Review: Playing By The Rules (Miami Piranhas Book 3) by Beth Bolden

Rating: 4.5🌈

Playing By the Rules brings to focus a relationship that’s been referred to in the previous books, that of the obviously close connection between the highly stressed young Miami Quarterback and their new Quarterback Coach .

This is their story, from beginning to a realistic HFN at the end.

With a slight wobble for me at the start of the novel, where it seems to want to launch a instant love romance, Playing For Keeps then settles nicely into a grounded sports romance, one that takes time to explore the history and current all around status of both characters involved.

One is ex NFL quarterback Davis Abernathy, who’s NFL career was abruptly cut short, when his team traded for a quarterback with a dubious reputation and investigation in progress. However no team picked up his contract amidst health rumors. Until a phone call asking him to come to Miami.

Davis is a recognizable figure, even for those who don’t follow sports closely. We can understand his feelings and predicament. And bitterness.

The man he’s to coach ? A young , new to the NFL quarterback. One who’s already screwed up his first year in the big leagues and is under enormous scrutiny and pressure to produce. Or end up much like Abernathy.

Paxton Kelly is a wonderful character. Although he initially doesn’t seem to have all the dimensions (and can’t) that Davis has, he balances the older man beautifully in a way that makes their romance make sense.

Now the team is rebuilding. New head Coach, new players, new management. And new hope for a ex quarterback and a struggling starter if they can work together as Coach and player.

Bolden’s familiarity with the sport and team dynamics helps to create a professional, realistic team and ,through great writing, a vivid group of personalities trying to mesh in a trying season.

You can hear the bluntness of the advice Davis hands out. The realness of the stubbornness and denial in quarterback Paxton Kelly’s voice as he responds to the first authentic NFL coaching he’s been given. It’s pitch perfect.

As it the revolving relationship between them as Coach and player, Vs the attraction they keep fighting.

The attraction and growing feelings between Davis and Pax has a more realistic feel as the story progresses then that of the “instant” ones layered on at the beginning. I believe in that aspect of them as a couple rather then the hot flames of the start.

Other terrific elements? The dancing and seeing another established couple from a favorite series towards the end. That’s always a plus.

I ended up absolutely enjoying Davis and Pax’ romance. It a grand story and it leads up to one I’ve been anticipating the most.

Happy reading! I’m highly recommending this!

Miami Piranhas series:

🔹Playing For Keeps #1

🔹Playing The Player #2

🔹Playing By The Rules #3

🔹Winning The Season #4 – Dec 1, 2022

Amazon.com › Playing-…Playing by the Rules (Miami Piranhas Book 3) – Kindle edition by Bolden, Beth. Literature …


Ex-quarterback Davis Abernathy knows he’s on his last chance.

If he strikes out as Paxton Kelly’s coach, nobody else is going to call him. Not to get back on the field, and not to stand on the sidelines.

He’s got a lot to teach Pax, and as a second-year quarterback, Pax has a lot to learn. But Davis doesn’t anticipate the irresistible way they’ll be drawn together from their first meeting. He never could have predicted such a fierce and uncontrollable yearning—or that Pax would feel the same.

It should be easy to remember rules aren’t meant to be broken, and certain lines aren’t meant to be crossed, but the only thing that’s easy is falling totally, completely in love with Pax.

As Davis falls harder, Pax succeeding becomes just as important—and maybe more so—than resurrecting his own career. If he messes this up, his last chance isn’t all he’ll be sacrificing.

What he should be is focused on being the perfect mentor. But what he wants is Pax in his bed, Pax in his life, and more impossibly, to win Pax’s heart forever.

Davis Abernathy ex quarterback called to help fix Paxton Kelly quarterback of the Piranhas


Unless it’s noted, all books reviewed have been purchased by the reviewer.

By Scattered Thoughts

At over 50, I am ruled by my terriers, my gardens, and my projects. A knack for grubbing about in the woods, making mud pies, and tending to the injured worms, bugs, and occasional bird and turtle growing up eventually led me to working for the Parks. I was a park Naturalist for over 20 years, and observing Nature and her cycles still occupy my hours. From the arrival of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the Spring to the first call of the Snow Geese heading south in the Fall, I am entranced by the seasons. For more about me see my bio on my blog.

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: