Tag Archives: hockey

Making A Play

Making a Play (Hometown Players Series) by Victoria Denault

making a play

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.

Ryker: A Cold Fury Novel

Ryker (A Cold Fury Novel) by Sawyer Bennett

ryker

Overview by Amazon:
The stakes have never been higher for Carolina Cold Fury goalie Ryker Evans. With his contract running out, he’s got a year left to prove he’s still at the top of his game. And since his wife left him, Ryker has been balancing life as a pro-hockey star and a single parent to two daughters. Management is waiting for him to screw up. The fans are ready to pounce. Everybody’s taking dirty shots—except for the fiery redhead whose faith in Ryker gives him a fresh start.

As the league’s only female general manager, Gray Brannon has learned not to mix business with pleasure. And yet even this tough, talented career woman can’t help breaking her own rules as she gives Ryker everything she’s got. She hopes their hot streak will last forever, but with Ryker’s conniving ex plotting to reclaim her man, the pressure’s on Gray to step up and save a tender new love before it’s too late.

I really love the sports genre.  I read a review of the recent RWA conference and the themes that were emerging from the romance industry.  One of them was more sports books, particularly hockey.  I have read a couple by Charlene Groome and I was thrilled to find this book on Netgalley.  As a Canadian, hockey is in our blood and a slick hockey player is practically the national poster guy.

What I liked most about this book was the lead character Gray.  She is such a strong character.  She is a genius and has been named the first female general manager of a national hockey team.  She definitely has her work cut out for her and I loved seeing the inner running of the organization.  Her intelligence was such a turn on and I loved that she wasn’t the typical ‘puck bunny’.

Let’s not forget Ryker.  He’s pretty awesome too!  It’s rare that we see single parents in this type of book, but Ryker is raising his two little girls after a messy separation from his wife.  He’s an older player and the star goalie of the team and the league.

The conflict comes from the fact that Ryker is a player and Gray is the GM.  While Gray is conscious to remain out of the coaching decisions, it still creates a big problem.  She has to prove herself to the team, her father, the media, the fans and herself.  It’s that tension between giving up a dream for love.

The sneaking around that the two do is quite hot and steamy.  Ryker challenges the typical athlete image by telling Gray that he doesn’t do hook ups and that if she gets with him, it will definitely be more.  Usually it is the woman asking or demanding this and I kind of loved that it was Ryker.  He’s six plus feet of hot man and he can’t keep his hands off of Gray.  I adored how they had clandestine meetings in her office and snuck around the hotels on road trips.

Overall, Ryker is just a great guy.  There is really nothing to not like about him.  He’s a great father, strong hockey player and a fantastic lover.  The conflict isn’t between the two making it as a couple, but rather the firestorm going public with their relationship would cause.  I really liked how the author handled this conflict – it was surprising and sweet.  A great way to end a well developed and interesting story.

If you are a fan of the sports genre, then add this book to your list!

Check out the book here.

Simmering Ice

Simmering on Ice by Veronica Forand and Susan Scott Shelley

simmering ice

Overview by Amazon:

When the gloves come off, she’s worth the penalty…

Physical therapist Annie Davidson is great at her job but unlucky when it comes to love. She’s just out of a bad relationship. A really bad relationship. All she can do is focus on work…that is until she runs into professional hockey player Alec O’Meara. She’s a touch insecure and doesn’t understand why he’s interested in her.

Despite being one of the biggest players on the team, right wing Alec O’Meara prefers finesse over force. After the tragic death of his wife, he likes to keep things loose on and off the ice. But the red-headed Annie challenges his beliefs and makes him think about taking their relationship to the net.

The passion and fun they share is addicting and makes them long for more. But her insecurities that she’s not good enough, and his anxiety over a long-term commitment will keep them apart, unless they can find a way to break through the defenses they’ve built around their hearts.

I was just lamenting that I haven’t read all that many romance novels that feature hockey when this book popped up on Netgalley.  I really liked Veronica Forand’s book Untrue Colors, so I had double the reason to snatch it up!

