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Playing with Fire – L.J. Shen

RATING: ★★★★★
TITLE: Playing with Fire
RELEASE DATE: September 15, 2020
PUBLISHER: Independently Published
GENRE(S): Adult Contemporary Romance, Hate to Love, Slow Burn

Thank you so much to Leigh Shen and Social Butterfly PR for my arc of this incredible book!!!


A broken boy on the path to destruction.
A scarred girl without direction.
A love story carved in secrets, inked with pain and sealed with a lie.

Grace Shaw and West St. Claire are arctic opposites.
She is the strange girl from the food truck.
He is the mysterious underground fighter who stormed into her sleepy Texan college town on his motorcycle one day, and has been wreaking havoc since.
She is invisible to the world.
He is the town’s beloved bad boy.
She is a reject.
He is trouble.
When West thrusts himself into Grace’s quiet life, she scrambles to figure out if he is her happily-ever-after or tragic ending.
But the harder she pushes him away, the more he pulls her out of her shell.
Grace doesn’t know much about anything beyond her town’s limits, but she does know this:
She is falling in love with the hottest guy in Sheridan U.
And when you play with fire—you ought to get burned.

First of all, I have very rarely read an author who consistently writes books that I love. I mean every single book is filled to the brim with characters you are going to love, some you will hate, angst to make you burn and scorching romances. But she also does an incredible job of giving these characters a realness, flaws and issues. She writes characters you can connect with and relationships that you root for with your whole heart.

How in the world would Playing with Fire be any different? At the end of so many of her novels, I have a new favorite person, a new book boyfriend if you will. First it was Vicious (okay I have to admit, he is still my fav), then it was Célian, then Vaughn, then Hunter. Now, its fricken GRACE ‘TEXAS’ SHAW!! Don’t get me wrong, I totally adored West. He was seriously top notch, but Grace was so much all wrapped up into one little fiery package.

At 17, Grace was changed forever. She will never be the same. But, at the same time across the country, West was falling apart as well. Now, five years later, the two are at the same college, living in their own worlds, both shells of who they once were. He is the bad boy with a new girl all the time, one he never keeps more than one night. She is the practically invisible girl working in the food truck. But, upon laying eyes on her, West sees Grace. And, their unlikely friendship completely upends both of their lives. Suddenly, together, they find themselves actually living instead of just surviving. But, things can’t just be simple, nope. Not in a Leigh Shen romance. They have to battle through obstacles at every turn. But you know what they say about playing with fire? You’re going to get burned.

Oh my word, this book was everything! I swooned over West and how absolutely sweet he could be. I championed for Grace, waiting for her to finally see past her scarred self to the beauty ready to break through the surface. I laughed and I cried. Let’s just say I felt ALL the feels. This book was one of those record scratch moments. I got the email saying that it was officially sitting all wrapped up in a bow on my kindle and I immediately started… and could. not. stop. I read late into the night and when I could no longer keep my eyes open, I started in again first thing in the morning and didn’t stop, didn’t eat, shower, get out of my jammies until I read the last words. I needed this one! I needed Grace Shaw and West St. Claire. I needed their push and pull. I needed their fire and their love.


L.J. Shen is USA Today and Washington Post bestselling author of contemporary romance books. She lives in California with her husband, son and lazy cat.
When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading a good book with a glass of wine and catching up on her favorite HBO and Netflix shows.

Yeah, she’s a badass like that.

Keep up with L.J. on all platforms:
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Goodreads ➜
Website ➜


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