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Rules of the Game by Lori Wilde
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Rules of the Game

by Lori Wilde

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Stardust, Texas (book 2)

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Very good book, with two people who have some pain from their pasts to let go of before they can have the future they want. Jodi is the maid of honor at her sister's wedding, but the mere thought sends her into a mental freeze. A year ago she was left standing at the altar and getting past it has been a challenge. On the advice of her therapist she blings herself up and crashes a celebrity wedding in Dallas. Caught without the invitation she swiped from her future brother-in-law, she is saved from embarrassment by Jake, who makes her his date for the evening.

The attraction between them is instant and hot. Jodi has spent her life being the "good girl" and following all the rules. Indulging in a one night stand with a hot guy is not normal behavior for her, but she figures she'll never see him again. Jake has given up on casual hookups but something about Jodi has him ignoring that rule for this one night. He'd really like to get to know her better, but she isn't cooperating. After they part ways, neither has much luck in forgetting the encounter. Then Jodi is horrified to discover that her walk on the wild side is none other than the best man at her sister's wedding. That means she's going to have to work with him over the next few weeks, while keeping the truth from her family.

I liked Jake right from the start. He doesn't want a meaningless fling and tries his best to get to know Jodi. He can't stop thinking about their night together and is thrilled when he finds her again. Being with Jodi makes him feel alive again after the tragic death of his wife three years earlier. At first he isn't sure if he's truly ready for a new relationship, but the more time he spends with her, the happier he is. He knows that it will be a challenge to overcome Jodi's reluctance, but he is determined. I loved seeing him try to follow her rules while still pursuing her the way he wants to. He's sweet and protective and wants to take care of her. The only thing holding him back is the grief and guilt he feels over his wife's death. As he gets closer to Jodi, he opens up to her about his feelings, which helps him but creates some misunderstandings with her. I loved his big moment at the end, which was sweet and romantic and really funny, too.

Jodi is a bit of a complex character. Like her sisters, she was adopted, though she remembers her earlier life with a neglectful mother. Being adopted by the Carlyles was like a dream come true for her. She never wanted to do anything that would make them regret it, so she was always careful to follow all the rules. She also watched over everyone else. Making sure she had her life under control was very important to her, right down to the way she ate her food. When her fiance jilted her, it wrecked her self confidence and made her feel that she had lost control of her life. Her therapeutic crashing of the wedding was only supposed to be the wedding itself, not a fling with one of the guests. Her encounter with Jake affected her control in a way nothing had before, and it freaked her out. Having him show up in Stardust threatened her control all over again. I loved seeing Jake bring her out of the shell she has built around herself, as she slowly learns to let go a little at a time. Jake works his way into her heart, but she's afraid that his feelings for his late wife will keep him from loving her. I loved seeing her take the risk in the end.

Also as part of the story was Jodi's turn with the mysterious hope chest that was found in the first book, Back in the Game. Jodi finds a bottle of perfume that only she and Jake can smell. The chemistry between Jodi and Jake is hot, but that heat seems to burn even hotter when she wears it. There are a couple of really steamy scenes that come about because of it.

The secondary characters are also great. We get a little more of Breeanne and Rowdy from the first book. Rowdy is the catalyst to get Jake to Stardust as he tags Jake as his best man and also advises him about moving forward through his grief. Jodi's closeness with her sisters plays a big part also, as each of them has something to say about her relationship with Jake. Jake's friend and teammate Talbot is also present, with an attitude that is just begging for karma to catch up with him. I can't wait until it does! ( )
  scoutmomskf | Feb 3, 2016 |
How can you not like a book that has witty , sarcastic banter between two people? Jodie , who was dumped at the altar over a year ago decides to be reckless one day. She dresses herself up, bling and all and off she goes to do something crazy . What a great idea she has by crashing a wedding , or so she thinks . To her rescue is the dashing yummy Jake Coronado, who helps her get into the wedding. Oh my Jodie, what have you gotten yourself into?

The story moves at a great pace with characters who are attracted to each other with a chemistry that sends sparks flying. I always love reading Lori's books because they are so funny and utterly charming . There are lots of surprises in the book and both characters have let's say "baggage" they need to work on. It's a love story at its best with strong characters, laughter and even a mysterious magical hope chest . Will Jodie and Jake have a lasting relationship? Can they overcome their past hurts and find love? It's another great story from one of the best romance authors around . ( )
  Harley0326 | Sep 18, 2015 |
Let me preface this review, admitting I have not completed the story as yet. I do intend to finish it, but in book or ebook format, not audio. The 4 stars are based on the average review prior to this posting, which is giving Ms. Wilde more than a 'benefit of the doubt' nod, and relying on earlier readers' opinions more so.

I had to stop listening to this audiobook. Ms. Critt's voice and performance forces me to post a review even though I'm only one-fourth of the way through. C J Critt's vocal nuances are anything but; the pacing is slow, bordering on pedantic; the elocution, intermittently sarcastic and ironic. This isn't the first book I was unable to listen to, due to the talent assigned to its performance, and it won't be the last. It's just that Ms. Critt has been the most frequent of the women narrators to do so. When the voice of narration results in the listener believing he/she has listened to the story before and they tune out the particular words of an author, only to listen for the commonly used words among all, it is time to point and say, "The Emperor wears no clothes." (no stars for narrator C J Critt).
( )
  Conkie | Aug 8, 2015 |
This book is the second in romance writer Lori Wilde's Stardust, Texas, series. Stardust is of course a fictional town, located "two and a half hours" east of Dallas (page 4) and "thirty miles" southwest of Jefferson (page 111). Although the distances aren't quite right, I like to think it's modeled on Gladewater, the "Antique Capital of East Texas." Heroine Jodi Carlyle's adoptive parents own an antique store, and she runs Boxcars and Breakfast (a B&B made out of train cars), which sounds like the kind of place you might find in Gladewater.

