Welcome to the ultimate Play by Play by Jaci Burton series guide! If you love sports, steamy romance, and a whole lot of fun, you’re in the right place. This series dives into the world of pro athletes, following their careers and love lives both on and off the field. We’ll break down each book, answer your burning questions, highlight popular tropes, and give you the lowdown on the series. So, suit up and get ready to fall in love with these all-star romances!

Play by Play by Jaci Burton series guide

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Play by Play by Jaci Burton Series Guide

If you’re into sports romance, the Play by Play by Jaci Burton series is a must-read in my opinion. I picked up The Perfect Play around the Super Bowl the year it came out, and, okay, I admit it—I was totally drawn in by that original cover. If you take a look at the man chest covers, you’ll get the vibe, although it’s been revamped with an illustrated cover now.

The covers for this series at the time were iconic and standouts in a sea other sexy headless men and that’s saying something. The books in this series don’t follow only one sport which is really nice and gives a variety, delivering steamy romance, lovable characters and plenty of action. Instead of diving only into a team, sometimes we get into a family of athletes that went into different sports. And plenty of friends and found family vibes. Jaci Burton delivers the heat and spice with a heaping side of sweetness.

What is the Play by Play by Jaci Burton series about?

The Play by Play by Jaci Burton series takes you into the thrilling world of professional sports, where athletes not only strive for victory on the field but also navigate the complexities of love and relationships off it. Each book focuses on a different sport—football, baseball, hockey, and more—following the lives of star athletes and the strong, dynamic partners who capture their hearts. From high-stakes games to steamy romantic encounters, the series explores themes of ambition, teamwork, and the power of love to overcome obstacles. With plenty of sports action and steamy romance, this series is a total win and will keep you hooked from start to finish.

Does the series need to be read in order?

The Play by Play series consists of interconnected standalones. You can enjoy each book on its own, as some don’t connect directly. However, reading them in order adds depth, letting you see relationships build over time and sometimes exploring different members of the same family.

What are some well known athlete families in this series?

In the Play by Play series by Jaci Burton, several well-known athlete families feature prominently:

The Riley Family: The Riley siblings are central to the series, each with their own sports careers and romantic adventures.

  • Mick Riley: A football star featured in The Perfect Play.
  • Gavin Riley: A baseball player featured in Changing the Game.
  • Jenna Riley: The sister who manages the family’s sports bar, featured in Taking a Shot.

The Cassidy Family: Another key family with multiple athlete members.

  • Tucker Cassidy: A baseball player featured in All Wound Up.
  • Grant Cassidy: A football player featured in Quarterback Draw.
  • Barrett Cassidy: A football player featured in Unexpected Rush.
  • Flynn Cassidy: A football player featured in Rules of Contact.
  • Mia Cassidy: A sports agent and sister to the Cassidy brothers, involved in The Final Score.

Tropes you can find in the Play by Play series

This series is packed with classic romance tropes that will keep you hooked. Here are some of the major ones:

  • Sports Romance
  • Friends to Lovers
  • Second Chances
  • Fake Relationships
  • Forbidden Love
  • Enemies to Lovers
  • Family Dynamics
  • Workplace Romance

Are the books spicy?

Absolutely! The Play by Play series is known for its steamy scenes and sizzling chemistry, making each book a super hot and thrilling read.

Who would enjoy this series?

If you love low-angst, low-drama romance with a sweet yet steamy vibe, the Play by Play series is for you. Think of it like a Hallmark movie but with sexy times.

Play by Play by Jaci Burton Books in Order

There are 3 holiday novellas in this series that I mentioned in this reading order, but you can save and purchase them bundled together in the book Mistletoe Games.

Why we recommend the Play by Play by Jaci Burton series?

The Perfect Play by Jaci Burton

“You dance really well.”

“I took ballet lessons.”

She tilted her head back to search his face, certain he was joking. “You did not.”

“I did. Several of us on the team did. Good for coordination.”

Resisting the laugh that bubbled up in her throat, she said, “Somehow I can’t picture you in tights and a tutu.”

But he did laugh. “We made sure no one with a camera got within miles of the studio.”

