Title: Gaming for Keeps (Agents of TRAIT #1)
Author: Seleste deLaney
Published Date: June 10th 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance
***THIS BOOK WAS PROVIDED TO NERD GIRL IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW***
Pen Holloway’s done with men—in real life.
Guys in game are so much less drama. But when her partner from Heroes of Fallen Gods invites her to the convention of the year, she panics. What if he’s another jerk? What if he’s not?
Cal Burrows is living his dream of being a spy.
One of TRAIT’s misfit spies, but still a spy. It’s the perfect job… until an arms dealer with a taste for blood invades his not-so-secret geek haven. All Cal wanted from ConDamned was to meet his on-line girl. Now, with the threat of mass murder looming, he’s forced to choose between keeping his mission a secret and protecting the girl of his dreams.
Despite their attraction, Pen can’t help but suspect Cal’s hiding something. She also can’t shake the feeling he’s not as much of a stranger as he seems.
Gaming for Keeps is a friends-to-lovers romance centered in the gaming world. I’m not a gamer, and some gaming-premised books make my eyes glaze over, however, Gaming for Keeps has just enough gaming for gamers, and more than enough non-gaming plot to keep the rest of us entranced. I’ve read many gamer-romances, and Ms. deLaney’s Gaming for Keeps is one of my top two for non-gamers!
Burnt beyond crisp in a past relationship, Penelope Holloway (Pen to her friends), is ready to give up on real-life men and stick to games. However, she finds her long-time online gaming pal—known only to her as Lohanas— intriguing. When he asks if she’d like to meet in person at a gaming convention, she reluctantly agrees to attend the gaming convention. The one caveat is that serendipity rules—if they meet and happen to figure out each other’s identity, then so be it.
Pen is a good-looking, witty, self-assured gal, and she is the perfect other half to Cal Burrows both on screen and in real life. Cal is a coder and a spy of sorts, and for a totally geeky nerd, he is hot! It is particularly fun how Ms. deLaney matched real-life Pen and Cal to their perfect virtual alter egos, Megara and Lohana, respectively. In this nerd-meets-nerd-and-falls-in-love story, there is also a subplot of the TRAIT team investigating and defusing the threats of a nefarious character at the gaming convention.
The quick-paced plot is easy to dive into, and the balance of action, romance and humor kept my interest. Gaming for Keeps does not provide the reader with much backstory or secondary character development; the format of a short story/novella doesn’t allow it. However, this story is packed with enough fun that it is easy to go with the flow and enjoy.
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