I’m almost positive that I’ve said this about every Christina Lauren book, but they just keep getting better and better! I didn’t think anything could top the first book of the Beautiful Series, Beautiful Bastard. However, then the second book, Beautiful Stranger, topped it. Then, I didn’t think anything could top Beautiful Stranger, then, surprise! Beautiful Player came along and completely destroyed my heart and my mind and my soul—in the best ways possible. Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings (collectively Christina Lauren) have ruined me for other books for awhile. I have a massive book hangover and I want a Will Sumner for myself, even though he’s a fictional character.
This book follows Max Stella’s business partner Will Sumner. In the past few novels and novellas of the Beautiful Series, Will has been described as the one, true player. He schedules his sex dates, he doesn’t get attached to women, and he never, ever falls in love. He’s all about sex and making sure he’s satisfied. Women don’t matter, and to him, there will never be the one, no matter how much previous protagonists Max Stella and Bennett Ryan protest.
Enter Hanna “Ziggy” Bergstrom—the nerdy, graduate student and scientist who happens to be Will Sumner’s best friend Jensen’s little sister. She grew up knowing Will and was always fascinated by his charm and his playboy ways and often dreamt of what it would be like to be the girl of his desires for just one night. However, after Jensen confronts Hanna about her habits to spend all day of everyday researching in the science lab for her job, Hanna (per Jensen’s instructions) calls Will, who she hasn’t seen in years, to help her out of this slump.
Hanna wants to have fun, wants to date, and wants to be sexy, but she can’t help but feel this massive attraction toward Will. And Will, who swore that he would never fall for a girl, finds himself falling for Hanna more quickly than he can catch his breath.
Their entire relationship consists of “does she like me” and “does he like me” more than just for sex. They both want more from the other, more than sex, and they keep reading the opposite in each other. Because Hanna thinks Will wants to keep his sex schedule open and be with other women, she acts indifferent even though she’s desperate to be his. And Will is so in love with Hanna that he can barely function, but because she keeps saying that their arrangement is just friends with benefits, he can’t tell her that he has barely even thought of another woman (much less hooked up with one) since she came stumbling into his life after so many years.
This novel consisted of so much confusion on both of the main character’s parts. Hanna was so honest with Will from the very beginning, spewing facts and questions and random thoughts, but when it came to feelings, she couldn’t open up. And Will always had this “I don’t care” attitude that he almost couldn’t deal with the feelings that surrounded him when dealing with Hanna. The lack of proper communication and honesty when it came to their true feelings was astounding and absolutely captivating to read. The authors truly knew how to capture the confusion of true love and the confusion of knowing what the other person in the relationship thinks and feels.
Just like I’ve stated tons of times about these authors, they truly know how to create characters that grip you from the very first page. I feel like I connected with Hanna from the very beginning. She’s a nerdy girl who is committed to her studies and doesn’t get out of her own head enough to form a bond with anyone. Even though she’s had sex before, she’s clueless about it and sexuality in general. She’s open and honest and funny and has no filter. She was a joy to read. Out of all the characters these authors have written, I think she was tailored for me the most.
And Will. Lovely Will. Before reading this novel, I knew whenever his story came that it would be epic. Anyone that denies love so strongly is sure to have an epic love story. And he did. When reading the other novels, I didn’t feel a connection to Will. I thought he was a bit arrogant and rude, but after reading this novel, he’s one of my favorite male characters ever. He fell for Hanna so quickly and was the perfect mixture of jealous and possessive and sexy and sweet. He was the full package, and he’s now in the running for the sexiest book boyfriend ever. I loved how attentive he was toward Hanna and would literally do absolutely anything for her if she even breathed. It was adorable. He’s adorable.
The banter in this novel, especially between the male characters, had me rolling with laughter. Bennett, Max, and Will are such charming characters, and their dialogue proves how perfect these authors can write. For example…
“What are you doing?” I asked, wary.
He shushed me, hitting speaker so we could both hear the call ringing. Bennett’s voice answered on the other end. “Max.”
“Ben,” Max said, leaning back in his chair with a giant grin. “It’s finally happened.”
I groaned, resting my head on my hand.
“You got your period?” Bennett asked. “Congratulations.”
“No, you twat,” Max said, laughing. “I’m talking about Will. He’s gone arse over tits for a girl.”
A loud slap sounded in the background and I imagined Bennett’s desk had just received a very enthusiastic high-five. “Fantastic! Does he look miserable?”
Max pretended to study me for a beat. “As miserable as they come…”
As all Christina Lauren novels go, the book contained tons of sex scenes—however, just like all the other books, they are tasteful and not awkward in the slightest. The sex scenes don’t make you cringe and they make you want more from the scene and from the characters. They are sexy and hot and completely sweet. I think during the sex scenes are when the characters are the most raw and honest—especially in this book. During the sex scenes is when Will especially shined. It was where his thoughts and love for Hanna truly showed. These women are masters of writing sex scenes!
I read this book in a day and I’m so disappointed that it’s over. It truly is the best book in the series so far, and possibly, one of the best books I’ve ever read. I can’t get it, the characters, the situations, the love off my mind! I rated it 5/5 stars on Goodreads, but truthfully, it deserves so much more. A million stars, perhaps. This book is one of my favorites and I have a feeling it will be for awhile!
Beautiful Player is one of those novels that truly grips your heart. I laughed, I smiled, and at some points, I even teared up. It was a joy to read and experience. I’d recommend this book to anyone who loves romance, loves tasteful sex scenes, and loves a book that’s unlike anything you’ve ever read before.