BOOK REVIEW: Fraternize (Players Game #1) by Rachel Van Dyken

BOOK REVIEW: Fraternize (Players Game #1) by Rachel Van DykenFraternize (Players Game #1)
by Rachel Van Dyken
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads


New York Times bestselling author Rachel Van Dyken kicks off a brand-new series in which romance is a game and love is a touchdown.

Emerson just made her dream come true as a professional cheerleader for her favorite pro football team. But even though the plus-size athlete is breaking down boundaries, she still has to contend with the massive rulebook. Carbs? Nope. Chocolate? Definitely not. Still, Emerson loves her curves, and she’ll rock the hell out of this job even if it kills her. Except for one mandate that is easier read than done…

No fraternizing with the players.

Problem one is Miller Quinton: Emerson’s first love, first sex, and the guy who still ignites her daydreams and R-rated fantasies. Thrown back together, Miller and Emerson feel the undeniable pull of passion again, even if the conflict that tore them apart seems insurmountable. Then there’s way-too-sexy Grant Sanchez. He has a serious reputation with the ladies, and when it comes to winning someone he wants, he doesn’t let anyone stand in his way.

Now Emerson is breaking every rule in the manual. But what she doesn’t know is that she’s part of a wicked little game—one that could steal both her dream and her heart.

The man kissed like he played—without apology and without fear.

With hilarious humor, lovable characters and a story line that was to die for, Fraternize became one of my favorites by Rachel Van Dyken.  I easily found myself emotionally invested and I couldn’t stop the gasps, screams, happy tears or ugly crying that happened.  This book was absolutely everything and I’ve come to realize that Rachel Van Dyken is the queen of love triangles.  Every single time she makes me fall for both of the guys and I end up loving the outcome, I don’t know how she does it!  

Things were looking up.
But I had to know the universe wasn’t going to be in my corner for much longer. You can only steal all the luck for so long. – Emerson

You guys, I absolutely loved Emerson!  She was strong, determined, worked her butt off and was such a good person.  I loved that we got to watch her dream come true of being a professional cheerleader.  But with her new job came a slew of rules that ranged from what she was allowed to eat to not fraternizing with the football players.  And while she thought the no fraternizing rule would be easy enough, that quickly changed when two men stepped into her life.

Me: I missed you.
Miller: That’s in the past.
Me: Deal.
Miller: And Em?
Me: Yeah?
Miller: I’m pretty sure, I missed you more . .

One of the guys was Miller Quinton, and from that first chapter we jumped back in time to when him and Emerson were in High School.  Stolen moments from Emerson and Miller’s past crashed into the current and it always stole my breath away.  Their memories were so powerful.  Not only had they been best friends since they were seven, but she even lost her virginity to him when they were teenagers.  We quickly saw that Miller was charming, sexy and he knew how to make Emerson smile.  So of course I jumped right on Team Miller!  With him being transferred to the football team that Emerson cheered for, I couldn’t wait to see them back together.  It didn’t matter that they were no longer friends, feelings like that don’t just go away!

“Why?” I had a hard time finding my voice as he slowly moved his head back up. It was impossible not to feel the heat from his body.
He stopped, looking me in the eye. “Because one day, he’s going to regret walking away from you. And I want to be there when it’s too late—when you’re in my arms, my bed instead.” – Emerson and Sanchez

But then Grant Sanchez walked into the story and he stole my breath too.  He made me laugh, smile and I loved his friendly personality.  He slowly started to invade Emerson’s world, since he was a football player on the team Emerson cheered for, and he knew what he wanted.  Emerson.  I loved that he messed with Miller, to help Emerson get back at him.  I loved that Sanchez helped pick her up, when her heart was hurting from Miller.  And I loved that he was not only a ton of fun, but constantly made Emerson laugh.  But there was a hiccup.  Sanchez was the hugest player ever, so could Emerson even trust him?  While watching the story unfold, there was a profound moment that I knew I completely trusted Sanchez.  But then I paused, I was now on Team Miller and Team Sanchez.  What’s a girl to do?

His demeanor changed around her.
And even though she would die before admitting it, hers changed around him.
She was less guarded—and she smiled. She fucking smiled.
I swallowed my hurt.
My pride.
And the breaking in my heart as I nodded toward him and mouthed, “
Friends.” – Miller to Sanchez

The fact that Miller and Sanchez were not only teammates but friends, proved all over again what amazing men they both were.  I wanted Miller and Sanchez to get their HEAs, because they both deserved it.  But the story came to the point, where I knew without a shadow of a doubt who I wanted Emerson to be with.  I felt guilty that I chose one of them, but I kept hoping the other would find true love too.  

What was happening?
What was I doing?
This wasn’t how the story was supposed to go.

So I definitely recommend Fraternize to everyone that adores romance, sports and love triangles done right.  But there’s so much more in this story that I didn’t even touch on.  The games were so much fun to read about!  I loved watching Emerson make friends with Kinsey, whom I adored.  And there was something in Emerson’s life, with her dad, that hit close to home with someone I love.  While her heart broke, mine did too and I ugly cried.  This book constantly made me run the gauntlet of emotions!  Especially with that ending, which was absolutely perfect.  On top of that we were even given an epilogue that has me beyond ecstatic for the next book!  I can’t wait to pick up Infraction, I just know it’s going to be fabulous!

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  1. T.H. Hernandez

    Yay!! So happy to read this! I’ve only read one book by RVD. It was good and I enjoyed it, but didn’t LOVE it like this! I will have to give this one a try!
    T.H. Hernandez recently posted…Teaser Reveal – FLEETING (The Nash Brothers) by Carrie AaronsMy Profile

    • Jen

      This is definitely my new favorite by her…..I actually went back and re-read so many of my favorite scenes when I finished that last page. I wasn’t ready to close the book, I loved these characters SO much. I’m so happy you’re going to give this one a try!

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