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On the Line

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


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!

Winning It All

Winning It All (Hometown Players Series) by Victoria Denault

winning it all

Overview by Publisher:

All’s fair in love and hockey. . .
As his team’s enforcer on the ice, Sebastian Deveau is America’s favorite fighting Frenchman. But he’s just as likely to get into trouble off the ice–especially when it comes to women. 

Shayne Beckford is so over hockey. It ruined her parents’ marriage. It spoiled her brother’s dreams. And let’s not even talk about her college boyfriend . . . So when Sebastian Deveau walks into her brother’s gym, she has no idea who he is. All she knows is that he’s one gorgeous man with the sexiest accent she’s ever heard. And since she never has to see him again, she lets him give her the best orgasm of her life right on top of the gym’s dryer.
But Sebastian isn’t going to let this one-night stand get away so easily. He fights for what he wants, even if it takes fighting a little dirty . . . 

When I grew up I dated a hockey player.  He was a defenseman and he was always fighting.  For those few years that we dated, I was at every game, every tournament, every team party and basically lived the hockey life/

So when I read this book about Shayne and her experience with hockey, I could relate.  Hockey can take over your life when you are involved with a player – whether parent or partner or child.  I loved that Sebastian was such forbidden fruit for Shayne.  She lusts after him, but can’t stand the thought of being with a hockey player.  Thanks to her father, Shayne has a very clear understanding of what a professional hockey player’s life is like and doesn’t want anything to do with it.  I can’t say that I blame Shayne as her father is disgusting and a stereotype.

What makes this story so great is the love story between the two.  Sebastian is a great guy and I loved reading about him.  He is ready for a relationship and wants to settle down with a great girl.  He gets a rough deal from Shayne and I couldn’t help but feel bad for him.  The fact that he is a great hockey player and amazing in bed help to make his character even more fantastic.  Since they have a one night stand the moment they meet, it is safe to say that this story features some outstanding bedroom action.  Sebastian is a beast in the bed and Shayne is one lucky lady!

There is something so great about a French Canadian hockey player.  I am so glad that Victoria Denault chose to highlight our Canadian treasures.  We Canadians are happy to be the inspiration of such a fantastic character as Sebastian!

The Final Move

The Final Move (A Hometown Hockey Players Novel) by Victoria Denault

the final move


Hockey legend Devin Garrison thought he blew his shot. But his relationship with Callie Caplan just went into overtime.

Sexy, rich, and one of the biggest stars in the NHL, Devin Garrison has always been the one who had it all. That is until his marriage falls apart and he realizes he has to start over. If he’s honest, there has only been one woman who ever really excited him-Callie Caplan. They shared a night that was hotter than the late-summer sun, but in an instant-Callie was gone, pretending it never happened.

Callie Caplan isn’t the wild child people think she is. It’s true she’s avoided relationships, but only because she’s seen how crazy love can be. And her messy, imperfect life is crazy enough without opening her heart to a man-even one as picture perfect as Devin. But when fate brings them back together-just as they need each other most-Devin is determined to convince Callie that what she’s feeling is real. And this final play may be their chance at forever . . .

I love hockey contemporary romance books!  I love this series!

What is so great is that the author really understands hockey and the culture around it.  I recently reviewed a hockey book and commented that Hockey Wives is my new reality show guilty pleasure.  In some respects, this book reminded me of watching an episode.

We have met the other characters in previous books, so it was time for Callie and Devin to get their story told.  Devin’s marriage has imploded and sexy Callie is there to help him pick up the pieces.

I was SO worried that Callie would just be a rebound for Devin, but nope, these two have a history and it makes for a great story.

Callie is like the guy in the book.  Totally commitment phobic, one night stand champion and never serious.  Devin couldn’t wait to settle down and get married with a kid.  Devin is the golden boy of the Garrison gang.  He signed to the NHL first, got the million dollar contracts and the Stanley Cup. He’s struggling particularly hard with the breakdown of his marriage because it’s a failure and he hasn’t experienced that a lot in his life.  I really liked this plot point.  It’s so easy to just write about the golden boy and keep things surface level, but the author really delves into both his and Callie’s fears and emotions.

What was so great about these two was that you realized that they should have been together all along.  Devin’s marriage wasn’t a mistake, but Callie is really the one to set his blood and heart on fire.  However, a girl like Callie isn’t giving in without a serious ass kicking.  This isn’t just an easy-peasy romance.  There were times reading this (on a plane ride today) that I wanted to yell in frustration and kick her!  He’s sexy, has a huge dick and he’s a great guy – what is the problem??

Overall, this is a really fun hockey story that goes deeper than you would expect.  The character development is fantastic.  The hockey scenes were a little less than I would have liked, but we do get one really good fight.  Checking in with the other couples in the series was a terrific addition.  If you are a hockey fan, definitely check out this series!


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.