The Perfect Play by Jaci Burton

Sport: Football
Main Characters: Mick Riley and Tara Lincoln

Read this if you want:

  • Single Parent
  • Opposites Attract
  • Player/Reformed Bad Boy

Get ready to swoon as single mom Tara meets pro quarterback Mick. This is a classic sports romance with a touch of opposites attract. Mick’s charm and Tara’s determination make sparks fly, and their chemistry is undeniable. It’s a heartwarming story!

Grab this book on Amazon or read our The Perfect Play by Jaci Burton book review

Changing the Game by Jaci Burton

Liz: “Talking is overrated.”
Gavin: “Now you sound like a guy.”
Liz: “That’s why you like me.”
Gavin: “Because you’re a guy?”

Changing the Game by Jaci Burton

Sport: Baseball
Main Characters: Gavin Riley and Elizabeth Darnell

Read this if you want:

  • Enemies to Lovers
  • Forbidden Love
  • Workplace Romance

Sports agent Liz and baseball star Gavin have a sizzling enemies-to-lovers dynamic. Liz is tough and no-nonsense, while Gavin’s persistence adds heat to their banter. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions as they navigate their professional and personal lives, making this book a thrilling read.

Grab this book on Amazon or read our Changing the Game by Jaci Burton book review

Taking a Shot by Jaci Burton

“Sex.” He shook his head. “Yeah, that’s a problem.” He brushed his shoulder against hers. He understood the chemistry thing. Just being near her made his dick spring to life. 

She turned in the chair to face him. “It is. What should we do about that?” 

“I don’t think sex is a problem for me, Jenna. You already know how I feel. The question is, what do you want to do about it?” 

She slid her fingers down the lapel of his jacket, the look she gave him burning him from the inside out. 

Yeah, definite chemistry. He was surprised flames weren’t sparking between them. His breathing quickened and if she didn’t make a decision soon he was going to have to make a quick exit, because this woman was driving him crazy. 

“I think you should come home with me tonight and we can talk about it,” she said. 

“Ready when you are.”

Taking a Shot by Jaci Burton

Sport: Hockey
Main Characters: Ty Anderson and Jenna Riley

Read this if you want:

  • Friends to Lovers
  • Commitment-Phobe
  • Strong Heroine

Jenna is a fierce, independent woman avoiding love, while hockey player Ty is all about breaking down her walls. This friends-to-lovers romance is packed with witty banter and steamy moments. Their journey from friendship to love is sweet, funny, and oh-so-satisfying.

Grab this book on Amazon or read our Taking a Shot by Jaci Burton book review

Read our interview with romance cover model Jason Vendryes, on the cover of Taking a Shot and our interview with author Jaci Burton and some of her characters.

Playing to Win by Jaci Burton

He was wrong. She was fine. It didn’t matter. She had always shown everyone how strong she was.

“Show me how you feel, Peaches.”

Her bottom lip trembled. She got up, walked to the window to look outside, staring at the darkness, not really seeing anything but the years falling away, stripping away the cool, confident woman she was now, revealing the scared little girl she once was. She’d vowed to never go back to that place, to never revisit those feelings again, yet here she stood.
Cole wrapped his arms around her. She stiffened.

“It’s okay to be vulnerable, Savannah, to let someone see you scared.”

“I’m not scared. Not anymore.”

Playing to Win by Jaci Burton

Sport: Football
Main Characters: Cole Riley and Savannah Brooks

Read this if you want:

  • Enemies to Lovers
  • PR Makeover
  • Alpha Hero

Savannah, a PR expert, and Cole, a rebellious football star, clash in this fun enemies-to-lovers story. Savannah’s job is to clean up Cole’s image, but their fiery chemistry makes things complicated. It’s a wild ride of passion, conflict, and eventual love that keeps you hooked.

Grab this book on Amazon or read our Playing to Win by Jaci Burton book review

Read our interview with author Jaci Burton for the release of Playing to Win

Thrown by a Curve by Jaci Burton

He might be pretty on the outside, but she had thoughts of running for the duct tape to slap over his mouth whenever he showed up for therapy.

Thrown By A Curve by Jaci Burton

Sport: Baseball
Main Characters: Garrett Scott and Alicia Riley

Read this if you want:

  • Workplace Romance
  • Friends to Lovers
  • Injury and Recovery

Alicia, a sports therapist, and Garrett, a pitcher recovering from an injury, are thrown together in this workplace romance. With their shared passion for baseball and undeniable chemistry, this friends-to-lovers story is filled with humor, heat, and heartwarming moments.

