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Well Played
Cover of Well Played
Well Played
A laugh-out-loud romantic comedy featuring kilted musicians, Renaissance Faire tavern wenches, and an unlikely love story.

LibraryReads Pick

 
Stacey is jolted when her friends Simon and Emily get engaged. She knew she was putting her life on hold when she stayed in Willow Creek to care for her sick mother, but it's been years now, and even though Stacey loves spending her summers pouring drinks and flirting with patrons at the local Renaissance Faire, she wants more out of life. Stacey vows to have her life figured out by the time her friends get hitched at Faire next summer. Maybe she'll even find The One.
 
When Stacey imagined "The One," it never occurred to her that her summertime Faire fling, Dex MacLean, might fit the bill. While Dex is easy on the eyes onstage with his band The Dueling Kilts, Stacey has never felt an emotional connection with him. So when she receives a tender email from the typically monosyllabic hunk, she's not sure what to make of it.
 
Faire returns to Willow Creek, and Stacey comes face-to-face with the man with whom she’s exchanged hundreds of online messages over the past nine months. To Stacey's shock, it isn't Dex—she's been falling in love with a man she barely knows.
A laugh-out-loud romantic comedy featuring kilted musicians, Renaissance Faire tavern wenches, and an unlikely love story.

LibraryReads Pick

 
Stacey is jolted when her friends Simon and Emily get engaged. She knew she was putting her life on hold when she stayed in Willow Creek to care for her sick mother, but it's been years now, and even though Stacey loves spending her summers pouring drinks and flirting with patrons at the local Renaissance Faire, she wants more out of life. Stacey vows to have her life figured out by the time her friends get hitched at Faire next summer. Maybe she'll even find The One.
 
When Stacey imagined "The One," it never occurred to her that her summertime Faire fling, Dex MacLean, might fit the bill. While Dex is easy on the eyes onstage with his band The Dueling Kilts, Stacey has never felt an emotional connection with him. So when she receives a tender email from the typically monosyllabic hunk, she's not sure what to make of it.
 
Faire returns to Willow Creek, and Stacey comes face-to-face with the man with whom she’s exchanged hundreds of online messages over the past nine months. To Stacey's shock, it isn't Dex—she's been falling in love with a man she barely knows.
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Excerpts-
  • From the cover

    One

     

    It all started with a necklace.

     

    A beautiful pendant, made of gleaming silver in the shape of a dragonfly, strung on a green silk cord. Its eyes were tiny crystals that caught the light, and the wings were a delicate filigree. I spotted it on the last day of the Willow Creek Renaissance Faire, while Emily—or Emma, since we were still in character—and I strolled the grounds. We were in our usual tavern wench costumes, with our personalities to match: a little louder, a little more brash and flirtatious than we were in real life. We stopped to interact with patrons—especially tiny ones dressed as knights or pirates—and we did a little surreptitious shopping as the vendors took one last chance to sell stock before packing it all up and moving to the next Faire on the circuit. That was when I saw the dragonfly, winking up at me from a jeweler's table.

     

    "What d'you think, Emma, dear?" I held it up so we could both see it. I was wearing the pewter Celtic knot I'd gotten the summer before last, but my outfit needed a refresh. As the silver dragonfly rotated slowly at the end of its cord, its eyes flashed at me, whispering, Yes. You need me.

     

    "Oh, Stacey, it's so pretty!" Emily clapped a hand over her mouth and turned wide eyes to me as she realized her errors. First, she'd called me by the wrong name, and second, she hadn't even made an attempt at her usual Faire accent. "Sorry," she said around a grin.

     

    The vendor snorted. "It's all over but the shouting now. No one's going to notice you breaking character."

     

    "I mean Beatrice, of course." To her credit, Emily slid back into character in a heartbeat. "Because that's your name. You truly deserve something new. I think it would do quite nicely."

     

    "What's going on here?"

     

    Now my wide eyes matched Emily's as we looked at each other in reaction to the stern voice behind us. Then we turned in unison to face Simon Graham, the Faire's organizer and Emily's boyfriend. He was still in costume as Captain Blackthorne the pirate: all black leather and roguish smile. But his forbidding tone was pure Simon the English Teacher, as though he'd already shaved his beard and cut his hair short as he did at the end of each Faire season.

     

    So I scoffed at him, because a pirate and a tavern wench were roughly the same in the hierarchy of things, and out here he wasn't my boss. Not while we were in character. "Nothing wrong with a bit of shopping, Captain. Surely you wouldn't deprive your ladylove of a little indulgence."

     

    "Oh, I don't need anything." Emily's hand went to the pendant she wore around her own neck-a deep blue crystal hanging from a silver chain. Simon had gotten it for her from one of the other vendors earlier this summer. "Why would I, when I have this?" Her eyes practically glowed when she looked at him, and I could tell she wasn't just talking about the necklace.

     

    Simon raised an eyebrow, his stern expression melting away as though he had trouble maintaining it in front of Emily. "Quite right." He bent to brush a kiss across her mouth.

     

    I coughed and glanced over at the vendor, who rolled her eyes good-naturedly in my direction. We probably had matching expressions. "Get thee a room," I muttered, and the vendor snorted in amusement. I fished in my belt pouch for the cash I carried to pay her for the dragonfly necklace. I didn't have anyone buying me gifts; I had to get my own. But I didn't mind. That way I was guaranteed to end up with something I liked.

     

    Simon turned his attention back to me,...

About the Author-
  • Jen DeLuca was born and raised near Richmond, Virginia, but now lives in Central Florida with her husband and a houseful of rescue pets. She loves latte-flavored lattes, Hokies football, and the Oxford comma. Well Met was her first novel, inspired by her time volunteering as a pub wench with her local Renaissance Faire.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 6, 2020
    DeLuca follows Well Met with this cute but shallow rom-com that sets a Cyrano de Bergerac–style plot against the backdrop of a Renaissance fair. At 22, Stacey Lindholm was on the road to a career in fashion merchandising in New York City when her mother fell ill and Stacey moved back to small-town Willow Creek, Md., to help out. Now almost 27, she feels her life stagnating in a routine broken only by the yearly Renaissance fair she and her friends help organize. For the past two years, Stacey’s scratched her sexual itch with one of the festival musicians, Dex MacLean, in a no-strings-attached arrangement that only lasts the few days he and his cousin are in town for the fair. Then one drunken night, she sends him a message that kicks off a yearlong exchange of flirtatious texts and emails that gives her insight not only into him, but into herself. With this year’s festival upon them, the pair are due to meet in person once more—but it turns out that someone else has been writing Dex’s sweet nothings. The laughs are frequent and the plot charms, but Stacey’s myopic self-pity detracts from the story. Still, the fresh setting and unusual twist make this well worth the time of any rom-com fan. Agent: Taylor Haggerty, Root Literary.

  • AudioFile Magazine Brittany Pressley narrates a story that revolves around a summer Renaissance fair. Feeling stuck in town, Stacey drunkenly sends her longtime crush, Dex, a message on Facebook--not to his personal page but to his band's page. Dex's cousin, the band manager, Daniel, controls the page and believes the message is for him. Thus forms a convoluted triangle: Stacey likes Dex, Daniel likes Stacey, and Stacey is unknowingly emailing Daniel. Pressley deftly moves from male to female voices and captures the back and forth of the epistolary section of the book. She performs all the emotions tied into this entanglement with expert pacing. S.K.G. � AudioFile 2020, Portland, Maine
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Well Played
Jen DeLuca
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