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An alternative cover edition for this ISBN can be found here.

He’s a player.

He plays the bass with expert fingers. He plays women with intoxicating charm. And he’ll play me with the ease of a virtuoso.

Who better to teach me to play than the master himself?

I’m his model student, front row, pencil sharp. Pick up lines? I’ve got them. Free drinks? By the dozen. Kissing? Let me grab my chapstick.

But the most valuable lesson I’ve learned is that there’s so much I don’t know. Like why his touch sets off a chain reaction straight to my nethers. Or how I’m certain each kiss is the best I’ll ever have, until the moment his lips take mine again.

There’s so much I don’t know.

Like the fact that I’m only a bet.

But we are what we are. He’s a player, through and through.

And I’m the fool who fell in love with him.

*Standalone romantic comedy and part of the Red Lipstick Coalition Series*

337 pages, Paperback

First published September 17, 2018

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About the author

Staci Hart

62 books6,069 followers
I was the kid who stayed inside to read.

As a four-eyed nerd with a bad perm, I was no one’s dodgeball pick, but I had a lot of friends. Frodo and Bilbo, for instance. Kristy, Stacey, Claudia and the gang (iykyk). Once, in the third grade, I wrote a teen murder mystery inspired by Christopher Pike. On solving my mystery in twelve pages, I decided I was a terrible writer and should never, ever do that again.

Fortunately, I didn’t take my own advice.

I write romance for that feeling you get at the end, like you’re standing on top of a mountain with a backpack full of hundred dollar bills. I write romcoms because is there anything better than banter and grand gestures? I write because I love to create and I love words. I love books, and I love stretching my imagination. I love love, and if you do too, bring your coffee and have a seat. I think we’re gonna be friends.

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Facebook: http://facebook.com/stacihartnovels
Reader Group: http://facebook.com/groups/stacihart

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 622 reviews
Profile Image for Christy.
3,815 reviews32.4k followers
May 6, 2023
5 stars!

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“Everyone knows this. No one storms the castle for the príncipe. They come for la princesa.”

You know that giddy feeling you get while reading a book? The butterflies in your stomach, perma-grin on your face? That is the exact feeling I got while reading Staci Hart’s Player. I’ve read (and loved) a lot of her books, but this book has to be her best yet. I loved everything about it. Just thinking about it and writing this review is leaving me with a huge smile on my face.

Val is part of the RLC (red lipstick coalition) and is a strong and independent woman, but when it comes to men, she’s not so confident. She has some body issues from hitting puberty young and she’s never really felt comfortable in her own skin. She is an uber talented musician who plays in the orchestra of a broadway show. Along with Sam. Sam is Val’s crush. He plays the base. And that’s not all he plays. He’s all around a player. But she has it bad for him anyway.

Val never thought Sam would notice her, but he does. Sam genuinely likes Val and is attracted to her, but he doesn’t do relationships. Still, he offers to teach her a thing or two about dating.
Val just was. She was the most refreshing woman I’d met in years.

Every scene with Val and Sam… sigh. I loved the music, the dancing, Val’s hilarious pick up lines, and Sam was just everything. This book was everything! It was so much more than a romance. Sure, the love story between these two was fantastic, but Val coming into her own, learning to love and accept herself… It was the best part of the book. And she couldn’t have done it without Sam. Even Sam himself realized he was so much more than he thought he was. Sam isn’t just a player. Sam is capable of more than just some fun in the sack. I loved that they both were able to bring out the best parts of each other.

The romance between Val and Sam was sweet and tender, yet funny and heartwarming. I loved them together. As friends, as more, they just had this amazing chemistry. Chemistry with their music, their dancing, and especially between the sheets.
“You’re beautiful... You’re perfect. You don’t need me, Val. You’re fucking perfect.”

Player was fun, flirty, touching, steamy, and had so much heart. My heart is so full after reading. It had just enough angst to keep me completely enthralled through out and just enough emotion to give me the feels I need to make it a 5 star favorite. It’s a breath of fresh air and a beautiful romance I highly recommend! This will definitely be going on my top favorites of the year!
“You and I have become a fact.”

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Profile Image for Carol [Goodreads Addict].
2,351 reviews24.7k followers
October 10, 2018
“Follow the song of your heart.”

Player, by Staci Hart, is the first book I’ve read by this author. I have to admit that my initial draw to this book was the cover. I love romance stories based around music. My mother was a bass player. I’ve always had music in my life. But this book surprised me on every level. I was blown away. Staci Hart has all the words! I think the love scenes in this book were the most beautiful I’ve ever read. I want to admit that at first, I had mixed feelings. I had such a strong dislike for the hero’s friend, Ian. And, also, my feelings for the hero, Sam, were in question. But he won me over, ladies. I fell in love with him, right along with Val, our heroine.

Valentina (Val) Bolivar is a Broadway musician. She plays the trumpet. She has landed a permanent gig playing in the pit orchestra for Wicked which is where she first saw Sam, the bass player. She had an immediate crush on him. He was the most beautiful man she had ever seen. She couldn’t seem to string together two intelligent words around him. He was all she could think about! Val has not had much experience with men. She has some pretty severe body issues and lacks self confidence. She views Sam as way out of her league.

Sam Haddad is a gifted musician in so many ways beyond playing the bass. But he lacks the confidence to pursue any of his other interests. He noticed Val immediately when she joined the orchestra. Sam is a player. He doesn’t want to hurt women and is always truthful up front that he is not interested in anything beyond a night. He just doesn’t feel like he is relationship material. But when his friend, Ian, backs him into a corner forcing him to take a bet that would involve him dating Val for one month, he feels like he has to do it to protect her from Ian.

“Goal number one: protect her from Ian. Goal number two: protect her from me.”

upright bass gif

With Val’s inexperience, she and Sam enter into a one month teacher/student relationship. Sam will teach her how to date. But during that month, it’s Val that ends up teaching Sam how to open his heart.

