Flashback Friday Favorite: Playing for Keeps (Neighbor from Hell #1) by R.L. Mathewson

Posted July 1, 2016 by sweptawaybyromance in Review / 0 Comments

Flashback Friday Favorite: Playing for Keeps (Neighbor from Hell #1) by R.L. MathewsonPlaying for Keeps by R. L. Mathewson
on April 29th 2011
Genres: Contemporary, Romantic Comedy
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Done with being the world's biggest pushover, Haley decides that things are going to start changing. The first thing that she was going to do was to put a stop to all the crap that her aggravating neighbor put her through. What she hadn't expected was to be sucked into his world, but Haley has a game plan and she won't let herself forget what the bad boy next door is capable of.

The last thing that Jason expected was for his shy little neighbor to go Rambo on him over some ruined flowers, but he quickly got over it once he realized exactly what he'd been missing. After he decides to take her under his wing, he can't help but notice how nicely she fits in his life. Now the only thing left to do was to convince her that this is anything but a game.


Karla says: 

5 Stars! The ideal blend of romance, humor, and spice!

I loved everything about this book. Jason and Haley’s first interaction, their friendship that becomes more, the falling out, the reconciliation, and lordy lordy…their time between the sheets was steamy and sensual. The writing is wonderful, plenty of witty dialogue, and it included a delightful array of amusing secondary characters.

It’s the perfect length; it was enough story that you’re committed to the characters, yet the plot is not overwhelming. I felt very much at ease with Jason and Haley’s relationship, it was comfortable and developed rather nicely. The time they spent together as buddies made me adore them even more. Jason’s love affair with food had me rolling my eyes and laughing out loud, and Haley’s transformation from shy schoolteacher to the brawling grasshopper with her “fits of fury” was a picture I could not get out of my head. I wanted them to be together as more than just friends, but the pace that was set for them to get to that point in their relationship fit the characters and their circumstances.

At one point I felt rather annoyed with Haley and her stubbornness when it came to forgiving Jason. Yes, he could be a jerk, but the good in him outweighed the bad. When the realization hits her that she might lose him forever, she uses tactics that was reminiscent of Jason when we first met him…. his grasshopper learned well!

I didn’t want Jason and Haley’s story to end, I wanted more time with this adorable couple, but all good things must come to an end. However, R. L. Mathewson gives readers a satisfying epilogue that warmed my heart and put a huge smile on my face.

Steffi says:

5 Stars! It has been a very long time since I laughed so hard and had so much fun with a book.

Haley and Jason are neighbors and colleagues but they don’t get along very well.  Or at least it feels that way for Haley. Jason is loud, ignorant and quite selfish and Haley never complains. But one day it’s simply enough and Haley decides to change her life and starts speaking up for herself. Surprisingly, she and Jason strike up a friendship. That friendship and Jason’s influence help Haley to free herself and be the strong woman that she always knew she was. All that sounds really serious and emotional but it is not. R.L. Mathewson tells this story with a wit and freshness that blew me away and made me an instant fan; and I mean FAN as in: I’m on an R.L. Mathewson marathon right now, going from one book to the next.

Jason is a very quirky, hot hero with a serious food obsession and I instantly fell in love with him, even though he might scare me to death in real life….I’d probably think he’s some psycho! In the book and with Haley it just works and they make a beautiful, if slightly weird, couple.

The situations Haley and Jason find themselves in are not very believable but so well told that they are hilariously funny. At the same time, the author manages to include a romantic sweetness and sexiness that make the book sensual, funny and romantic at the same time.

Playing for Keeps feels whole and complete, there is nothing I didn’t like or wish for. It has a beautiful, heart-warming epilogue; it’s a very funny book but serious when it needs to be and sexy at just the right moment. Please give this a try, it’s definitely worth it!!

*Originally posted 2/12 * 


About R. L. Mathewson

R.L. Mathewson was born and raised in Massachusetts. She is known for her humor, quick wit and ability to write realistic characters that readers can easily relate to. She currently has several paranormal and contemporary romance series published including A Neighbor From Hell series.

Growing up, R.L. Mathewson was painfully shy and was known to hide behind a book or two. After high school she attended college, worked as a bellhop, fast food cook, and a museum worker until she decided to take an EMT course. Working as an EMT helped her get over her shyness as well as left her with some fond memories and some rather disturbing ones that from time to time show up in one of her books. When a back injury left her unable to work as an EMT any longer she began working in Residential homes only to discover that she just didn’t have the stomach for the job.

Today, R.L. Mathewson is the single mother of two young children that keep her on her toes and enjoy scaring the heck out of her with their antics. She has a bit of a romance novel addiction as well as a major hot chocolate addiction and on a perfect day she combines the two. When she’s not writing she’s playing online Scrabble, coloring with her kids, or trying to figure out how one of her kids managed to get a chocolate pudding footprint on the ceiling.

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