Review: Playing with Trouble by Chanel Cleeton (Capital Confessions #2)

Note: This ARC was provided by Penguin Group (Berkley, NAL/Signet Romance, DAW) via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Blair Reynolds is the responsible daughter, the one who doesn't rock the boat, but Blair's life has been anything but a fairy tale lately, what with her wedding abruptly being called off and now being stuck in law school and quickly realizing that she may not be cut out for it. To make matters worse, there's one professor in particular who makes it a point to call on her each and every class they have. He inspires fear and tension in his students, but Blair can't help but wonder about the man behind the unfeeling exterior. Once it becomes obvious that the attraction she has for Graydon Canter is more than mutual, they facades they've maintained for so long begin to crumble. But with Graydon's dark past and Blair's connection to her father, convincing each other that what they have is worth all the trouble may be close to impossible.

Goodness, this series takes intrigue and romance and creates distinctly different stories for each set of lead characters yet every single one sucks you in and makes you hold on for the entire ride. Capital Confessions' second offering, Playing with Trouble, has Blair Reynolds trying to find a new direction for her life after the betrayal of her fiancé. She's considered political royalty and she's always stuck by the rules, doing what was expected of her, but meeting Gray Canter, one of her professors in law school, tempts her to break those rules and to finally go after what brings her happiness. Their relationship is complicated by the obvious--he's her professor and she's his student--and the not-too-obvious--his checkered past and her political family ties, but they become one another's strongest ally and supporter.

Author Chanel Cleeton has an undeniable talent for coming up with well-developed and multi-layered characters that you can't help but become attached to and have some amount of emotional investment in. There's nothing easy or simple about Blair and Gray's relationship, and they were already leading very complex lives to begin with. Yet, you want them to overcome every bump and road block that they encounter on their way to their happily-ever-after. I love how, just like in the first book, the lead characters are able to surprise me because they're so not cookie-cutter. Blair may seem like the perfectly poised political princess but beneath the polished veneer, she's got a strong backbone when it counts and Gray is broken and imperfect yet he's got a heart filled with kindness and generosity he doesn't show off.

I've read my fair share of teacher-student romances before but there was something so wonderfully refreshing about this one that I found myself sighing in absolute satisfaction by the time I was done. This story was more than about an illicit and taboo relationship. It was about the ties one has to family and how there are times when those ties can become suffocating and one needs to either sever or loosen them. It's also about forgiveness and redemption and the realization that true love isn't always about letting go but about holding on. I absolutely loved Blair and Gray and their love story and that sneak peek of the third book has me giddy with excitement to finally learn Kate Reynolds' tale. Capital Confessions is on my list of 2015 favorite series and I hope you enjoy Playing with Trouble as much as I did. I'm giving this five stars! ♥

Date Read: 30 July 2015

Learn more about Chanel Cleeton here.

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