The Game Changer by Finley ChuvaThe Game Changer by Finley Chuva is a friends to lovers romance with high stakes on the soccer pitch and in a new board game cafe.

She’s done it successfully once before, but starting a board game café from scratch is still nerve wracking for Harper Wright. Before opening night she must furnish and decorate the new space, order and organize all the start-up materials, and somehow not fall in love with Elena Torres. That will be the hardest thing of all, because she’s crushed on her older sister’s friend for years, and Elena still has the best arms she’s ever lusted over.

A last minute set-up for a gala dinner finds Elena Torres going out with her friend’s little sister. On the autism spectrum, she has always found it more interesting to observe people than interact with them, and she’s happy to let Harper do all the talking. Attraction grows quickly between the two, but Elena had her heart broken once before when she couldn’t choose her wife over soccer. She doesn’t want to hurt Harper the same way.

They agree to an intimate relationship with no strings attached, but they’re soon caught in a cat’s cradle of feelings and fears of hurting the other or being hurt.

Pros And My Favourite Parts

The best thing about this book is the unapologetic acceptance of Harper’s plus size beauty. She feels good about herself, Elena loves Harper’s body as well as her mind, and a character apologizes at one point for making even a minor comment concerning what she eats. The next best thing is how Elena’s autism is just another aspect of her character and not treated as a problem.

Harper’s café, The Bewitched Bishop would be a place I would go to for some Second Breakfast Potatoes and Sansas Lemon Cakes. Both of the women love what they do and are very good at it, and they both respect the other’s abilities; though Elena is often lost about what Harper is talking about.

They have great and supportive friends, but Harper’s family is lacking in love and support. Both women are easy to hang out with, on the pitch or putting together the café. It was a pleasant few hours being around two very interesting women who have been hurt in the past and find just the right person for them.

Cons And Heads Up


The Conclusion

Soccer and entrepreneurial nerdiness are a surprisingly good match in this pleasant story about a professional soccer player and a board game café owner. Elena and Harper enjoy each other’s company from the start, and both enjoy the friends with benefits status for about the same length of time. In other words, their feelings quickly spiral into more than friends territory and both of them have to find a way through their personal demons and old hurts.

Excerpt from The Game Changer by Finley Chuva

“But what if, when we do eventually meet, there’s no chemistry?”

“Obviously a possibility. But no harm, no foul, right?”

“I guess, but then it just seems like a waste of time.”

“Sometimes it is. Someone once told me dating is like a job where you have to put in the work ahead of time because you know the payoff will come eventually. You just don’t know when.”

“That’s a really interesting way of thinking of it. And you agree?

“I think it makes sense. I want someone to spend the rest of my life with, you know? That’s a pretty big ask. You can’t just show up your first day on the job and demand a million bucks. I mean, you can, but it’s not going to work.”

Elena laughed.  “True enough. So how has that approach worked for you?”

“I’m still doing my time. How do you think I know so much about Masked?” Harper quirked a smile as she held up her phone and wiggled it a couple of times. Elena slid her own phone out of her pocket and opened the app store. There it was, #2 in the Dating category, featuring a cute little icon of a purple and silver Colombina mask.

Elena thought for a few seconds, then put the phone back away without pressing the download button.

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Denver Defiant

The Game Changer

Bits and Bobs


Publisher: Indie Author

Finley Chuva Online

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