“Val, you could stop a man’s heart dead in his chest. I wouldn’t lie to you, not about this, not about anything. I only wish you could see yourself the way I see you.”

Both Sam and Val love to swing dance. Their month is filled with so many firsts for them both. They dance, they laugh, and they fall in love. The lessons go so much further than Sam ever intended.

“Your pleasure is my pleasure. I didn’t know that your happiness would be my own, too. There’s so much I didn’t know.”

swing dancing gif

Val lives with three roommates and brace yourselves to fall in love with them as well. Rin, Amelia, Katherine and Val call themselves the Red Lipstick Coalition. These four tell each other everything. They are hilarious. The things they say!!! But most of all, they support each other in everything. I loved these women.

This book was amazing. Once Sam figured out what he really wanted, he was the best! Val was so much stronger than she thought she was. And the things this girl said!!! Her hilarious pick up lines had me laughing out loud. There is a little bit of everything within these pages, quirky humor, plenty of beautiful words that will make you sigh and swoon, and lots of sexy heat. The characters will make you fall in love.

The author says that Val’s roommate, Amelia, will get her own book next in “Booked.” I can’t wait!

“Love is music. You are music, and I want to learn every song, every note.”

For more about this book and so many more, come and visit me at Carol's Crazy Bookish World.

Profile Image for Cristiina♡Reads.
574 reviews3,304 followers
October 18, 2018
➳There is a beauty within reading a book you did not expect to love. Especially in a romance where inner beauty is what matters instead of physical appearances, where Sam and Val portray that in such a delightful and nostalgic way...

➳I want to start off by saying that I have officially become a true fan of Staci's writing... Though it is fast paced, her way of writing can also be considered a slow-burn angst between the characters, which is actually something that an ideal romance novel would be considered for me. There is also no denying that this particular story had me with so many mixed emotions, all the positive side of course and the reason being is the following:

Staci touches a topic and portrays a character in which a lot of individuals in the romance world do not take into consideration. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with previous romance novels that I have read in the past, but the picture of an ideal female character of whichever race, being skinny, and the "ideal" size is starting to become the "one" female character that everyone seems to write about. Staci went out of the box to write about a character such as Val, who has flaws just like everyone else, but these are flaws that are actually things that make her such a PERFECT individual. Just because she is a size sixteen gal, doesn't make her any less appealing then a size eight female character. In fact, her personality, her bright and vibrant smile is what causes Sam to admire her and fall for her. As previously mentioned, this is a topic in which I do not take very lightly, and my admiration for Staci has officially taken a root in my heart that will not diminish or go away. PREACH Staci for doing this...

A very important part about PLAYER is that Val is portrayed as an independent individual in the city, having the time of her life with her three best friends. No help from any male controlling her life, no parents keeping tabs on her. She is a shy mouse living this life filled with happiness. Her crush for Sam is something that makes her a more appealing female character to my eye, because as a shy person, Val is someone that stumbles with her words, gets nervous when her crush talks to her... She is just a jumble of joy, laughter, and nerves as well. Her persona overall is one that really does identify me, and many other female readers as well.

A trumpet player ?! That's what Val does... and can we just ADMIRE that about her please? It is just another perfect fact about Val that makes her so different to many other female characters I have read in other romances. The last time I read a book where the female character went out of the norm, was DRUMLINE by Stacy Kestwick, and I devoured that novel as well. With the way Val is about her passion towards music, and Sam having the same common interest, there is also no denying that both musicians are made for each other in a perfect and melodious way.
"The velvety timbre of his voice plucked a string in me, setting it vibrating, humming a note only he could produce..."

➳The romance that is constructed in this rom-com is one that I have been missing for sure. As you may have read, I didn't really talk about the story plot of this novel, the reason being is because it is just such a fantastic story plot in which expressing one single detail, derails everything that is Val and Sam. But that should not be a neglect of passing on this story, on the contrary, I indulge everyone to read this story. It is definitely a romance novel that I will not forget. My hands and eyes cannot wait to read what else Staci has in stock for her future releases!

➳ARC kindly provided by the publicist in exchange for an honest review...

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2A6X6mz
Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/2RJ05rX

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Profile Image for Patty ~ Wrapped Up In Reading Book Blog.
1,260 reviews9,961 followers
October 18, 2018
*****FOUR STARS*****
{ARC Generously Provided by Author}

The girl who had hidden her body from me had gone, replaced by a woman who wanted to be seen. Those places she hated were forgotten in the safety of my arms—she knew I wouldn’t betray her. She knew I wouldn’t make her feel anything but perfect and desired.

This was my ”try a new author” book and I was happy that the story ended up being pretty entertaining. PLAYER is another modern-day twist on the play, ”Pygmalion” . The Heroine, Val, is a sweet and socially awkward woman with a size 16 curvaceous body. Sam, is her secret crush and he’s the epitome of male perfection. Most of society would never imagine these two as a couple and that’s what made this story so endearing.

Sam and Val find themselves thrown together for a month under circumstances that I won’t elaborate on because I’m going to try to keep this review brief. Sam offers to help Val build her confidence and to give her tips on flirting with the opposite sex. Never does he try to change her appearance or her personality. Throughout the story, he tries to get her to see how he views her. To Sam, she is one of the most beautiful women he’s ever known, but years of bullying has shattered Val’s self-confidence.

While they carry on this friendship for nearly a month, their true feelings for each other start to surface. But will Sam’s secret end up tearing the two apart?

Here are my overall ratings:

Hero: 4
Heroine: 4.5
Plot: 4
Angst: 4
Steam: 4.5
Chemistry Between Hero & Heroine: 4

PLAYER is currently available.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2pF3ETl
Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/PlayerSH

Profile Image for Pavlina Read more sleep less blog  .
2,434 reviews4,573 followers
October 10, 2018
4 stars

Player is another fantastic story!Staci Hart delivers a romantic,sweet ,flirty and funny at times story.


