Review: STAYING ON TOP by Lyla Payne



Sam Bradford has it all—he’s the #2 tennis player in the world, plenty of girls want to date him, and he’ll never want for money. At least, that’s what he thought until his accountant stole everything and disappeared. Interpol has no idea where to start, and neither does the American F.B.I., so Sam figures he’ll just have to take care of his body and play a few extra years to make it back.

When Blair Paddington, the accountant’s daughter and a friend of a friend at Whitman, shows up and claims she can help Sam get his money back he’s torn between wanting justice and the very real possibility that Blair is just as big a con man as her father. When she promises not only money, but justice, Sam agrees—but only if he can go along on the search.

The two of them set off on an adventure neither rich kid is prepared for—cheap hostels, the same clothes three days in a row, and nothing but a backpack of possessions—so they can fly under the radar as college lovers on a winter break. In spite of Blair’s shady family, her daring and resourceful personality strike Sam’s interest and he finds himself falling for the one girl he shouldn’t.
When they finally find her father, the truths that come to light not only make Sam question his affection for Blair, but could cost him more than money—if they can’t work together one last time, neither of them may be going home. Ever.


Staying on Top is the fourth book in the Whitman University series, and follows Sam, who we met briefly in the first book, and Blair, who was introduced in book two. They briefly met each other in book three, and despite Sam’s best attempts, Blair continually turned him down.

Blair has a secret—her father is a con artist, and she is his often-unwilling accomplice. Sam, while competing abroad, finds his accountant has just stolen a huge chunk of his money…$30 million huge. Once Blair’s father contacts her to step in and swindle Sam for the rest of his earnings, she sets out to find Sam in Australia. The two strike up an agreement and embark on a search for her father in which Sam believes will result in recovering his missing funds.

I really loved the dynamic between Sam and Blair. I could feel immediately the tension between them, and even though Blair tried to fight it, you just know she is going to cave eventually. They are stuck together in some very precarious situations, after all.

Sam was sexy, cocky in an unassuming way, and I loved the way he courted Blair, even when she shot him down repeatedly. But Blair’s indifference kept her from being as likeable as I needed. But once they connected, I felt a lot more for her, I especially loved the scene in the fishing boat. This book flowed quite nicely until the last couple of chapters. I felt it ended rather abruptly, and though we do have closure, I was left wondering if we will see more of these two in books to come. I hope so. I am genuinely interested in seeing where their “relationship” goes after everything they went through together.

While my favorite in this series is still Broken at Love, I have really enjoyed every installment thus far and liked Staying on Top just as much. I recommend it as well as the rest of the series, if you are ever in need of a good, quick love story.


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