Really 3.75 stars. (That’s right! I’m really splitting hairs now!)
I can thank Sarina Bowen for the “yes, more hockey romances please!” kick I have been on. (FYI: this is not as good as Bowen’s books, but it will have to do for now). I know nothing about this sport, and yet I am totally willing to pick up a book by a new author if it involves hockey. I don’t know why, but it’s working for me right now.
What really drew me to this book is that the heroine, Samantha, is also a hockey player. Or, at least she was. Samantha played for her college team and then went to the Olympics, but for women, there is no place else to go in a hockey career once those options are tapped out. The majority of the book is Sam’s journey to a future that does not involve her playing hockey, and her dealing with her resentment of the hero, Dylan, and his professional career. They are two very driven individuals, and you can really see where the attraction comes from for them. I liked the plot line of this one too – they start with a lot of chemistry and a one-night stand (*and yes, there ARE hickies involved – I would not have thought of my post title on my own), and then work backwards to friendship and love.
This was borderline New Adult since the characters are 24/25 (woman is older – woot!) and a lot (but not all) the issues they are dealing with are based on getting their grown-up lives started. But, this is not told in first person, if that is a NA turn off for you. Samantha can be annoying at times with how combative she is, but I think the author did a good job giving adequate background for her. Dylan has his own journey from party boy to professional, but it goes pretty seamlessly for him, so it’s much less interesting than Sam’s. They helped each other grow, but the most important parts happened on their own, and I really liked that. Too often problems are just solved in romance with Love (or a magic dick). This is not one of those stories. And, while some of Sam’s problems are self-created, they are still real.
This was a very enjoyable read. Nothing special, but all around good. The characters had a lot of depth and actually spent time working on their emotional issues on their own. As much as I enjoyed this book (and I really did, despite my middling star count) I have no compulsion to read the rest of the series or more by this author. If they somehow found their way in front of me, I would read them, but I won’t be seeking them out.