Coming from a hockey obsessed city, I really enjoy this genre as I understand this game and culture a lot more than other sports like football.  Even in the summer, our newspapers are full of hockey news and gearing up for the season.

This is a short, sweet read.  And by ‘sweet’, I don’t mean chaste.  The story wasn’t about a horndog hockey player who sweet talks and flirts with a puck bunny.  Rather it is about one of the upstanding hockey players who is all class and how he finds love again.

I liked the characters in this book.  They both have wounds that they heal together, yet the past finds a way to rear its ugly head.  Alec is ready to move on from mourning the loss of his wife and finds attraction in the lovely Annie.  She has been through the ringer with her own relationships, including a very toxic one with her mother.

For a short book, the authors pack a great punch.  They manage to delve into the emotional make up of the characters and explore their wants and needs.  It gets pretty steamy too!  If you are a fan of the sports genre then this is a great book to curl up with.  I found that it satisfied on all levels – emotional, sexual, plot and writing.

She shoots, she scores! A Hat Trick!

cold as ice

Cold As Ice (The Warriors Series) by Charlene Groome

Overview by Amazon:

The Warriors take to the ice again in Charlene Groome’s sensational series about hockey players and the women who love them. But the team’s new addition may have to work for a warm welcome…
Defenseman Devin Miller has bounced from team to team and city to city, but he’s finally ready to settle down—professionally and personally. The Warriors seems like the perfect fit. Now all he needs is the right woman to start a family with—and he’s willing to put in the practice to find her.

Sports anchor Carla Sinclair already doesn’t like Vancouver’s hot new acquisition. So when she’s persuaded to interview him, she’s not prepared for the chemistry between them. But though Devin seems eager to show Carla his moves—on and off the ice—he keeps his personal life off-limits. Frustrated by him in more ways than one, Carla decides to track down Devin’s secrets on her own—and soon must decide if their attraction is worth the hit to her fragile heart…

This was a great book! I really enjoyed reading it. I don’t know if it’s because hockey is like a religion in the city I live in or that the story was a great contemporary romance. The author pulled a hat trick and there were three reasons this book was well done.

Firstly, the author really describes the world of hockey well. From understanding the complexities of the NHL to the junior hockey league, she describes all the nuances of the game well. When Carla is watching the game, I found myself getting into it almost as if I was actually at a live hockey game. I enjoyed learning about the relationship between hockey players and the reporting networks and how they impact each other. The charity work Devin and his team engage in was a great addition. It made the players believable and that they recognize the importance of giving back to their fans.

Second, the romance between Devin and Carla was complex, frustrating at times and scorching as well. It was a long slow dance for these two to get together. Devin and Carla both want similar things out of life – love, family, stability, but of course they don’t know that about each other. Their relationship starts as a professional one, but they feel a pull towards each other that gets harder and harder to deny and it blurs the lines between professionalism and personal lives. This was a long burn. At times it was frustrating how long it took for the two of them to finally connect, but when they do it is so satisfying. Devin is an athlete with a smoking hot body and Carla is a beautiful sports newscaster and they make a beautiful couple. I liked how they explored the city of Vancouver together and spent time getting to know each other before things progress to the bedroom. A few stolen kisses were very hot and I wished they found their way to the bedroom sooner, but it was satisfying when they did.

Finally, I really appreciated the plot line of Carla’s infertility woes. She actually isn’t infertile, but experienced two miscarriages that ended her marriage three years earlier. She is under enormous pressure from her mother to marry and have a baby. Her mother is like a terrier on the topic. I felt like cringing when she would push Carla and I wanted to protect her from her mother’s insensitivity. Carla visits doctors and explores her options to being a single mother, but you know that somehow Devin will get in the way of those plans.

This was a fun read. I really enjoy contemporary romance novels that feature the sports world. Baseball and football players get a lot of attention in the genre, but it was refreshing to read about hockey. The author writes well and crafts a realistic story that had you cheering not only for the Warriors, but for Devin and Carla to open up to each other.