Axel Dean is a playboy and proud of it. He's having too much fun playing the field to even think of settling down, until he has a chance encounter with a lovely lady at a party thrown by the chief of staff at the hospital where he works. Axel thinks she's one of the catering crew and has no idea she's the niece of his host. He seduces her in a secluded garden, but before things can go all the way, she let's it slip that she's only twenty-one and a virgin. Women that young, especially ones who are still virgins, are two things on Axel's list of relationship taboos, so he instantly puts a stop to their lust-fueled encounter. Unfortunately though, for the next few weeks he can't think of anything else but her and hasn't even been out on a single date with another woman. When the lovely Libby shows up in his office, wanting him to prescribe birth control for her, he knows she's going to find some other guy to initiate her into sex, and Axel can't bear the idea of her playing doctor with anyone else but him.
Playing Doctor is the final novella in Lori Foster's Dean Brothers & Friend series. Playboy Axel Dean is the last man standing, as his brother and best friend have both succumbed to the bite of the love bug. Axel, however, has no intention of falling in love or marrying. He's having far too much fun being single and playing the field. In fact, he's a bit of a man whore, taking a different woman to his bed almost every week. Because of this, I wasn't sure how I'd feel about him as the hero of his own story, but Lori Foster really redeemed him in my eyes. I liked that Axel had a few scruples left. He won't sully virginal women, although the way in which he goes about turning Libby down when he finds out she is a virgin definitely lacked the finesse for which he's known. It was fun to watch Libby take him down a peg or two and make him squirm. It was even more enjoyable to see him not be able to stop thinking about Libby, even though she's not his usual type and hits his "Won't Go There" list on multiple counts. He's even a little jealous and can't stand the idea of some other guy initiating her into sex. What really made me like Axel though, is how he makes sweet, passionate love to Libby and just can't seem to resist her or get enough of her, but best of all, I loved how tenderly he cares for her when she gets sick. He definitely proved he's a very bad boy who can be very good when the right woman comes along to reform him.
Libby can definitely go toe to toe with Axel. She's a little mouthy and usually not afraid to tell it like it is. She's fourteen years his junior, which might be a little off-putting to some readers, but I didn't mind. She has a sympathetic past in which she had to grow up fast, so she's more mature than most women her age would be. Still, her youth and virginal status make Axel put the kibosh on their halfway-there garden tryst pretty quickly. Even though Libby was rather humiliated by that, she can't stop thinking about the hot doc. Normally I'm not a huge fan of heroines who are in a hurry to lose their virginity, but at least Libby wasn't really even thinking much about sex until Axel came along. She also admits to herself, after their first time together, that she didn't expect the feelings to be so strong and would have a hard time sticking to their casual sex agreement if Axel decides to bail. I have to give her credit though, for being mature and realistic about the situation, knowing what she might be in for, if she allowed herself to get involved with him.
So overall, Playing Doctor turned out to be another very enjoyable novella from Lori Foster. Axel's best friend, Cary, and his now-wife, Nora (Some Like It Hot) got a little page time in this one too. They both have a hard time not rubbing it in when it becomes obvious that Axel's finally fallen in love. Playing Doctor was a nice way to wrap up the series. Now I just have to decide which of Ms. Foster's works to try next.:-) Playing Doctor was originally published in the When Good Things Happen to Bad Boys multi-author anthology, but is soon to be reprinted (Dec. 2015) in the single-author anthology, Give It Up, along with it's two companion novellas.
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