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Publisher's Summary

A broken boy on the path to destruction. A scarred girl without direction. A love story carved in secrets, inked with pain, and sealed with a lie.

Grace Shaw and West St. Claire are arctic opposites. She is the strange girl from the food truck. He is the mysterious underground fighter who stormed into her sleepy Texan college town on his motorcycle one day and has been wreaking havoc since. She is invisible to the world. He is the town’s beloved bad boy. She is a reject. He is trouble.

When West thrusts himself into Grace’s quiet life, she scrambles to figure out if he is her happily-ever-after or tragic ending. But the harder she pushes him away, the more he pulls her out of her shell.

Grace doesn’t know much about anything beyond her town’s limits, but she does know this: She is falling in love with the hottest guy in Sheridan U. And when you play with fire - you ought to get burned.

©2020 L.J. Shen (P)2020 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Playing with Fire

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Magnificent & Beautiful!!

This is the most magnificent and beautiful romance novel that I have ever listened to. This was such an impressive work of fiction with stunning prose, carefully crafted with so much heart and wisdom. Two broken characters damaged by great tragedy, but rising above the ashes to find themselves and discover true love. I am so impressed with L.J. Shen!

The casting of Christian Fox was phenomenal! He is always a class act, but the height of vivid emotions that he took this book to is Audie worthy. Christian Fox deserves an Audie for this work! I have always been a fan with his Shayla Black novel narrations, but this was altogether a whole new level.

Desiree Ketchum was also so amazing with her subtle southern nuances. I was so entranced with Desiree’s narration and her male voice was perfect! I loved how she showed us how strong a female character can remain even when crushed by life’s unfairness.

I feel so very sad that my time with “Playing with Fire” has concluded. I hope that I’ll be able to come across such a fine work of art in the future.

13 people found this helpful

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L.J Shen is in my head

I discovered this author a couple of weeks ago and since that discovery I have listened to EVERYTHING she has written. I didn't think I could love anything more than I loved Vicious or Sparrow but here she is giving me a book that has crawled inside my heart and my head.

This is a really beautiful love story about two people who can't trust and believe that are not valuable enough to love. West is the best alpha male. He is cocky, he is is broody, he is a ladies man, he is beautiful, but he is also broken. But underneath the surface he is compassionate, selfless and is driven by a secret past that is ruled by guilt. Grace will forever be one of my favorite heroines. She is broken (both physically and emotionally) but she still stands up for herself.

This is worth ALL your credits.

8 people found this helpful

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LJ Shen always pulls me in

I loved this story. West and Grace are more opposite but the attraction and their story is beautiful. They both have their demons to battle and form a friendship and love with each other. I have not once been disappointed in any story of LJ Shen's that I have read/listened too. She picks the best narrators and writes an awesome story line.

7 people found this helpful

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It’s ok

Not bad, just..not great either? Some of L.J.s most recent releases haven’t worked too well for me, mostly because the plot is so wildly out there and the characters unlikeable (In the Unlikely Event, I’m talking about you...). BUT! This book was believable and both characters likable. The H was a little grumpy and damaged, however I appreciated the h’s imperfect and damaged storyline and finding her confidence. The only thing I’ll say is it’s a tad boring? It might just be because the underground fighting trope has been done so many times so I feel like from that perspective I’ve already read it.

6 people found this helpful

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The other side of LJ Shen

I absolutely loved this - so different from her other books in that it made you feel all the warm and fuzzies with less anxiety, but just as wonderful. Also loved the deeper messages throughout. Definitely worth a credit (and more!)

6 people found this helpful

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Why was this story so well reviewed???

I could tell after one minute this was corny and highschoolish. Weak storyline, predictable characters.

4 people found this helpful

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Mixed feelings

This story started out really well, caught my attention, but then it seemed to fall apart. The characters are in college but then start becoming really immature and cheesy. Seemed more like high schoolers. Weak ending.
Love the narrators, Christian Fox is a favorite!

4 people found this helpful

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Predictable and Immature

I really wanted to like this book. I can’t quite figure out how it got such good reviews. The story is immature, at best. It couldn’t be more predictable. I was actually shocked by the misogynistic turn the book took especially in the second half. The objectification of the female characters is blatant and sickening. There are parts of the book that literally read as pornography. This could’ve been a tender love story of two damaged individuals who find one another and learn to forgive themselves as they expose their flaws to another human being for the first time. This is the first book I’ve read by L.J. Shen so i can’t really speak to her ability as a writer based on this book alone. I should take the venture to read another one of her bestselling novels but the jury is still out on that.

4 people found this helpful

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Expected Better

I've listened to or read all of LJ Shen's books and while they all have some darkness, this one was downright depressing.

4 people found this helpful

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All the Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Oh how I LOVE L.J. Shen’s words.... ALL of the words!!🔥❤️🥰
I loved the narrators as well!

4 people found this helpful

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  • Jules
  • 10-15-20

ABSOLUTELY PHENOMENAL

omg listening to this story made it so much more raw.

