Making a Play (Hometown Players Series) by Victoria Denault
Overview by Amazon:
Luc Richard is the hottest player in the NHL–and it has nothing to do with hockey. His racy relationship with his supermodel ex set the tabloids on fire but nearly put his career on ice. To avoid being traded, Luc agrees to take a break from the spotlight–and from women–and spend the off-season at home in Silver Bay, Maine. It’s the perfect plan… until he reconnects with Rose.
Rose Caplan is tired of being shy, sweet, and safe. She’s ready for passion, romance–and Luc. Having loved him longer than she can remember, she’s finally ready to prove she’s not the same innocent little girl he once knew. Off the ice Luc doesn’t do games, but this new Rose makes him feel like playing a little dirty. If he’s really got a shot at her heart then he’s not just playing to win. He’s playing for keeps.
I love reading contemporary romance novels about sports players. They are like the dukes and earls of the historical genre. My favourite is to read about hockey players, probably because hockey is like an institution here in Canada. The pressure to put your child in hockey is overwhelming – its like a culture unto it’s own.
So this book really captures the essence of what it means to grow up with hockey. Young men leave home as teenagers and play in small towns across Canada and the US. They billet with families in the towns they are playing in. I couldn’t even imagine sending my son away at a young age to another town and family. Luc is from Quebec and moves to a small town in Maine to play hockey. He lives with the Garrison family and quickly finds the home he always wanted. The story strongly features the Garrison brothers (who are also hockey players and have books in the series) and the Caplan sisters who grew up with the brothers.
I normally find it difficult when there are a lot of secondary characters who have already had their story told, but this book was different. Even though this is the first book I have read in this series, I never felt frustrated by my lack of prior knowledge. I am very interested in reading the stories of the other characters, which is due to how they were portrayed. The brothers and sisters are not only Luc and Rose’s family, they are part of their social circle and their past. While they don’t create conflict between the characters, they help resolve it and provide an opportunity for sounding out problems.
The real story is between Luc and Rose. Little Rosie has had a crush on Luc for years. He knows it, but doesn’t want to cross that line, until he can’t hold back any longer. The conflicts between the two come from Luc’s past. He has an image problem that forces the relationship into the shadows. I really liked this conflict and how TMZ sports invade Luc’s privacy. It was a realistic portrayal of how the life is for a celebrity.
The relationship between Luc and Rose was really well developed. I like how the author transitioned them from friend territory to lovers. The first love scene between the two was extremely well done – sweet, sexy and very sensual. The best part about a book that features best friends who fall in love is the ease of the development of the relationship. They already know each other as friends, but now it’s about exploring and developing intimacy. The author does this well. I liked the transition and Luc’s bewilderment at times, getting to know Rosie as a woman that he loves.
This book was really enjoyable. I definitely plan to read the other books in the series as I liked the characters and the writing was engaging. If you like contemporary romance novels that feature hockey than this is a book to add to your list.