I loved the characters and especially Val! I could easily relate with her and I could understand her.She is sweet but also fierce when it's needed.Sam is fantastic, I don't know where to start with him, he can know how to treat a girl!He is hot,sexy,charming and sweet.I love how he was with Val.They were so perfect for each other.

Their releationship was unique. I loved how they started and I felt their connection.I'm looking forward for the next girl!


Profile Image for Kandi Steiner.
Author 99 books9,917 followers
October 3, 2018
STOP. IT. Just... stop it, Staci Hart. I swear, there are very few authors that when I read them, they make me feel so inferior that I want to throw in the towel and never write a word again -- Staci is one of them. And Player is a perfect example of why. These characters, this love story, this entire Red Lipstick Coalition gang is just... perfection. And Staci Hart is still and forever the queen of romantic comedy.

I just want to start with Val because I can't NOT start with her. This is the first time I've ever seen so much of ME in a heroine that I cried in her monologues because I GOT HER SO HARD. No, I'm not hispanic and no, I'm not being swept off my feet by a gorgeous Sam. BUT, I faced all the same things she did growing up -- being teased about my curves and my weight, fighting that inner voice that told me men wouldn't want me because I wasn't a size zero, wanting to hide my body under baggy clothes so I could just blend and disappear. BEEN THERE, GIRL. It's been a long and winding journey for me to find some comfort in my skin, and even today, I battle insecurities with my weight and my curves.

And Staci Hart nailed that feeling.

So often, we fall into the romance in these books -- and trust me, the romance in this one is POW POW BAM. I mean... if you can get through the scene where Sam helps her go down on him without needing a fan blowing on your undercarriage, then you're just not human.

BUT, Player is more than a romance. It's about a woman finding inner strength and beauty, about her accepting who she is and standing tall and proud. It's also about swing dance, and friendship, and family. This book encompasses so much, and maybe that's why it was nearly impossible for me to put the book down once I started it. It's one you want to devour in the same measure that you want to take it in slowly, like a cookie or a piece of well-earned cheesecake.

Why am I suddenly hungry?

ANYWAY, let's switch gears to talk about Sam. Because I mean REALLY, STACI HART?! As if her Heros in past books haven't been absolutely perfect, she had to go and create this smirky son-of-a-b**** who just makes me want to throw my panties in a fire. Sam likes to come off as this unattached player, but he's actually this soft, sensitive, and yet possessive little teddy bear. The way he cares for Val, the way he does anything he can to make her feel safe and beautiful? Ugh... I mean, isn't that what we all want as a woman? A partner who makes us feel safe and worthy of love?

The two of them together are just magic. The entire book, I was laughing and smiling and flipping pages with an immovable pair of heart eyes permanently attached to my face. And that little cliffhanger about what's to come in Amelia's story?


Anyway, if you take one thing from this review, let it be this: Player is one romantic comedy you do not want to miss this fall. Move your TBR around, sacrifice some others and make room for a romantic, heartfelt story that will penetrate you bone deep and make you believe in love again. Staci Hart wins all the gold stars for this one.

If, as Hart says in the book, "Love is music," then Player is the song you put on repeat for days on end when you're feeling that certain someone in your heart. It's the melody you can't get out of your head, the lyrics that speak to your soul, and the band so talented you can't fathom what it would be like to actually see them play live. Player is a musical masterpiece -- and therefore, a masterpiece of love, too.

Profile Image for TJ *Book Twins Reviews*.
1,050 reviews2,412 followers
October 12, 2018
4.5 Just Once Stars

I adored Sam and Val’s story! This was such a fun read! One of my favorites from this author! This series of stand-alones is a true winner!

Here’s the breakdown:
The Red Lipstick Coalition returns! Val is a curvy, awkward, matter of fact girl who has a huge crush on one of coworkers. To her credit, Sam’s is the epitome of tall, dark, and handsome. His description had me sitting up and taking notice. After an embarrassing moment, that that catches Sam’s attention Val decides to break out her red lipstick and take a leap...almost literally.

What I loved:
The characters are diverse ❤️
The witty banter was so engaging.
Swing dancing looks and sounds like so much fun. I loved the setting descriptions. The club sounds like a place I’d like to visit.
Sam is such a sweetheart! I thoroughly enjoyed his character.
Val is also an exceptional character. I only had a slight hiccup with her view of herself.

All in All, an exceptional read that’s sure to entertain! Loved it!💕💕

For more of my reviews:
My Blog: Book Twins Reviews
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Profile Image for Sabrina.
3,234 reviews1,934 followers
November 7, 2018
Amazon US * Amazon UK

The Red Lipstick Coalition strikes again! This was a great story with a ton of heart warming moments. I swear I just about passed out from all the swooning Sam had me doing. I seriously loved his character and reading how he was with Val and her insecurities was captivating. Val was also a great character to read about it was fun to see her shed some of those doubts she had about herself.

Overall, a great story and one I highly recommend. Val and her roommates were first seen in Piece of Work but this book can absolutely be read as a standalone. I made the mistake, though, of reading the teaser for the next roommate and now I'm going to be a giant ball of impatient mess until I can get my hands on that.
Profile Image for Ⓐlleskelle - That ranting lady ッ.
993 reviews806 followers
September 28, 2018


This book is pure rhythm.
I'm 45% in and so far there hasn't been a dull moment, this baby is pulsing with humor, banter, covert feelings—ah sweet angst— , a false lulling slow-burning cadence and is set to make your romance reader heart thrumming!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ LOVED IT! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
A pretend relationship with its lot of unrequited love, a banter so sharp it makes my cheeks hurt, the chemistry between the heroine and the hero is —EVERYTHING—, secondary characters you only wish they'd have their own book already...
To put it simply, this book is the prescription of happy feels you've been looking for. It's charming, sexy (steam level : beyond all my expectations), sweet and oh so funny. I'm in love with the heroine's internal voice. She just happens to be my brand of crazy, a wholesome extra and a tiny bit insecure. 99,9% chances are, you'll love her as much as I do.

And the hero, Sam, let's just say his introduction won't leave you... unaffected. His description is LUSTFUL. No really. I'm claiming him, sorry ladies.

Leave it to the amazing Staci Hart to mix sneaky historical romance references, sex/instruments metaphors and all that jazz. She's the real viruoso here. * applauses *

More reviews and book talk at :

You can find me here too ☞
March 9, 2019
4 ⭐'s

Now, it's Val's turn. And WOW...can I just say that I loved all the musical influences and the swing dancing?! It was so fun reading about them dancing even if I have no clue what they're actually doing!

But, back to Val and Sam meeting...they're both in the orchestra for the Broadway show, Wicked. She's been stalking him and he's noticed her too. So has his jerk friend, Ian, who makes a bet with Sam that he can't date Val for a month. See, Sam doesn't date so while he's considering it, he comes up with a plan and hopefully keep Ian away from Val as well.

I LOVED getting to know Val and Sam...and I really loved how the whole gang enjoyed swing dancing right along with Val. How Katherine blew off Ian was priceless!

Val and Sam spend a lot of time together and they do become close "friends". He lets her in on some things no one else knows...it's really sweet.

Ian's a snake so we all know what's coming and it is heartbreaking but everyone loves a good make up and this one is no exception. I'm glad that Sam was brave enough to "jump".
Profile Image for Syndi.
2,899 reviews634 followers
July 6, 2021
Player is a wonderful book. I am a fan of Miss Hart's books. She proves herself as talented writer. She can bring story that is very ordinary into extra ordinary.

I do love the opening of the book. Miss Hart dedicates Player to all women out there who never feel good enough. This book is for you. I like the chemistry between Sam and Val. Theu both so sweet. With body image issue, Val finds her confidence with Sam's help. With Vall tenderness, Sam opens his eyes to intimacy and love.

Both characters compliment each other. So good book.

4 stars
Profile Image for Megan✦❋Steamy Reads Blog❋✦.
293 reviews467 followers
October 14, 2018

“He stole my heart just to see if he could.”

I am a huge fan of Staci Hart’s writing and have been for a long time now, so to say I was beyond excited to read her newest release Player is a complete understatement. Well Staci has done it again, she has delivered a fun, addictive romance that I loved; with her perfectly crafted storytelling, her characters that make me fall in love and her signature humor that makes me so happy to read her stories. I think this is probably my favorite Staci book to date and I say that given I have really loved a lot her previous books, so that gives you an indication of just how much I loved Player.

Val is a strong, independent and talented musician who has some self-doubts about herself, which in turn creates a lack of self-confidence. Her confidence or lack thereof, all stems from her negative body images about herself. I loved Val and it was so refreshing to read a character like her, because body image is such a topical subject in modern society and it affects so many people. Society’s expectations on what the perfect body/size is can be viewed as unrealistic and places a tremendous amount of perceived pressure on people of all ages.

Val is a musician in a Broadway orchestra and that’s where she first lays eyes on Sam, the Bass player in the same orchestra. Sam is possibly the most beautiful man Val has ever seen and instantly she is crushing hard. Val believes Sam is out of her league and the chances of him ever noticing her are slim to none. Sam is a player in more ways than one and despite this, Val still can’t stop thinking about the talented Bass player in the orchestra.

“I loved her, and I couldn’t tell her.
I loved her, and she didn’t know.
I loved her, and I’d lost her forever.”

I loved both Val and Sam together and apart. They had such a powerful chemistry that sizzled between the pages. Their hot and steamy scenes were filled with heartfelt, tender moments and a fierce all consuming passion. Sam and Val were the kind of literary couple that just made my heart really happy.

One of the things I loved most about Player was the journey of self-acceptance and love, not only for Val, but for Sam too. They both have their own confidence issues to work through and learning to love yourself is the first step to learning to love someone else. Together they just worked and made sense in every conceivable way.

“Making you happy is all I want, Val. Love is music. You are music, and I want to learn every song, every note.”

Player was a fun, heartfelt, emotional and steamy read that I just couldn’t get enough of. It was an addictive love story that I devoured and still continue to feel and think about long after I read the last word. If you are a fan of impeccably written stories that keep a permanent smile glued to your face then definitely check out Player. One of my favorites this year.

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Profile Image for em.
367 reviews
October 11, 2018
"Every curve, even the ones you hate. (...) You see it as a flaw. I see it as honest. It's you. And I want you just the way you are. Every tiny freckle on your nose. Every curl on your head. Every soft place on your body. You call them flaws. I call it a signature. Because there is no one like you, not in the whole world. And I will love every curve until you realize you love them too."

Well. If after reading that quote your heart didn't melt and turn into a puddle of goo, then, my dear friend, you are made of hard cold stone.

This book took me by surprise, given the title Player and the fact that the promo included plot devices like "he is a player", "he could have any girl", "a bet", etc. I was expecting a whole different story. So don't let that title trick you into thinking that this is your typical player falls for normal girl, because this book is SO MUCH MORE than that.

The sweetness, the gentleness, the softness with which Hart delivered this story still has me reeling.

Sam, was everything one can ask from a love interest. Trust me on this one, he is a player but he will only toggle with the strings of you heart. And Val, well, it was hard not to relate to her. I have the feeling that many - many - of the women that pick up this book, will feel the exact same way I did. While Sam is the whole package: good looking, charming, honest and genuinely good but simply not interested in relationships; Val is curvy, unexperienced, awkward but funny and believes he is completely out of her league. The good thing about Val's character is the fact that her story was not about her lack of self confidence or hate towards how her body is, she just grew up to believe that she was not attractive enough for a certain type of man. For Sam. And even that way, her personality still shone like a ray of sunshine, which is what drew Sam in from the beginning. The more Val believed Sam could never love what he saw, the more Sam wanted to prove her wrong with the sweetest and softest gentleness.

