🎧︎Princess and the Player by Ilsa Madden-Mills

Princess and the Player

Posted on November 11, 2022 by Nadene @ Totally Addicted to Reading in Reviews / 6 Comments

🎧︎Princess and the Player  by Ilsa Madden-Mills is the second book in the Strangers in Love series and it works well as a standalone. I didn’t know what to expect, this being my first experience with the author’s work. Well, Madden-Mill gave her readers an emotional, sexy and light-hearted story.


🎧︎Princess and the Player by Ilsa Madden-MillsTitle: Princess and the Player
Author(s): Ilsa Madden-Mills
Series: Strangers in Love #2
Also in this series: Beauty and the Baller
Narrator(s): Lee Samuels, Stella Bloom
Published by Brilliance Audio on November 8, 2022
Pages: 282
Length: 8hrs 57mins
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Source: Kindle Unlimited, Netgalley
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Purchase: Amazon|Audible
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Series Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Heat Level: One FlameOne FlameOne Flame

A masquerade ball brings together an NFL player and a penniless princess in this smart and sexy romance from Wall Street Journal bestselling author Ilsa Madden-Mills.
Levelheaded Francesca Lane never thought she’d miss her own wedding. But when her fiancé betrays her, she puts on her wedding dress and ditches the altar for a masquerade ball—at an exclusive lifestyle club.
There, she meets unknown-to-her NFL star Tuck Avery, dressed as a prince and hiding behind a mask—he’s there to celebrate his birthday. For one night, Francesca and Tuck indulge in a wickedly incognito affair. No names. No strings. And the masks don’t come off.
Unfortunately, Francesca realizes quickly that her masked prince is the wealthy jock who lives in the penthouse of her apartment building. His hobbies include parties and supermodels—or so the tabloids say. Getting tangled up with a shallow jerk is the last thing Francesca needs right now, so she vows to keep Tuck from recognizing her (not that she’s his type anyway).
But fate has a teeny-tiny trick up her sleeve…a plus sign on a pregnancy test. Can this tormented prince accept love, or will he push his princess away forever?

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🎧︎Princess and the Player  introduces Francesca Lane, an artist, who currently works as a tattooist and Tuck Avery NFL wide receiver for the Phytons. Francesca caught her fiancée in a compromising position before their wedding. She ends things with him right there and then. On her supposed wedding night, she, wearing her wedding dress, along with her bestie, went to Club Decadence for their fairytale masquerade night. The night did not go as expected, but then she met the handsome prince player. 

Tuck is celebrating his 35th birthday and by NFL standards considered old for a wide receiver. He knows retirement is not far away, but he is still not ready for that chapter of his life. All he wants for his birthday is cake, but his friends/teammates had other plans. Plans which involved the underground sex club, Club Decadence. Although not his idea of a birthday celebration, he tried to make the best of it…. And then he met a princess wearing a mask. Soon the two became engrossed in each other and engaged in one night of decadence. No strings, no names and the masks remain on. However, ten weeks after their night of decadence, they discovered fate had different plans for them. Plans riddled with surprises.


I had fun with the 🎧︎Princess and the Player. It provided the perfect blend of romance and humor. Although not a fan of the surprise pregnancy trope, I thought this was well done. The story had my full attention from the first page. I started out reading the e-book, then switched over to audio.

Both the hero and heroine have tortured pasts. A past which can cause severe emotional damage. They both survived. However, they were not at the point when it didn’t influence their decisions. Tuck grew up surrounded by wealth, but lived in a dysfunctional home. While Francesca was abandoned as a baby and spent all her life going from one foster home to the next. She never experienced the true meaning of family until she turned eighteen, when she met Cece, Brogan, and Mr. Darden. They brought light and fun moments to the story, with their crazy antics and snarky remarks.

My heart ached for them both, learning of the pain and hurt they both went through. Despite the difference, their past crippled them both, hindering them from forming meaningful relationships. Their pain helped to fuel their careers. Francesca found joy in her art, while Tuck buried his pain in his love for football. So one can understand the reason retirement from the very thing that saved him would scare him.

Now, regarding the pregnancy, this was kept a secret from Tuck for the majority of the story. I kept wondering when she would tell him and how he would react. Her reasons, fueled by fear of rejection, for holding out for so long, were understandable. His reaction upon learning the truth disappointed me, but he redeemed himself. After his redeeming moment, it would have been nice seeing him more hands on during the rest of the pregnancy. The ending was good, but the epilogue warmed my heart and left me with a big smile.


The narration was good. Lee Samuels and Stella Bloom delivered solid characters and provided the perfect complement for each other. This is my first time listening to both of them together, although I have listened to Stella Bloom collaboration with another narrator before. I enjoyed their performance and wouldn’t hesitate to listen to either again–whether as a solo or a dual narration.


Story Evaluation
World Building
Writing Style
Narrator (Audio)
Overall: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star


About Ilsa Madden-Mills

Wall Street Journal, New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Ilsa Madden-Mills is best known for her angsty new adult romances and romantic comedies. Eight of her eleven novels have placed in the Amazon Top 10 Best-seller List: Dirty English #1; Fake Fiancée and I Dare You #2; I Bet You, Filthy English, and Very Bad Things #6; Boyfriend Bargain #8; The Last Guy, her collaboration with Tia Louise, #4. A former high school English teacher, she adores all things Pride and Prejudice, and of course, Mr. Darcy is her ultimate hero. She’s addicted to frothy coffee beverages, cheesy magnets, and any book featuring unicorns and sword-wielding females. Feel free to stalk her online.

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