Grab this book on Amazon or read our Thrown By A Curve by Jaci Burton book review

Read our interview with author Jaci Burton for the release of Thrown by a Curve.

One Sweet Ride by Jaci Burton

She could tell him how he smelled. So good. Like the crisp, clear mountains.”Tu sens bon. Comme les montanges.”

He arched a brow, his lids dropping partway closed.” Tu es sexy. Je tiens à vous lécher partout”.

Oh, God. He understood.

One Sweet Ride by Jaci Burton

Sport: Auto Racing
Main Characters: Gray Preston and Evelyn Hill

Read this if you want:

  • Opposites Attract
  • Political/Wealthy Background
  • Fast and Furious Romance

Political strategist Evelyn and race car driver Gray collide in this opposites-attract romance. Evelyn’s structured life meets Gray’s fast-paced world, leading to an unexpected and thrilling love story. It’s a perfect blend of ambition, speed, and steamy romance.

Grab this book on Amazon or read our One Sweet Ride by Jaci Burton book review

Under the Covers had the chance to interview Gray’s friends in this character interview with Jaci Burton.

We love our drivers and if you do too, check out our car racing romance book recommendations.

Holiday Games by Jaci Burton

“So your nefarious plans to take advantage of my body are going to have to wait.” 

“We’ll see about that.”

Holiday Games by Jaci Burton

Sport: Baseball
Main Characters: Gavin Riley and Elizabeth Darnell

Read this if you want:

  • Second Chances
  • Holiday Romance
  • Family Focused

It’s a holiday special with Liz and Gavin from Changing the Game. This novella revisits their love story with a festive twist, filled with family, love, and steamy moments. It’s a short, sweet, and spicy read that brings holiday cheer.

Grab this book on Amazon or read our Holiday Games by Jaci Burton book review

Melting the Ice by Jaci Burton

“I suppose the first thing I need to do is measure you.”

“No, not that. Already seen it.” 

“Yeah, but one, you haven’t seen it in a very long time. And two, have you ever measured it?”

Melting the Ice by Jaci Burton

Sport: Hockey
Main Characters: Drew Hogan and Carolina Preston

Read this if you want:

  • Second Chances
  • Friends to Lovers
  • Rekindled Romance

Carolina, a fashion designer, and hockey star Drew find themselves rekindling an old flame. This second-chance romance is all about reigniting past passions and overcoming old wounds. Their chemistry is electric, making for a heartwarming and sizzling read.

Grab this book on Amazon or read our Melting the Ice by Jaci Burton book review

Straddling the Line by Jaci Burton

“Yeah. But aren’t you good at your job? Isn’t this what you’ve been training for, putting in time at that Dallas news station, hoping for your big break? He flashed a grin at her.

“Baby, I’m your big break.”

Straddling the Line by Jaci Burton

Sport: Football
Main Characters: Trevor Shay and Haven Briscoe

Read this if you want:

  • Second Chances
  • Celebrity Romance
  • Friends to Lovers

Reporter Haven and pro baseball player Trevor share a complicated past. This second-chance romance is filled with emotional depth and steamy reconnections. Watching them navigate their history and rebuild trust makes for a compelling and heartfelt story.

Grab this book on Amazon or read our Straddling the Line by Jaci Burton book review

Holiday on Ice by Jaci Burton

“I have a gift for you.”

She cocked a brow. “Is that right?”

“Yes. It’ll require us to get naked.”

She looped her arm in his as they headed to the bedroom. “Is this gift something I’ve seen before?”

“Well … maybe. But this gift can always be used in new and unique ways.”

She tilted her head back and laughed. “Best. Gift. Ever.”

Holiday on Ice by Jaci Burton

Sport: Hockey
Main Characters: Trick Niemeyer and Stella Slovinski

Read this if you want:

  • Friends to Lovers
  • Holiday Romance
  • Short and Sweet

Figure skater Stella and hockey player Trick heat up the ice in this festive novella. Their friends-to-lovers journey is packed with holiday spirit, playful banter, and plenty of heat. It’s a fun, flirty, and festive read perfect for the holidays.