Once again, Wilde has woven a number of romance tropes (which I've italicized) into this story. Jodi is a New Years Day jilted bride, and her therapist recommends crashing a wedding one year later, which is also a couple days after she turns 30. (Thus the epigraphs at the beginning of each chapter that start out "Jodi Carlyle's Wedding Crasher Rules.") At the high-profile wedding in Dallas, she nearly gets kicked out, but is saved by widower athlete Jake Coronado. Jodi uses a bit of disguise or mistaken identity by not telling him her real name, but decides a one-night fling with him would be good therapy too. Hot sex ensues.

Naturally they run into each other again in Stardust - turns out Jake is the last-minute best man for Jodi's sister's intended! (The romance of Jodi's sister Brianne Carlyle and Jake's Dallas Gunslingers baseball team manager Rowdy Blanton is the subject of the first book in the series, Back in the Game. Jodi and Breeanne have two more sisters, also adoptees, and Wilde typically has four books as the core of each of her small-town Texas series. It's not necessary to have read the first book to enjoy this one, though.)

Jake and Jodi will be seeing a lot of each other since Jodi is the maid of honor for the Valentine's Day wedding. Of course, they both have scars to deal with before they can live happily ever after.

I enjoyed this somewhat-predictable story because Lori Wilde is a master of setting and description. I started out listening to the audio version performed by actress C. J. Critt. Her reading was fine, and I enjoyed her giving characters appropriate Texas accents. However, it was a bit slow, and given that I need to read 24 books in the same period of time where I've only been able to read just 10-14 in the past, I switched to the e-book when it became available at one of my libraries.

© Amanda Pape - 2015

[The audiobook and e-book were borrowed from and returned to local public libraries. This review also appears on Bookin' It.] ( )
1 vote riofriotex | Jul 25, 2015 |
Contemporary Romance

Stardust, Texas

Jodi Carlyle breaks out into a cold sweat when the word “wedding” is uttered. It has been a year since she was dumped at the altar and two days after turning 30. She decides it is time for her to break some rules, which she does by dressing to the nines, hiring a limo, and crashing an upscale wedding.

While there she catches the eye of Jake Coronado who is the new star of the Dallas Gunslingers. He is sexy and hot and he also stays by her side all evening. Jodi figures he is the perfect fling. She also thinks after a wild weekend where they do everything and then some and with him thinking her name is Gwendolyn she will never have to see him again. She thinks wrong.

Jake is the best man in Jodi’s sister’s wedding. He is also just as seductive as ever. Jake is also determined to turn their one-night stand into happily-ever-after.

This is a story that will pull readers in and also pull on their heartstrings. This one has some amazing characters that make for a book that is very hard to put down. Readers will both want to take their time reading it and also reading fast just to see how things turn out between Jodi and Jake. This is the second book in the series and while it can be read as a standalone readers will find it much more enriching and enjoyable if they read the first book first. It will also have readers wanting to return to Stardust and hoping to have another book from Stardust very soon. This is an author that never disappoints and writes some wonderful small town romances that will have readers remembering them long after they finish each book. This is definitely a must read.

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  lrhubble | Jun 10, 2015 |
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Critt, C. J.Readermain authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 006231128X, Mass Market Paperback)

A jilted bride meets a superstar baseball player in  this newest Stardust, Texas novel from New York Times bestselling author Lori Wilde

Just uttering the word "wedding" makes Jodi Carlyle break out into a cold sweat. So a year after she'd been dumped at the altar, and two days after turning the big 3-0, she decides to break some rules—by dressing to the nines, hiring a limo,and crashing a swanky wedding . . .

 . . . Where she catches the eye of the Dallas Gunslingers' new star hitter Jake Coronnado. He's hot. He's sexy. He sticks by her side all evening. He's the perfect fling. After a wild weekend, where they do everything and then some, Jodi thinks she'll never have to see him again . . . hey, she's even told him her name is Gwendolyn! But she thinks wrong.

Because guess who's the best man at Jodi's sister's wedding? And guess who's still as seductive as ever? And guess who's determined to turn their one-night fling into happily-ever-after?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 02 Jul 2015 06:44:39 -0400)

"Just uttering the word "wedding" makes Jodi Carlyle break out into a cold sweat. So a year after she'd been dumped at the altar, and two days after turning the big 3-0, she decides to break some rules--by dressing to the nines, hiring a limo,and crashing a swanky wedding...where she catches the eye of the Dallas Gunslingers' new star hitter Jake Coronnado. He's hot. He's sexy. He sticks by her side all evening. He's the perfect fling. After a wild weekend, where they do everything and then some, Jodi thinks she'll never have to see him again...hey, she's even told him her name is Gwendolyn! But she thinks wrong...because guess who's the best man at Jodi's sister's wedding? And guess who's still as seductive as ever? And guess who's determined to turn their one-night fling into happily-ever-after?"-- From back cover.… (more)

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