On the Line

On the Line (A Hometown Players Novel) by Victoria Denault

on-the-line

Overview by Publisher:

He had total control of his game–until she changed all the rules . . . As one of the best players in the NHL and the “golden boy” of the league, Avery Westwood knows he has to keep his cool–on and off the ice. His whole life is a carefully constructed image of perfection for the media and his brand sponsors. Of course, that means he can never let his true feelings show. But when it comes to the sexy sister of his former teammate, Avery might be willing to make an exception . . . even if it means breaking all his own rules.
As far as Stephanie Deveau is concerned, having a thing for Avery is the equivalent of psychological napalm. Très bad idea. Then he moves in next door, all sexy smiles and a deliciously hot body that she can’t resist. Something’s happening between them–it’s intense, a little (a lot) out of control, and real. Only Avery doesn’t know everything about Stephanie’s past. And the one exception to his rule might just be the one girl who could destroy his career.

It’s hockey season here in Canada.  You literally can’t walk into any bar or restaurant without hearing a hockey game blaring on the televisions.  It’s not a surprise that the author, Victoria Denault, is a Canadian as she just has such a knack for capturing the culture of hockey.

This is a great series.  I have really enjoyed the books to date and this one was excellent.  It seems odd to have a hockey novel taking place in San Diego, but that is the reality of hockey expansion.  Trust me – the fact that Las Vegas is getting an expansion team and not another team for the Greater Toronto Area gets LOTS of press time in the news.

This story features Stephanie and Avery.  We met them in the previous novel.  Avery was the captain of the Seattle team where Stephanie’s brother plays.  Avery is a hot commodity in the hockey world and has his choice of contracts.  What is not hot about Avery is how tightly controlled he is.  His father is his agent and has drilled into Avery the way to navigate the hockey lifestyle.  No hook ups, no girlfriends, no controversy, no bad influences, no drunken nights out, etc.  In the previous book, we learned that Avery turned his back on his friend who struggled with drug addiction because it may harm his reputation.  Avery is nicknamed ‘the Monk’ because he lives a life way beyond reproach.

Stephanie is outspoken, adventurous and has a past.  She has a friendship with Avery and is probably one of the only people who calls him on his shit.  She has a tough past and has resisted getting into a relationship because she wants to focus on her well being.  But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t get all tingly near Avery and imagines what it would like to be in bed with him.

What this book has going for it is the great chemistry between Avery and Stephanie.  When Avery can unbend for a moment, he has some really great lines and can melt panties off Stephanie with a look or a smile.  The bedroom scenes are awesome!  You know how it’s always the quiet ones that are the wildest?  When Avery makes his intentions known to Stephanie, I thought that I was going to explode!  I definitely enjoyed the sex scenes in this book!

Things are not all roses.  Avery has a huge stick up his ass and as much as he has changed, he still falls back on how his father has raised him.  Stephanie was worried about getting involved with Avery because she feared he would let her down.  The conflict between the two was emotional and well developed.  It certainly got me feeling emotional – angry, sad, conflicted.  I LOVE it when a book does that!

Hockey is front and centre in this story.  I enjoyed the behind the scenes look at the politics of hockey.  I also really loved that the characters were Canadian and would occasionally break out into French.  Oh la la!

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