needed some space so she got up to leave, and was thrown off balance when Bryce reached out and pulled her into his lap.
“I wish you’d clue me in.”
“You wouldn’t get it anyway,” she thought to herself.
“I know I’m a little dense at times, but try me,” he told her.
Oh shit, that’d been out loud?
“I was there with you through it all, the joy and all the heartache. I still hurt too.”
Anger exploded inside her like nothing she’d felt before. She pushed away from him hard and yelled, “You don’t have a clue!”
“I think about Ellie all the time. I think about how old she’d be now, and what she’d be doing. I keep thinking how much trouble I’d be in because she’d probably have acted like me. It’d have served me right. A part of me is missing because she’s not here, but she wouldn’t want this to break us apart. She’d want us to be strong.”
Addison shook her head not wanting to hear it. She should say something, but she couldn’t form the words. Finally, something came. “I think I’m going to bed. I have an early flight.”
“Don’t do this. Please.”
Addison couldn’t handle anymore. She’d been hit hard at the doctor’s office, was dealing with the feelings being around Bryce again, and now he wanted to bring up the past. Climbing the stairs, she held the sob in until she crawled under the covers in the guest room. She wasn’t sure how long she’d cried, but when Bryce crawled in behind her and pulled her back into his chest, she didn’t try to fight him. She just let him comfort her. Eventually, her body stopped shaking, and she was able to fall asleep.
A Message from Emily Robertson
✦ I have literally tried to start this thing twenty times now. Each time I do, I go back and delete it. At first I thought it was because I couldn’t get the right feel for whatever I was writing down, but I’ve come to realize that it’s simply because I’ve finally reached the end, and I’m not ready. It’s so bittersweet to leave behind the Portwood Series. This series was so many things to me other than a book.
✦ Playing by the Rules is set around Payton who struggles with how to deal with her life after a head injury. When I started writing this book, I was frustrated with my own medical options for the same thing. I had been fighting with drug dependency, and I knew there had to be something else, but having nothing wasn’t an option. While coming to that realization, I also had to find a way to live with my memory, which wasn’t as good as it used to be. This book was a way for me to get my frustrations out and share what life is like living with chronic pain.
✦ I’ve said it before, but I never was going to write a book about Jackson. Wes was going to be the next book in the series. If you know Jax, though, you know he’s a pushy guy, and he usually gets what he wants. So when he decided he wanted his story told, that was it. Wes moved back to the backburner, and Jax was front and center. When he first meets Emma, he doesn’t know what to think about her, and I was really excited about that because I hate writing sex scenes. Say what?! A romance writer who doesn’t like writing sex scenes? It’s true. I thought I’d dodged a huge bullet. Then out of nowhere the two decide to throw me a loop and start up a friends with benefits relationship.
✦ Playing with Fire was a book that was written when my husband was deployed. This book kept me company on the long nights that I was alone. The fears and doubts that Emma faces are ones that I have had. The way I wrote Jax, a man who loves his country and career, that’s the way I see so many men and women who serve our country. The scenes where Jax is leaving for deployment were some of the hardest for me to write. They were hard because I had just stood by and watched the man I love pick up his gear and leave for war. I assured him in every way I could that I had everything covered back home and not to ever worry, and I felt him shake as he cried when he hugged me knowing I couldn’t cry for him. The military life is one that has many facets, and it’s so hard to show them all. I just hope that I was able to give a glimpse into the world.
✦ Bryce…I knew when I wrote Jackson’s book, I’d have to write Bryce. I didn’t want to. I tried not to. Honestly, I did. The subject matter in his book was something that wasn’t as easy for me as the other two. I’ve been blessed enough never to have lost a child, and I couldn’t draw from personal experience with that. Talking with close friends and going through that experience with them doesn’t make me an expert on the matter. Everyone grieves differently, and no one can imagine the pain that you feel when you lose a child. To add a failing marriage on top of that just made the situation even more difficult to handle. I really tried to be as sensitive to the situation as I could, and my heart breaks any time I hear of someone who is living through or with the loss of their child.
✦ The other hard part of this book was making the guy who I never saw having a lovable quality, have something that made people fall for him. If I didn’t like him, why would the readers? I can’t say I love Bryce, but he’s grown on me. Any guy who’s good with kids is all right in my book.
✦ So, where does this leave me? It leaves me free to work on new things. What am I working on? More Bryce. Blah! That’s right, I’m working on a novella about how he and Addison met and fell in love. After that, though, I’ll be going back to a series I’ve already started about a band. I had a blast writing the first book of the series, and I can’t wait to write the rest of them. If you’ve read any of my books, thank you so much for your support. I couldn’t do this without you. If I’m a new to you author, I love meeting new readers, so look me up online! Thank you all for the support and love. It makes the hard days easier and the easy days fun.