Sam always saw Val for what she was. With all her curves, silly jokes and bright smile.

I am not afraid to say that it's not that often that you find a story like this one. Or a love interest like Sam.

What else can I say, guys? The fact that I was a 150% invested in these characters since chapter one is only proof of how powerful their story is. That's why Player just became, without any doubt, one of my all time favourite romance books.

*I received an eARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Alba and Her Secrets..♥.
808 reviews1,017 followers
October 25, 2018
4.5 'Love is music' Stars!

I was oh-so-ready for more after reading Piece of Work. After finishing the first book in the Red Lipstick Coalition I instantly fell in love with Staci's writing style, her characters, the way she developed friendships and love relationships and the explosive chemistry between the main couples. Player is no exception to any of that.

I loved Val and Sam, their quirky interactions, their friendship, the slow burning chemistry, the sexy times and all the emotions. Also, I love how Staci features a nerdy curvy heroine full of sass and smart comments and also a hero that appreciates everything that is Val. Sam is so swoony, I literally melted all over the place! He takes good care of Val, and yes he does lie to her but.. the ending is so worth it, guys. Trust me! Also, I loved all the familiar moments (the families from both main characters are simply wonderful!) and this group of girl friends that Staci has created. I just can't wait to read Amelia's story after reading that sneak peek at the end. Job well done, Staci!
Profile Image for m ✦ foesandlovers.
831 reviews84 followers
October 9, 2018

I love it.

I don't know what it is about it that makes me feel all warm of fuzzy inside BUT I LOVE THIS FEELING AND NEVER WANT IT TO GO AWAY! Maybe it's the wallflowers aspect of it that just calls to my HR-loving heart or maybe it's how incredibly powerful it is to read about fascinating women finding themselves in this great big world and growing confident OR MAYBE IT'S ALL THE SWOON WORTHY GUYS THEY FALL IN LOVE WITH.

I'd say it's most likely all the above!

Needless to say, this series has it all. The swoons, the laughs, the sexy times, Staci Hart knows how to write great romcoms that make you want more, more, MORE!

I read Piece of Work earlier this year and absolutely DEVOURED it and Player is, unsurprisingly, just as amazing!

Sam and Val, GAH!! I can't explain the fluffy feelings these two gave me (and still do, days later).

I absolutely adored Val as a character. She was confident yet insecure and I feel that's something so many of us can relate to. We can feel very confident in certain aspects of our lives and not at all in others. I think it's just normal as humans to feel that way. Val was funny and charming and so incredibly refreshing.

And SAM! UGH, MY GOD *drools*. That man, you guys. I never thought I'd put those two words together to describe a character but when I think of Sam, I think "sweet player". He's a player all right... but he has a sweetness to him. He's incredible with Val, so supportive and loving and puts her on the damn pedestal this chick deserves to be on. GAH!!!!!

I feel I couldn't review this book without talking about the music and dancing. I feel those combine were very much like a third lead character in the book. Staci Hart just excels at giving her books (at least the one's I've read thus far) a unique twist and in this case she brought in this whole world of Swing dancing that was I was completely new to prior to reading this book. It made Player so captivating and unique and I loved every second of their time at Sway, the swing dance bar they go to.

If you're looking for a great fake dating-ish book, with lots of swing dancing and music and filled with laughs and love and a cast of amazing characters, look no further!

Player is without a doubt one of my fav reads of 2018!

I absolutely cannot wait to see what else Staci Hart has under her sleeve for this series! Amelia's book simply can't get here fast enough! GIMME!
Profile Image for Shayna.
1,813 reviews594 followers
October 10, 2018
Top Favorite

“You see it as a flaw. I see it as honest. It’s you. And I want you just as you are. Every tiny freckle on your nose. Every curl on your head. Every soft place on your body. You call them flaws. I call it a signature. Because there is no one like you, not in the whole world. And I will love ever curve until you realize you love them too.”

It should be no surprise to you, nor is it a surprise to me, that Player by Staci Hart is my favorite ROMANCE OF THE YEAR! It’s hard to continue writing this review because I don’t think I could ever do it justice. I kinda feel that way with everything that Staci writes because everything she gives us is PURE MAGIC! The writing is impeccable. These characters, oh my, these characters are LIFE! The imagery is just incredible. The plot? It was absolutely addicting and so full of meaning and heart. The journey…well, that was just unforgettable.

Sam and Val (and the entire gang) are some of my most favorite characters that I’ve ever had the joy of reading about. The banter, the loyalty, the pep talks, it was just all amazing. I’ve never wanted to jump through the pages of a book so bad! Player is EVERYTHING you could ever want in a love story. Sam and Val had this undeniable connection…they just made me feel everything. They gave me hope. They made me smile. They made me laugh and it wouldn’t be a Staci Hart romance unless I shed a tear or two. Ugh! I could go on and on about these characters but I want, no, I need you to experience everything you possibly can for yourself.

This book was an easy choice for my TOP FAVORITE, and it wasn’t just because the romance blew me away (which it SO did). It’s because this is so much MORE. I didn’t know reading a book in this genre could teach me so much, help me gain confidence, make me want MORE out of everything. Val and her #squadgoals makes me want to be brave. Staci Hart makes me want to be brave. She’s an inspiration, along with the characters she has brought to life. I can’t wait to see what greatness she brings us next!

Profile Image for Na.
755 reviews108 followers
October 9, 2018
4.5 stars
"Don't ever give your love to a man who won't give you everything he has to his name in exchange, heart soul in hand."

This book is brilliant! This story is a song that touches your heart and each note vibrates though the author's words along the chapters. It's a song about learning to love and trust yourself, to follow your dreams and that your true happiness only comes from deep inside yourself.

"Sweet Val with her doe eyes and bright smile. The realness of her struck a chord in my chest as honestly as my hands on the guitar."