Grab this book on Amazon or read our Holiday on Ice by Jaci Burton book review

Quarterback Draw by Jaci Burton

It wasn’t a kiss. It was an almost kiss, and it was damned frustrating. Her lips were right on his, but he couldn’t move in. He wanted to jerk her fully against him and take what she teasingly offered. Their gazes were locked, their bodies entwined, and it was a good thing cold water rushed over him, because he’d never been hotter.

Quarterback Draw by Jaci Burton

Sport: Football
Main Characters: Grant Cassidy and Katrina Koslova

Read this if you want:

  • Instant Attraction
  • Opposites Attract
  • Glamour and Fame

Football star Grant and model Katrina find themselves entangled in a whirlwind romance. This story combines the glamour of the modeling world with the high stakes of professional football. Their instant chemistry and fast-paced romance make this book a real page-turner.

Grab this book on Amazon or read our Quarterback Draw by Jaci Burton book review

All Wound Up by Jaci Burton

“Try not to come back.”

“Oh, I’ll be back, but it’ll be to ask you out.”

“Give it up, jock. It’s not going to happen.”

“We’ll see.”

All Wound Up by Jaci Burton

Sport: Baseball
Main Characters: Tucker Cassidy and Aubry Ross

Read this if you want:

  • Opposites Attract
  • Workplace Romance
  • Family Expectations

Physician Aubry and pitcher Tucker are a dynamic duo in this opposites-attract romance. Aubry’s structured life collides with Tucker’s laid-back attitude, creating sparks both on and off the field. It’s a fun, steamy story of unexpected love and finding balance.

Grab this book on Amazon or read our All Wound Up by Jaci Burton book review

Hot Holiday Nights by Jaci Burton

Hot Holiday Nights by Jaci Burton

Sport: Surfing
Main Characters: Alex McConnell and Victoria Baldwin

Read this if you want:

  • Holiday Romance
  • Instant Attraction
  • Vacation Romance

Sports agent Victoria and surfer Alex heat up the holidays in this sizzling novella. Their whirlwind romance in a tropical paradise mixes festive cheer with steamy encounters, making it a perfect, fun read for holiday romance fans.

Grab this book on Amazon or read our Hot Holiday Nights by Jaci Burton book review

Unexpected Rush by Jaci Burton

“What do you say we christen this nice new house the proper way?”

“Appointment, Barrett.”

“I’d rather not make an appointment with you for sex, Harmony. How about I make you come instead?”

Unexpected Rush by Jaci Burton

Sport: Football
Main Characters: Barrett Cassidy and Harmony Evans

Read this if you want:

  • Forbidden Love
  • Secret Relationship
  • Best Friend’s Sibling

Running back Barrett and real estate agent Harmony get caught in a secret relationship. This forbidden love story is filled with intense chemistry and the thrill of sneaking around. It’s a spicy, engaging read about finding love in unexpected places.

Grab this book on Amazon or read our Unexpected Rush by Jaci Burton book review

Rules of Contact by Jaci Burton

“That zing.”

“Yeah. An attraction. A chemical thing. When you feel a tightening in your body, and awareness of the other person.”

“Do you feel it right now, Amelia? When I touch you?”

Rules of Contact by Jaci Burton

Sport: Football
Main Characters: Flynn Cassidy and Amelia Lawrence

Read this if you want:

  • Workplace Romance
  • Friends to Lovers
  • Strong Heroine

Chef Amelia and football player Flynn connect over their love for food and football. This workplace romance brings together culinary delights and athletic prowess, creating a deliciously steamy and fun love story.

Grab this book on Amazon or read our Rules of Contact by Jaci Burton book review

The Final Score by Jaci Burton

“So you’re going to live in denial?”

“That’s preferable, yes.”

“You realize you can’t live in denial land forever.”

“Why not? It’s nice here.”

Monique laughed. “You’re the most realistic person I’ve ever known, Mia. And you’ve never been afraid to face anything head on. So maybe whatever it is you’re feeling for Nathan that has you running scared might be love.”

Mia wrinkled her nose. “I can’t be in love. I don’t want to be in love. Love will ruin us.”

Monique rolled her eyes. “How will love ruin you?”

“If I thought sex was bad for our friendship? Falling in love could destroy us.”

