WELL PLAYED (WELL MET #2)
BY JEN DELUCA
Stacey is jolted when her friends Simon and Emily get engaged. She knew she was putting her life on hold when she stayed in Willow Creek to care for her sick mother, but it’s been years now, and even though Stacey loves spending her summers pouring drinks and flirting with patrons at the local Renaissance Faire, she wants more out of life. Stacey vows to have her life figured out by the time her friends get hitched at Faire next summer. Maybe she’ll even find The One.
When Stacey imagined “The One,” it never occurred to her that her summertime Faire fling, Dex MacLean, might fit the bill. While Dex is easy on the eyes onstage with his band The Dueling Kilts, Stacey has never felt an emotional connection with him. So when she receives a tender email from the typically monosyllabic hunk, she’s not sure what to make of it.
Faire returns to Willow Creek, and Stacey comes face-to-face with the man with whom she’s exchanged hundreds of online messages over the past nine months. To Stacey’s shock, it isn’t Dex—she’s been falling in love with a man she barely knows.
I admittedly skipped Well Played originally and went straight to Well Matched. I had found Stacey annoying in Well Met and wasn’t really excited for her book. After reading Well Matched and realizing she was going to be a huge part of Well Travlled, I was actually really curious about her story with Daniel and liked her cameos in April and Mitch’s story. I’m glad I gave this book a chance because it didn’t disappoint.
Stacey was this kind and bubbly person who was just a ray of sunshine. I loved her positive attitude and could relate to her pushing her emotions down and not wanting to offload them on her friends. She was stuck in this gilded cage of her hometown by choice after her mom had gotten sick and longed for change without even realizing it. Que the super hot kilted man who travels the renaissance circuit. Or so she thought.
The whole catfishing plot wasn’t my favorite and I could see how others wouldn’t like how fast Stacey got over it. To me though, it fit her character. She let things roll right off her back and while he did lie which was not great, Daniel saw her for who she was and really took the time to know her. They had great chemistry and banter even over theirs texts/emails. The only thing I couldn’t get past was Stacey making the grand romantic gesture instead of Daniel. That man should’ve been begging for forgiveness on his knees even if it didn’t fit with his character. I would’ve liked to have seen that growth in him.
The Willow Creek renaissance fair is always such a great setting and was really expanded upon in this book. We got to see it through Stacey’s eyes, someone who had been there since the conception of it. She really loved the fair and all it entailed. DeLuca has officially sold me on needing to go to one myself. The author also did an amazing job with the pacing of the story. It was never boring nor did it drag. I also think it’s incredible how this whole love story was told via emails and texts and was so believable. It can be hard to have two people who aren’t even on the page together fall in love. We saw Daniel and Stacey truly fall in love though.
While I wasn’t originally interested in Stacey’s story, I’m really glad I went back for it. DeLuca did an amazing job and I now look forward to Stacey showing up (along with Benedict!) in the other books.