Without doubt, Staci Hart has a talent. Her stories are always wonderful, full of love and telling you something between the lines. Player is by far - up to now - my favorite book of hers. It's inspiring and a book I highly recommend reading!

"Sam, I'd discovered, was a doorway to a world I'd only dreamed of. A world of kisses and touches and music. A world of dancing and flipping and laughter."

Sam, the golden boy with the good looks and a charisma that makes every woman swoon. With his love and talent for music he could easily reach for the stars and could collect all of them. But he's so afraid of loosing that he doesn't realize how much more he could win if he only tried.

Val, the self-conscious Spanish girl, with a smile that could brighten a dark room and a heart of pure gold. She's a friend every girl wishes for: she's honest, loyal, funny and full of energy. Yet she has to learn that we only see a fraction of ourselves while looking in a mirror. We'll never be able to see ourselves like others see us. We tend to only see our flaws and cursing our bodies for not being according to the assumed standards of our society.

""Why me Sam?" she asked quietly. "Why not you?" I asked her back."

In "Player" we not only get the story of Sam and Val, how not to play other people no matter how good the intentions. In the end someone gets hurt and that's never worth a game. But we get so much more. Val and Sam are wonderfully flawed characters who learn through each other how to be a better version of themselves without sacrifices. How to reach for your inner happiness and bring it to life. True happiness makes you beautiful inside out.

I also adore Red Lipstick Coalition. Those girls are beyond fantastic. I wish I could be part of their friendship. I love the way they care for each other, listen to each other and encourage each other to be brave and bold.

""Love is music. You are music, and I want to learn every song, every note." "Then kiss me and make me sing.""
Profile Image for Sera.
637 reviews
March 5, 2019

- h who sounds like she's 14 years old and can't stop making a fool of herself and can't even talk to the guy.
-manwhore VS virginal h, who ofcourse needs the H to teach her everything.
- a bet between H and his friend causing the H to date the h simply to keep her away from his friend.
- constant whining about her size and how she's never going to be good enough for the H.

I'm out.
Profile Image for Wendy ⏃: ✦Nerdy Book Reviews✦.
897 reviews278 followers
October 10, 2018

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Once more, Staci Hart has penned a novel that has captivated my heart completely! Unique in her own right, Staci's writing is flawless as she creates an undeniable connection between tbe reader and characters. Seriously, you won't be able to stop yourself from falling in love with these ingenious characters!!

Val! Valentina. She quickly became a favorite heroine to me. Here's why... She's a voluptuous goddess with Hispanic roots. Flawed and insecure, yet at the same time she's fierce and bold. Val is someone I, or any woman could relate to! Plus, she crushed on the hottest guy 😉

Now, Sam! I'm shook again because Staci gives us not one, but two multicultural characters who both happen to be main characters! #dead It's such a beautiful thing to see two different characters from two different cultures come together.

Sam is Samhir Haddad and he's Lebanese. Different from any other hero I've read, he stuck with me throughout the entire story. Gorgeous, talented, imperfect, and yes a #player. Val never imagined her crush would give her the time of day and soon a friendship unfolds and things become more... But Sam holds a secret close to his heart that could ultimately hurt Val.

Is Sam really just a player, or is there more to him? Read and find out! 😝

Hands down, I loved this book! It had everything! Things I didn't even know I wanted in a book! Dance, tons of culture, and so much music all I could think about at times was wanting to learn to swing dance, too! It even had the fake-dating trope that's hard to resist!!! Thank you so much Staci! I cannot wait for the next books of the Red Lipstick 💄Coalition squad!!

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*** The edit used in this review was taken from the author's Facebook page. ***

Profile Image for Ariel.
381 reviews
October 13, 2018
I really struggled with this book. The hero ,Sam, was too perfect and kind of boring, and the heroine, Val, whined the majority of the book about her body. If she was not complaining about her body, then she was obsessing over how great Sam is and how someone like Sam would NEVER consider being with someone like her. Don't believe me? Let me pull some quotes for you.

“He won’t want me. I might think he’s amazing, but no universe exists wherein a guy like that”—I gestured to my phone—“wants a girl like this.” I flung a hand in the direction of my hips. “Why would he want a size sixteen with cellulite when he could have a size two with thigh gap?”

“It’s…it’s ridiculous. Why would…he could never…I mean, it’s me, and he’s Sam, and…no,” I sputtered.

Don't let this next quote fool you...it's a lie.
You’ve proven you can be around him without being obsessive or unhealthy.”

50% in and she’s still on her woe-is-me wagon.
“It’s easy for you to say, Sam. You’re with beautiful girls, thin girls, girls with long, straight hair and flat stomachs.”

“You’ll say you’ve already seen me from every angle, that I’m beautiful and whatever. It’s one thing to be in your bed, but…I don’t know. Walking around in front of you naked is different. I…I hate my body. I hate it, and I don’t want you to see it like this.”

You’re always telling me what you think of me, and I never listen. But it’s not because I don’t believe your conviction. It’s just hard to imagine that you—beautiful, gorgeous you—could think those things about me.

"You’re the most beautiful girl I’ve ever known, Val. Ever.”
I shook my head, looked down my warm cheeks. Happily warm. But he couldn’t have meant it.

Then FINALLY at the 75% mark, they get together fo real and then at the 80% mark, Val finds out about the bet and we are back at square one.
I can’t believe I fell for all of it. I can’t believe I played along.
I have no idea why she can’t believe she fell for it considering she was drooling after this guy from the second she first saw him. She was the one to ask him out, she was the one who begged him to kiss her, and she was the one to ask him to make things more physical (blowjobs, hand jobs, etc.) in their lessons yet she’s confused as to why she fell for it.

