ARC REVIEW: Playing Dirty by C.L. Parker

I love a good enemies-to-lovers story usually.  What I like most about this trope is that the hero/ine are usually covering up love/lust in witty banter and antagonism. The fun is in reading how long before they give in to their feelings. Unfortunately, Playing Dirty didn’t do it for me. Here, I felt that Cassidy and Shaw really didn’t like one another.  Their banter was fun for the most part, but felt more like bratty siblings ribbing each other than a healthy rivalry between professionals. There was definitely sexual attraction as we learn a lot of that through their sexy private fantasies, but not much else was believable to me. I couldn’t see Cassidy, the straight-laced, ambitious sports agent, jumping head first into a sexual relationship with Shaw that threatens her career, even if she were horny for him. Shaw, I didn’t like him much at all. I didn’t find it endearing that he wouldn’t want to win the new client fair and square, rather use their attraction against Cassidy instead. Especially considering Cassidy’s main criticism of Shaw was that he wasn’t deserving of the coveted partnership because he hadn’t been at the company as long nor did he work as hard as she did.

The writing was good but the fact that I spent so much time in Cassidy or Shaw’s heads, felt like I was being told what was going on, not shown. That was with the exception of their sexy time.  On that level this book was HOT…panty-melting hot. I’m pretty sure my e-reader was smoking during the scene in the alley.
 Then there’s the cliffhanger ending, which honestly accounts for the biggest part of my issues with this book.  Because I was reviewing this book for NetGalley, I didn’t read other reviews beforehand, so I didn’t know a cliffhanger was coming.  I was peeved! When I saw that this was part 1 of a “trio”, I automatically assumed additional installments would be books for supporting characters we meet here, not a continuing story for Cassidy and Shaw. To be honest, I wouldn’t even have requested it on NetGalley if I knew that there would be a cliffhanger ending as I tend to wait to read serials once all the books are published. I just don’t like waiting between installments to know what happens next or how the conflict is resolved.
*ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review*
Rating:  ⭐️⭐️⭐️
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