“Sometimes your sense of logic is utterly mind-boggling. Falling in love might be the best thing that could ever happen to you and Nathan.”

The Final Score by Jaci Burton

Sport: Football
Main Characters: Nathan Riley and Mia Cassidy

Read this if you want:

  • Friends to Lovers
  • Best Friend’s Sister
  • Childhood Crush

Nathan, a football star, and Mia, his best friend’s sister, navigate a friends-to-lovers romance with all the feels. Their journey from friendship to love is filled with sweet moments, playful banter, and steamy scenes, making it a delightful read.

Grab this book on Amazon or read our The Final Score by Jaci Burton book review

Shot on Gold by Jaci Burton

“Besides, you haven’t even seen my long program yet. Now that’s packed with some sizzle.”

He leveled her with the wicked desire in his gaze. “Babe, you haven’t seen my long program yet, either. Trust me, I’m packing some heat, too”

Shot on Gold by Jaci Burton

Sport: Hockey
Main Characters: Will “Mad Dog” Madigan and Amber Sloane

Read this if you want:

  • Opposites Attract
  • Instant Attraction
  • Olympic Village

Figure skater Amber and hockey player Will team up in this sports romance set during the Winter Olympics. Their whirlwind romance on and off the ice is filled with competitive spirit, intense chemistry, and the excitement of going for gold. It’s a fun and passionate story of love and ambition.

Grab this book on Amazon or read our Shot on Gold by Jaci Burton book review

Interview with Jaci Burton

We’ve interviewed Jaci Burton multiple times (which you can browse through here) and these are some of the answers to help you get to know her better.

Jaci Burton

We’ve never grilled you for these before, but how about sharing five things about you that are not common knowledge?

  1. I spoke fluent Italian as a child, thanks to my maternal grandparents. Sadly, the only thing I remember now is a song my grandfather used to sing to me. (If you don’t use it, you lose it, people)
  2. I was once a licensed private investigator. Interesting job, but not as fun as it looks on TV.
  3. I was also once a vice president of a division in corporate America, managing hundreds of staff. Let’s just say I much prefer being an author. 😉
  4. My first car was a 1964 Dodge Polara. I had to have the transmission replaced twice. That car gave new meaning to the acronym P.O.S. My second car was a 1968 Chevy Camaro, 3 speed, 327 engine. * sigh *. Sure wish I still had that car.
  5. I have six tattoos. My favorite is my writerly tattoo on my wrist. If you ever meet me, ask to see it!

What do you think is the best quality or most attractive thing of each and every hero of your Play by Play series? See that’s easier than asking for favorites 😉

The one thing I find most attractive about each of my Play by Play heroes is their vulnerability. They might not even be aware of it, and it may take them awhile to show it, but eventually they’re all vulnerable in one way or another, and they trust the heroine enough to show it. It takes a lot for an athlete to show vulnerability, whether it be physical or emotional, and their willingness to shed that macho image and expose their underbelly is one of the things I love the most about these guys.

As with any series that goes on for as many books as yours, how do you manage to keep the storylines fresh?

It’s all about the characters. Each character drives the story. They’re unique, have their own backgrounds, conflicts and goals. They’re completely different from any of the other characters I’ve written, so I’d like to think their story would be fresh and exciting and nothing like anyone else’s.

Many authors get their ideas from everyday life. Do you have a story to share where your real-life experience has influenced your writing? 

My love of riding Harleys influenced my Wild Riders series, and my utter addiction to sports influences my Play by Play series. I often write about the places where I live or where I’ve lived before, like St Louis and Oklahoma and California, because I know those locations best and loved them the most.

If you could write a warning label for yourself as a person or an author, what would it say?

Warning: Author on deadline–bad disposition, curses often. On strict diet of pizza, Hershey Kisses and bubble gum. Do not attempt to engage in conversation.

I probably know the answer to this one but which is hotter: bikers or athletes? 

Both.

What does a typical day in the life of Jaci Burton look like? 

Oh, it’s messy and unorganized. Coffee and dealing with my dogs and doing laundry and writing and answering emails and doing promo and playing on Twitter and Facebook and doing more writing and answering more emails. Somewhere in there I might even comb my hair.

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Play by Play by Jaci Burton series guide

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