I know in real life, people with body issues are not able to get over it within a few weeks, but for the sake of this book, I really wish it wasn't something that I had to hear Val complain about throughout the entire book. It got old really quick considering the book revolved around this issue. I prefer reading books where the heroine is comfortable in her own body whether she is a size 0 or 20. I was praying that by the 40% mark, she would learn to love herself, but that was not the case, and I continued to to torture myself by reading on. Staci Hart books are very hit or miss for me, and unfortunately, this one was a miss.
2 "He could never love someone like me" stars.
I'm out.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Kathy West.
1,145 reviews26 followers
July 3, 2022
5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- Excellent - Highly Recommended
4 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ - A good, solid read
3 ⭐️⭐️⭐️ - An okay read
2 ⭐️⭐️ - Meh
1 ⭐️ - Not my cup of tea
Profile Image for Amy | Foxy Blogs.
1,411 reviews971 followers
May 6, 2023
Who doesn't love a fake dating trope that turns into real dating when the hero realizes that he actually likes the heroine?!

● Val & Sam
● trumpet player / bass player
● Red Lip Stick Coalition
● fake dating

Red Lip Stick Coalition
#1 Piece of Work – Rin & Court
#2 Player – Val & Sam
#3 Work in Progress – Amelia & Tommy
#4 Well Suited – Katherine & Theo

Audiobook source: Hoopla
Narrator: Emily Woo Zeller Teddy Hamilton
Length: 9H 43M
Profile Image for Sofia Lazaridou.
2,734 reviews135 followers
October 18, 2018
I am giving 3 very generous stars to the book. I haven't felt so grossed out in a long time when reading a book. Somewhere in this story (not in the beginning), Sam plays with his band in bad (I think) and in the crowd, he sees 4 women he has slept with and mentally introduces us to them by letting the reader know what they liked or were like in bed. Did we really need to know that? I could have lived my life not knowing that, but I guess the author needed to reach a word count. The book has a lot of mentions of Sam's past hook-ups that weren't really necessary and some of them managed to bring Val down. Like she needed something like that in her life. She is already too insecure about her appearance and her appeal to the other sex. So, she didn't really need to hear that he had tried a position with another woman. Even Sam noticed that the light in her eyes dimmed.

What bothered me the most is that Sam has tons of experience (according to Dante "he slept with half the Manhattan" and from what I saw in this book, I believe him) and Val had only two partners and Sam saw 4 while he was playing with his band. If I knew that so many women were hanging out in the place my bf and I were also hanging out I wouldn't want to go back there. Val needed to grow some backbone and confidence. I honestly wouldn't have minded if she had kissed or even did something more with another man. In my mind, it seems only fair. I was disappointed with both main characters and nowadays I am starting to get tired of all the heroines who are practically a virgin while the "hero" is a walking STD. In some cases, this fact is not thrown in our faces like it was in this book, so I don't end hating it so much. I wish Sam had been more romantic or even showed that he cared for her in a deeper level. I was doubting him for 90% of the story and I can say that I liked Val with Adam more than I liked her with Sam.
Profile Image for Mia.
2,235 reviews535 followers
May 4, 2021
I liked the concept but this was boring.
Profile Image for Wendy'sThoughts.
2,652 reviews3,234 followers
April 28, 2019
5 Perfectly Played Stars
* * * * * Spoiler Free
So I read this and made the HUGE mistake of not reviewing it. I do not know why...I just think time slipped away. What I did not forget was how wonderful this book was. Ever Single Moment, Every Single Build Up was perfect. The depth of the characters, their reactions, and feelings all hit me.

Because this is a late review and so many have done this justice, I will just say, Staci Hart has taken this series to another level. She has used the concept that so many other series have been based; the group of friends who met in college and remained close. Ms. Hart has created such unique women, each with their own insecurities and vulnerabilities, and raised the bar to have them go through their life's journeys pushing the boundaries which have been their Achilles Heel.

Please take a moment, read the reviews and then do yourself a favor...dig in and know you are in amazing hands...Ms. Hart gives it all to you, Romance with a Capital R...Swooning and then the most important, Growth of Personal Character for each of our lovebirds.

Oh, and I would be remiss if I didn't tease you with the hint of knowing there is another book coming, Well Suited. It is the one which I think will be devastatingly great...

Piece of Work (Red Lipstick Coalition, #1) by Staci Hart Piece of Work
Player (Red Lipstick Coalition, #2) by Staci Hart Player
Work in Progress (Red Lipstick Coalition, #3) by Staci Hart Work in Progress
Well Suited (Red Lipstick Coalition, #4) by Staci Hart Well Suited

A gifted copy was provided by author/publisher for an honest review.

For more Reviews, Free E-books and Giveaways

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October 7, 2018
*I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book*

6 “Love is Music” Stars

I honestly don't even know where to begin. I haven't stopped smiling since finishing this AH-MAZ-ING book. And that's saying A LOT since I haven't smiled in the last six days. Staci managed to put the biggest and brightest smile on my face and I can't thank her enough. This story was exceptional. These characters were, quite frankly some of my favorite characters ever, ESPECIALLY Sam and Val! And the swing dancing and the music, gosh it's as if I was feeling every vibration running though my body. I wanted to get out on that dance floor and dance a jig and have Sam flipping me every which way. I'm so gobsmacked happy.

Staci did a marvelous job writing Val. Val is such a relatable character that I can't even. Val is such a spitfire and so vivacious. I lived for her inner monologue, seriously it was the best! She had me laughing nonstop that I had to make sure not to be drinking anything, if not it would've ended up all over me. Everything, and I mean everything she was feeling I knew exactly how she felt. More often than not I'm sure every woman has been in Val's shoes. Checking off every insecurity, ever flaw. But in the end embracing all of them with an abundance of confidence. I rooted so damn hard for Val, I wanted her to value her worth because girl, forget princesa, she's a full out Reina.

