Played is the latest book in Cara Dee’s Auctioned series. The series is best enjoyed being read in order and this review will naturally reveal plot points for the series in general.
Darius and Gray are in a place they never thought they would be. They are living together in a great remote house where each day they become more self-sufficient. Darius never thought he would settle down, but Gray is the perfect man for him. Gray is doing much better after his abduction and escape and there is nowhere he would rather be than with Darius and their two foster boys. Each day, the roots they set down grow deeper and each day, the love and bond between them grows deeper as well. Still, Darius is having concerns that the age difference between them is too great and that one day Gray will grow tired of him.
The past hasn’t fully left them, however, and the men know they will have to plan one more mission to bring an end once and for all to the trafficking organization that hurt Gray. Darius is reluctant to step back into his private contractor role, but he has every intention of seeing this through. With his crew assembled, Darius knows how high the stakes are and what he has to lose. But even plans with the best of intentions have a way of going sideways and Darius and Gray may have to alter their plan of action before they get played for good.
Played is the next entry into Cara Dee’s Auctioned series and is the second to last in the series. It was great to connect again with Darius and Gray at home and their time together as a couple and as a family is what this book does best. I so enjoy these guys as a couple and seeing them settled and building a domestic life is a highlight. They have two boys now that they are fostering to adopt, and Darius finds the entire experience more rewarding than he thought possible. Darius, who has always been more solitary, now looks forward to his days as a family.
Darius, however, is also a little jealous and a little unsettled as he realizes he’s getting older and he just can’t do all the things the same way he used to. He’s starting to wonder when Gray will think he’s just too old and the doubts are settling in. Gray is completely content with their home, their boys, and with Darius, and I enjoyed the insight into their relationship.
The other part to this story is their quest to dismantle the trafficking group that has caused Gray, and countless others, so much pain. Parts of this book did have a transitional feel to them leading up to the finale, as here their plans were being made. Darius is doing a lot of physical training and, while he is working with a team, it didn’t seem like there was as much attention to detail on all that was needed to dismantle an organization of this magnitude and that’s where the book faltered for me. Darius is looked at as an expert and when things don’t feel right to him, he continues on anyway, which is then how the title of the book comes in. The ending of this book, as well as all of the players on page, also wasn’t as clear as I would have liked it to be.
The book ends with a ‘to be continued’ feel and a set up for the last book as their operation reaches a pivotal and critical point. I am still all in to see the end of the series as Darius and Gray fight the past and look to the future.