Desiree did an amazing job with the southern drawl that is grace.
Christian fox has just become my favourite male narrator, damn that deep voice, it made you feel so much more when West spoke.

They both made this audio, I was hanging on thier every word.


grace and wests story completely consumed me and absolutely broke me i couldnt stop listening.

Through their highs and lows I felt it all.

This is that book, the one that stays with you forever.

Could not recommend this book enough💜

3 people found this helpful

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  • For Old Times' Sake
  • 09-22-20

Uplifting and Absorbing

An excellent Young Adult romance from LJ Shen. I thoroughly enjoyed this story of love and finding redemption. Grace has physical scars and a sad history, while West is self-destructive, messed up and angry. Both quite different people, they had an irrestible pull, and absorbing chemistry and a fearsome love.

There are lots of ups and downs in this book. There's sadness, pain, overcoming adversity, and finding your way. It's also about coming to terms with the past, accepting very difficult situations and accepting yourself.

An ultimately lovely uplifting ending, out of a hard won romance, I would definitely recommend to readers who love broken hero's and heroine's, enjoy the push and pull of a tumultuous love affair, and can empathise and understand broken people.

2 people found this helpful

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  • FaithSelina123
  • 09-18-20

LJ Shen At Her Best

Angsty, emotional, tragic, sexy, intense, beautiful.

Grace and West are one of my favorite couples from 2020.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Garden girl
  • 02-19-21

Wonderful!

Filled with love, heartbreak and characters you will never forget, Playing with Fire is narrated superbly by Christian Fox and Desiree Ketchum. I have loved every minute of being submerged in this gorgeous story. 💖💖💖💖💖

1 person found this helpful

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  • Carla Aston
  • 12-24-20

Absolutely loved it.

I have only read a couple of books by LJ Shen and although they were good, I didn’t expect to live this book as much as I did. The narrators were great and did Grace & West justice. The overall story was great, once I started listening I actually struggled to stop. I found myself listening with my earphones in ad I did all the housework and extending the sleep timer rather than actually sleeping. I’m not sure why I loved this story so much but I do. The struggles & tragedy they both have faced in the past threatening to ruin what could be with West trying to always protect Grace even if it means hurting them both. It was so well written and performed that it’s now one of my favourites. I would really recommend this book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • "firenze123"
  • 11-11-20

Loved it!

LJ Shen never disappoints. Fell in love with the broken but beautiful characters of Grace & West.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Annick Uwihoreye
  • 10-14-20

Great book

I really enjoyed this book, I would recommend it for some young romance. It is was really fun to read

1 person found this helpful

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  • shelB
  • 10-01-20

another must read

this was such an anazing book and the narrator's voices just made it perfect. l.j. shen can do no wrong x

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mrs. M. Worsley
  • 04-21-21

Must read!

Absolutely fantastic storyline. Loved it! The Narrators are great . I’ve listened to this book im 1 day.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 10-04-20

Grace Shaw & West St Claire

what a beautiful story... the chemistry between the two, Gracie-Mae (Grace Shaw) and West St. Claire is absolutely amazing, the back n forward bites, their feelings for each others... n West's love, affection possessive towards Grace is like no other. Truely book boyfriend worthy... a totally must read. I fell in love with their love.

“Don’t break my heart so soon after putting it back together.”

“A king doesn’t bow to others.”

“He does for his queen.”

only wished there was a bonus epilogue mayb their wedding or honeymoon...

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-06-21

Possible trigger warning with this book

trigger warning with this book just wanted to warn those who may be triggered by suicide themes

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  • Kristie-Leigh
  • 01-25-21

Beautiful book ❤️

Wow what a ride! I really enjoyed this story it was absolutely captivating. It touches on some very serious & real topics. There’s a lot of grief, pain, remorse, guilt & mental health issues. Although the story hits you deep in the feels, I found myself giggling aloud as well. It truely hits on all emotions.

The story is written in dual POV which is great because otherwise West would look like a real dick. But because we get insight into West’s inner monologue as well we see the reason behind his actions & how he feels about it.

You can’t help but feel deeply for both the main characters straight away. They both have traumatic pasts & a lot of baggage. I really enjoyed listening to the characters develop & overcome their pasts while they become each others everything. It was beautiful!

West is definitely a swoon worthy book boyfriend! He’s a bad ass but he’s also the most thoughtful sweet heart when it come to Grace & even Grams! In particular I loved the interactions between West & Grams. How he looked after both of them was everything!!

The narrators were great and really fit the characters! Christian Fox has definitely become one of my favourites recently.

LJ Shen is amazing and I have been enjoying a lot of her books lately. She’s also quickly becoming a favourite of mine!

To finish off I want to quote my favourite part from the book.

Grace - “A king doesn’t bow for other’s”
West - “They do for their Queen” 😍

Seriously West killed me!!!

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  • Jade B
  • 12-08-20

Playing with Fire

This book is emotional, and sweet and all the things a good romance book should be. I really enjoyed it!