I'm going to need a minute before I tell you how I fell head over everything for Sam. I don't think that there's ever been a fictional character of the male variety that has left me this giddy. I honestly don't know what to do with myself. I feel like a kid with my first crush with sweaty hands and my heart racing a mile a minute thinking about Sam. He exuded goodness and is the epitome of a nice guy. Seriously, there isn't a mean bone in his body. He is as beautiful on the inside as he is on the outside. His heart, oh my, his heart the purest of all. Every woman needs a Sam in her life. Every woman deserves to feel every good thing Sam made Val feel. I don't like to throw the word "perfect" around, but I'm telling you, Sam IS perfect. He's one of my most favorite, favorite, favorite Hero's ever written. I love, love, love him!

Player is by far my most favorite book Staci has written! The writing is impeccable, but honestly it's no surprise. Staci just has this way with words that no matter what, I get lost in everything she writes. And while reading Player I felt joy, so much joy. This book put me in such a great mood that I'm still smiling like a fool. This book spoke to my soul. And just like my favorite song that I play on repeat, all I want to do is read Player over and over and over and over and over again knowing full well that I'll NEVER get tired of it.

Staci, I love you! Thank you for writing this book! Thank you for Val! Thank you for Sam! Thank you for the permanent smile on my face. Thank you for the hope this book gave me. And just thank you for being the awesome badass author that you are!
Profile Image for Brina.
358 reviews74 followers
June 20, 2020
5 Stars

Read this and other reviews here: Brina and the Books

Staci Hart has a way of creating the most unconventional books - in the best way possible. I don't know how she does it but her characters and stories are never plain, they are never simple, and they are definitely not boring, they are totally Staci.
I also love her way of diversity: be it the characters jobs, their hobbies, their personalities, or simply their nationality. Staci Hart doesn't shy away from anything and I love her for it.

Player is the second book in the "Red Lipstick Coalition" series and follows member Val and her unattainable crush Sam.
I truly loved Val because I could relate to her and her struggles so much. It was like she expressed exactly what I feel so often. Heck, she expressed what every girl and woman feel; Val is all of us. I'm so happy Hart created her character because it gave me a boost of self-confidence.
Sam was amazing. There is no other way to describe his character. He's passionate, loving, giving, kind, and a guy every girl deserves and more.

This novel is about music and the feelings music creates, and Staci Hart conveyed those perfectly with only her words. Every music scene was written so vibrantly, so passionately, and with so much feeling, it felt like I was there myself.
Hart generally has a knack for words and I'm always excited to read what she comes up with next.

"Love is music. It's learning when to be loud and when to be soft. It's riding the scales up and down. Learning the curves and strings to play the song of your heart. You have to know when to lead and when to follow. When you're wrong and when you're right. Love is music."

The epilogue was kinda cheesy but also so romantic. It also gave a quick look on the remaining members of the Red Lipstick Coalition club, Amelia and Katherine. And oh my gosh, I honestly can't wait for those two books because the things revealed in the epilogue about the two girls were epic! I'm so so excited for Amelia's book and Katherine's as well.

Player is so far my favorite Red Lipstick Coalition book and I advise you to read it too. Better yet, start with book one, Piece of Work, and become a member yourself.

"For all the girls who think they aren't enough:
Nobody storms the castle for the prince."


Looooved it 💗
Profile Image for Kayla Brunson.
1,369 reviews249 followers
January 23, 2019
I was so happy to have Val's story and I adored it! Val was an outgoing curvy girl and I couldn't wait to read about her. 

Once again, my favorite thing about this series of standalone is this group of friends. These four girls are a group of friends that I wish I had. They were always there for each other and were always supportive. Let me also not forget to mention the diversity again. We had Val who was a Latina and Sam who was Lebanese. 

Val's struggles are a subject that hit home for me. I'm also a bigger girl who had and still has issues with confidence and weight. I think Staci did a job at portraying that through Val's character. However, I didn't like the way she idolized Sam and was happy when he called her on it. He was just an average guy. Was he attractive? Yes, but that doesn't mean that you have to hold him to this pedestal of being amazing. 

Can I say that Sam is somebody that I wish met in my early twenties? Even though he was a "player", he never played Val. his feelings were true and I loved how he never failed to tell her she was beautiful. 

"You call them flaws. I call it a signature. Because there is no one like you, not in the whole world. And I will love every curse until you realize you love them, too."

Yes, the bet issue was a bad call, but his heart was in the right place. All he ever wanted was to do right by Val and show her that she was worth anything she wanted in the world. It was hard not to swoon over him. 

"The girls you idolize and idealize and compare yourself to so very rarely interest me. But you interest me. I just hope one day you'll believe me when I say it."

Val and Sam together had some MAJOR chemistry from the beginning! Reading about Val becoming more comfortable with her body and her willingness to show everything to Sam made my heart so happy. 

Overall, I enjoyed this standalone and I can't wait for the next book, Work in Progress. It's Amelia's story and as of the day I'm typing this, it comes out in two days. Just know that as soon as I get some free time I'm binging it!

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Profile Image for Sophie.
590 reviews446 followers
October 10, 2018
It will come as no surprise to you at all that, I LOVE STACI HART! Seriously, she's one of my TOP, TOP authors and I pretty much adore every single book she's ever written...

Fun fact: Last Call has always been my absolute TOP FAVE of all Staci's books....


Yup, Staci has written a new top fave and I'm so overwhelmed with the amount of love I have for it! Val & Sam are just my FAVE Hart couple EVER! They are perfection. From start to finish these two ran away with my heart and imprinted themselves on my soul! I cannot even begin to tell how how fascinating they are, I just LOVE them.

PLAYER hit me on another level too. Val, our amazing heroine, is a curvy, plus size woman, and she's sassy and sexy and confident. She's also hella clumsy and wickedly funny! I instantly fell in love with her! She stole the show for me, 100%!

I also loved that this book features my FAVE show WICKED.. I can't describe the buzz I got from knowing some scenes were set in the orchestral pit of that show and my goodness, Staci NAILS the feeling you just know you'd get if you were there too!

PLAYER is one book you do not want to miss! Everyone should read this book! It is without a doubt "Staci Hart's BEST BOOK YET!"
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