Adorkable music nerds who started on a PWP foot but turned into something meaningful.

Play (A Fairview Story Book 4)  - Bruce Rose
A Hearts On Fire Review

3.5 Hearts -
"I'm going to do you a favor and pretend I didn't just hear you offer me a bribe."
"I'm also going to get rid of this." Officer Hot Pants dropped the remains of the joint on the blacktop and crushed it under his heel. [...]
"And I'm going to do you one more favor." Officer Hot Pants leaned over until he was practically nose to nose with Daniel. "I'm going to take you behind that hill over there and fuck you raw."


21 year old Daniel is a world renowned musician and former child prodigy that finally put his foot down and escaped his greedy family's clutches. He finds a job as a bartender at club Bow and place to live in gay friendly town of Fairview. On his way to Fairview, he gets stopped by a hunky, older cop...who is an erotic dream. Not only does the officer have a rocking bod and baton in his in and out of his pants...Officer Hot Pants uses them on Daniel! (Any role playing fans out there?)

While the story starts off in the PWP zone, it transitions into something a little more. There is a plot, nothing too heavy and organic for the characters. Both men start off on a very hot branch of meeting but it develops into something meaningful when neither of them expecting it. It was believable.

Two adorkable guys who fit the 'twunk' and 'alpha muscle jock' categories but have more to offer than their looks. Officer Hot Pants aka 38 year old James Roca just retired from the police force after 20 years and has a new job as a bouncer at a club in a new town. Daniel and Roca meet again and become co-workers

This is a romance that not only features a decent age gap but a restarting a new life theme. I like those. When the main character tries to overcome hurts or issues from their past. In their case, it's Roca not being able to be accepted for being gay and being harassed while on the job. And for Daniel, it's not being able to have a personal life and treated as a cash cow instead of a person.

The men share common bonds through music and learn about each other through this. I liked that it wasn't just about the sex. There were a few moments that I had to stretch the reality rubber band here and there but the author warns in the beginning of the book.

The story was easy to read, very sexy when it needed to be. The sex was safe and consensual, a little spicy vanilla with the bit of role playing, handcuffs and holding down. Nothing too out there. Play had a nice dose of snark (I think it is my favorite thing about this author's tone), but there were a few quibbles. Eh, there were a few typos (I'm not counting them in my quibbles). My issues were more with the transition from PWP to something meaningful. There was a point where Roca was being followed, it seemed like it was from his former police force. It could have been developed more on page but it didn't. It read like a thought that fizzled out.

Another was the added nothing to the overall story. I like that we get a big schmoopy HEA, I believe it with those two. However, I like epilogue to give a meaningful update - six months, a year however many months down the road, give a snapshot of the HEA if you have to. That really did nothing, showed nothing, it could have been the last paragraph of the last chapter. I also wished we got a scene with the big bad parents or maybe a flashback to Daniel's past. I think I would have rated higher.

Overall, it's a good story with likable characters that are loosely connected to Fairview series (can be read in any order) My favorite still is Risky, which features Daniel and Roca's bosses. This was a fun little follow up on the club. Can't wait for more (namely Brandon the twunk bartender/waiter; the ginger baker from Risky and the other bouncer who likes submissive twinks)

Recommended if you're in the mood for age gaps, cops who wield big batons during sex, twunks who just need a big guy to protect them and an appreciation of different types of music.

A copy provided for an honest review.