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Nora O’Brien chased a dream from Indiana to Scotland, so sure it was the right thing to do. Three years later she was left in her adopted country with nothing to her name but guilt and regret.
Until Aidan Lennox entered her life.
Older, worldlier, a music producer and composer, the sexy Scot should never have made sense for Nora. But somehow, in each other, they found the light they were looking for, the laughter and the passion—the strength to play on despite their past losses.
But when life dealt Aidan another unlucky hand, instead of reaching for her he disappeared. The agonizing loss of him inspired something within Nora. It fired her spirit— the anger and hurt pushing her forward to take control and reach for her dreams.
Finally pursuing a career on stage while she put herself through college, everything is how Nora wants it. She’s avoiding heartbreak and concentrating on her goals.
Sounds easy but it’s not. Because Aidan is back. And for some reason he hates Nora.
He’s determined to be at war with her. And she has absolutely no idea why.
Anytime Samantha Young announces a new book, I’m ready to pounce on it. With Play On the author takes readers back to Scotland with another intense and passionate romance that sizzles the pages, but it’s also a story that’s got a lot more depth than that.
First things first, I really think that the blurb for Play On gives too much away. I know it’s a romance novel, so the endings tend to be predictable, but the events described in the summary do not take place for a while, so I’d recommend not focusing too much on it. Play On is really more than a romance. It’s the tale of the strength and resilience of a young woman who is on a journey to find herself. The book begins with Nora O’Brien, right out of high school, working minimum wage, and taking care of her disabled father along with her mother. Nora dreams of something bigger, but her circumstances force her to remain in Indiana. That is, until Jim. Sweet, Scottish Jim who quickly becomes infatuated with Nora and whisks her off to Scotland to get married. Fast forward one year, and Nora’s life is still stagnant, only this time she’s stuck with Jim in an unrequited love story. What follows is the story of Nora meeting Aiden and being swept away in a high-intensity and deep romance. Reading Play On was a whirlwind with all the years that we follow Nora over. To be honest, I wasn’t quite expecting that, and initially I was wary, but Samantha Young weaves together the timelines deftly, and she easily sucked me into the story.
Of course her gorgeous writing, and the rich Scotland setting were high on the list as to why I found Play On to be addicting, but it was Nora’s character that made the book special. Now, this is a woman who is brave beyond words. Her admirable strength, her never-ending hope and her ability to bounce back from every obstacle that life throws at her make her a character who you not only love, but also look up to. Through it all, Nora’s heightened emotions are at the center of Play On, and Samantha Young makes you feel every one of those emotions right in your heart. You can’t help but desperately want happiness for Nora and though Samantha Young does not make it easy on us readers, that journey to Nora finding herself, and understanding her self-importance is worth the wait. I was happy when she found someone who helped her see the greatness in her in Aiden. He’s older, a little gruff, but also a sweetheart who is taking care of his orphaned niece, who quickly grows a bond with Nora. Their relationship and chemistry is sizzling, and while it’s not without angst, it’s the kind of angst that makes sense for this book. I liked everything about the dynamic between Nora and Aiden, and I wanted more.
There’s more I want to say about Play On, but I fear I’ll give away too much about the book. Samantha Young is an incredible romance author, and with Play On she shows just what a brilliant storyteller she is.
over me as I studied his familiar face. Memories flooded me. Smiles. Laughter. Kisses. Soft
touches. Tears. Him falling to his knees. Not meeting my eyes and telling me to leave and get
rest. The last thing he ever said to me.
I’d never felt such a confusing mix of fury and longing in my entire life. I at once wanted
to go to him, make him look at me, hold me, and I also wanted to march up to him, grab his
sweater in my fist, and shake him, even though he’d barely budge under my assault.
I remember you, Pixie.
I closed my eyes, in pain at the memory. If he called me by his nickname for me again, I
didn’t know whether I’d burst into tears or smack him across the face.
“Viola!” Quentin spun on his heel to look at me. “On stage.”
Nerves hit me in a massive wave and I took a moment to exhale slowly before I stood and
walked toward the stage. I hoped I appeared calm and ready to do this because inside, I was
I joined Eddie up on stage; he gave me a bolstering smile.
In my entrance on performance nights, I would be accompanied by Eddie as Captain and
we’d have extras with us as our sailors. “‘What country, friends, is this?’” I said in a faux
upper-crust English accent, slowly walking across the stage, looking awed.
“‘This is Illyria, lady,’” Eddie said, following me.
I swiftly turned to look at him. “‘And what should I do in Illyria? My brother he is in
We fell into the scene and I was feeling pretty good about it when it came to an end, until
I looked over at Quentin and Aidan. Finally, I had Aidan’s attention. But I’d take him
ignoring me over the scowl he wore.
As my director opened his mouth to speak, Aidan called up to me, “You need to work on
I flushed, turning expectantly to Quentin. He looked a little taken aback by Aidan’s input
but he nodded at me. “If one person thinks it’s not great, others might. Practice it. It’s not a
huge concern yet.”
“The way she’s wandering around the stage like a bewildered child is,” Aidan said, like
he hadn’t insulted the hell out of me. “Viola is bold enough to dress as a man in order to find
her brother. She wouldn’t be wild-eyed and frightened.”
Wild-eyed and frightened?
I hadn’t been acting wild-eyed and frightened!
Quentin quirked an brow at his friend and then smirked up at me. “Play it a little less
vulnerable in your next scene.”
Seething, I could only nod. Completely unable to look at Aidan, I turned to Eddie. He
gave me a sympathetic smile and we left the stage together. The actors playing Maria, Sir
Toby, and Sir Andrew took the stage.
Ignoring Aidan, I strode farther down the aisle to get away from him, and Amanda gave
me a smug smile from her seat next to Hamish. “You’ll get better with practice,” she said.
I returned her smile with a tight one of my own and flopped down on a seat near the back.
It wasn’t long later, however, that Quentin was calling me up to stage again with Will and
Jack. After Aidan’s criticism—something he did not dole out to anyone else—I was on edge
but fighting the feeling because I didn’t want it to affect my performance.
We were halfway through the scene when Quentin called up for us to stop. Dread filled
me as we looked down at him.
But it was Aidan who spoke. “You’re doing it again. All doe-eyed while he’s talking.” He
gestured to Jack.
Anger flared out of me. “I’m supposed to be in love with him,” I argued.
“And you’re masquerading as a man. You’re good at deception,” he bit out, and I
couldn’t miss the hiss of anger in his words. Were we still talking about the play? “At this
point in the play, you can control your feelings for this man.”
Reeling from his words, I couldn’t argue this time. In fact, the whole atmosphere in the
theater had changed, as if everyone else had heard the underlying fury in his words and were
confused by them.
As confused as I was.
Why the hell was Aidan mad at me?