Review: “The Denial Game” by Amy Alves

Series: Landry Love, #2

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Steam: 🔥🔥🔥🔥

Release Date: April 22nd, 2021

Add to Goodreads | (Available on KU)

The only woman he’s wanted in years is on a man-hiatus. Now he’s being friend-zoned and she won’t tell him why.

Ten years ago, the consequences of youthful indiscretions and crushed NFL dreams had me returning to my hometown of Landry on the path to redemption.

Despite my past, I’ve become a pillar in the community, a mentor for my students and football team, and a beloved member of this town. Well, for everyone except Landry High’s gorgeous, sassy new English teacher.

Lauren is quick to inform me that I can be her friend, co-worker, and stealer of her classroom supplies, but I can’t be her boyfriend. I’m not wanting to settle for being just friends when I’ve waited so long to find someone who makes me feel worthy again.

Are my feelings truly unrequited or is something else holding her back?

After one last attempt at mending the relationship with my family epically fails, I wash my hands of my obnoxiously wealthy, narcissistic parents and my dickhead ex-boyfriend. It’s time for a fresh start at the life I want instead of the one that was expected of me.

A self-imposed dating ban kick-starts my new life in small-town Landry. When I meet Landry’s High’s ruggedly handsome football coach who also happens to be my behemoth of a coworker, I’m left cursing my circumstances. The reason behind my celibacy stance becomes harder to recall.

What if taking a chance with Taylor means bringing him into the destructive path of my manipulative family?



Okay, now that I’m done screaming about it, let me get down to my thoughts on The Denial Game. So when we first meet Taylor and Lauren in The Experiment, you are instantly curious about these two characters. We get to see them through Jess and Emma’s eyes and it’s not enough. There’s just so much we don’t know and so much we want to understand, but the first book wasn’t about them, right?

So then we got The Denial Game, which is just so wonderful. I loved every minute of this story and I absolutely and completely loved Lauren and Taylor. And I loved how we finally got all our questions (yes, I know you had questions too!) about Lauren’s life and why she ended up in Landry answered. Plus, Lauren and Taylor. Guys, this book is funny, sexy, smart and so so hot.

Lauren is such an interesting character and while I loved whatever we got of her in The Experiment, I was not fully prepared for how much I would love her once we got down to the details of her life. So Lauren was born into money and her family has a famous company that she’s on the board of. She doesn’t really want to take over the family business or do what she’s been asked to do over and over again. Lauren is a rebel, guys, and that alone makes you love her. She leaves everything behind and goes in search of something better. And that’s how she winds up in Landry.

“I promised myself that if I came across a woman who relit the fire in my soul, who stole my gaze and captured my every thought, I’d let myself pursue her.”

Where she comes into contact with the sexiest football coach ever. Taylor is Landry’s golden boy and after a mishap or two, he’s settled into his hometown to coach football and change lives. And when he and Lauren first officially meet, it’s truly the best thing ever. Three words: Chicken and Bandit. It’s innocent flirting, then it’s prank wars and then eventually, it’s so much more. I loved their friendship most of all and how Taylor could always spot Lauren, no matter where she was in the room. Obviously Taylor falls for Lauren way before she lets herself feel anything for him, but their relationship is so pure and so wonderful.

There’s nothing about slow burning here for Lauren and Taylor. Sure, it’s not instantaneous sparks and sex, but it happens sooner than you expect and good god, it is so hot. The chemistry between these two characters is absolutely fantastic and when it builds from playful banter to moans and groans, you are going to be hooked! I love how their relationship is so normal and simple. They like each other, they want to be with each other, and they are with each other. Sure, Taylor’s got some drama in his past and Lauren’s got her family breathing down her neck, but everything about their relationship is wonderful. I absolutely adored how devoted Taylor was to Lauren. Once they crossed that line, nothing and nobody was going to take her away from him and he reminds her of it over and over again. 

“He’s also super fucking hot and mischievous as all hell, which makes my lady parts clench in need.”

Unlike in The Experiment, we don’t get to see all that much of Landry because a lot of Lauren’s story is told in San Diego and the drama is mostly centered there, but strangely, that was fine. Whatever we did get of Landry worked just perfectly for me. We did get to meet a few more characters, though, which is always good for me, because that means we’re going to get their books and indulge in their stories and fall in love with more Landry residents.

With The Denial Game, I have cemented myself as a fan and a devotee at the shrine of Amy Alves. This story gave me more than I expected and I loved every single minute of it. And I hope that everyone who reads this story enjoys it just as much!

Thanks to Amy Alves for generously providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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