Tag: romance and second chances

Play On by Samantha Young – review and excerpt

Book: Play On

Author: Samantha Young

Series: standalone

Release date: 12 September 2017

Main characters: Nora O’Brien, Indiana native, living in Edinburgh, Aidan Lennox, musician and composer who throws Nora’s life into a tailspin.


Nora leaped at the chance to leave her small and sad life Indiana. It may or may not have been for he right reasons, but here she is. Unfortunately her new life in Edinburgh isn’t without its struggles either. 

When she makes friends with a little girl at the hospital where she volunteers, she also meets the uncle. Aidan Lennox. They’ve crossed paths before and she is just as troubled by him as she was the first time. He seems to want to know what makes her tick. Nora has been keeping people at bay for years and is not about to let her guard down now.

After a series of painful events, Nora is again alone, and Aidan is gone. Deciding that it’s time to finally get her life back on track, she makes inroads to fulfil her potential. Of course, when things are finally on an even keel, Aidan re-enters her life. And he’s not happy. In fact, if looks could kill, she’d be dead on sight. Her heart was broken but he’s looking at her like she’s the devil. What a mess…

Why you should read it: I love Samantha Young. Her books are fresh, thoughtful and packed full of pathos and passion. (I’m feeling the alliteration a hope you are too!) This book was no exception. Nora is young and cast adrift at an early age and basically left to get on with life. Despite this, she was a lovely (if fearful) character. She did her best to be of help to others and tried hard not to dwell on the failings in her life. Aidan was her complete opposite – older and more reassured in his success, he bolstered her until he disappeared. He’s also a bit of a lug head but I shan’t spoil it for you. Read to find out why! The chemistry in the book was believable and incredibly hot. There are obstacles for the pair, but I really enjoyed the pace of the book, so it didn’t frustrate me too much.

What you may not like: Not much – it was a well-structured story that made me smile and made me sad in equal measure. Perhaps Nora was a little too in her head at times, but considering what she’s been through, it’s no surprise. I hope you can understand dialogue written in the Scots vernacular! I loved it – it gave it an authenticity and didn’t distract me at all. It made the voices that much more vivid.

Rating: 5/5 for a truly enjoyable read. I love anything set in Edinburgh. It’s one of my favourite cities. Read on for an excerpt…

…that night as I tried to sleep, I couldn’t for worrying about how vulnerable I really had made myself to a man I didn’t really know. When I was with him, those fears drifted away, but being alone and having time to think about it brought them all back. 

And yet … there wasn’t only the fear. There was relief.

Relief I never expected to feel.

I’d spewed out all the ugliness I’d ever committed and he didn’t run away. He held me and comforted me and looked at me like I wasn’t a bad person after all.

My attachment to him was deepening, as my attachment to Sylvie had. And that, I knew, was incredibly dangerous. Just as my attachment to the kids at the hospital, some of whom were terminal. Spending time with them was, at best, an act of kindness, at worst, an act of self-flagellation.

But to let myself fall for Aidan Lennox when he himself was at his most vulnerable was masochistic. He was a man with a huge life beyond me, and as soon as he stopped feeling so haunted, so alone, surely little Nora O’Brien from Nowhere, Indiana, would be left behind.

As if my thoughts had conjured him, the door to the shop opened, drawing me up off the counter. My heart beat faster as Aidan walked in. He closed the door behind him and stared across the shop at me.

And I knew that my self-flagellation wasn’t over.

I couldn’t run away from him.

I didn’t want to.

Drawn to him in a way I couldn’t explain, I walked slowly toward him, and he to me. We met in the middle of the shop. As soon as I was within touching distance, he put his hand on my waist to draw me even closer. My breath caught as our eyes locked and it took me a second or two to find the ability to ask, “What are you doing here?”

“I wanted to see you. Make sure you’re okay.”

I rested my hand on his arm, the one that held me close, and nodded. “I think so.”

He frowned, reaching up with his free hand to brush his thumb over my cheek in that way that made my knees tremble. “I couldn’t sleep last night for worrying about you.”

And I saw it. What I’d been trying so hard not to see.

I saw that he wanted me … like I wanted him.

I was at war with myself, thinking he should probably leave but wanting him to stay. More than anything I didn’t want to hurt him. Again.

However, maybe friendship was the key. We could be there for each other without turning it into something that would be incredibly painful when it was inevitably over. Friendship, I could survive. We both could.

“Aidan, I—”

“Ah, good the shop isn’t on fire.” My boss’s voice broke the moment as she strode in.

Aidan’s eyebrows were drawn together, as if he knew I was in a battle with myself and the side he wanted to lose was winning.

“Oh, hello.” Leah stopped beside us and I gently extricated myself from Aidan’s grasp. I scowled when I saw my boss’s eyes running over him hungrily. I felt sorry for her fiancé. “I’m Nora’s boss—Leah.” She held out a hand, grinning flirtatiously. “Are you the man with the delicious voice from the other week there?”

Aidan shot me a scowl. “No, I’m not.”

Thank you, Leah. “That was Roddy.” I looked up at Aidan. “Jim’s best friend.”

Before he could react, Leah gave a huff of laughter. “Who knew you were hiding all these gorgeous men, Nora.” She wagged her finger at me like I’d been naughty and then turned back to Aidan. “I didn’t quite catch your name.”

“Aidan.” He gave her a curt nod and stepped back, his eyes falling on me. “This isn’t over, Pixie.”

His determined expression froze me in place as I continued to fight with myself and what I wanted. Because I swear to God, every time that man called me Pixie, I wanted to show him just how naughty I could be.