My first hockey themed contemporary romance and I loved it. Shhh, don't tell my hubby or he'll rub it in because his efforts to educate me in this sport have been only moderately successful at this point. I enjoyed the detail given to the sport and the camaraderie amongst the players who were friends, but I also enjoyed the character and romantic development too.
The story opens when Tim Hollander first comes to San Diego as a new veteran player for the local NHL team. He has a lot to prove between a poor previous season and a PR fiasco. His friends, Alex and Jason, are both on board with working hard and playing their best season ever. Shortly before the preseason he finds himself once again the focus of the news media for losing his temper with a fan. He is left relying on that cute, attractive nurse who was there at his signing booth to stand beside him and set everyone straight. That should have been the extent of it, but Tim doesn't want to part ways and he can't get enough of Nurse Erin even if she has yet to see his good side between the fight and then later when he spends the night getting sick.
Erin Collier loves her job in pediatrics and it doesn't hurt that she is crushing bad on one of the doctors. Dr. O doesn't seem to know she exists so she decides to up her game to gain his attention and one quick trip for a lunch run gives her an idea. Dr. O loves hockey and there is a signing going on at the burger place so she'll just get one of those player's signatures and make Dr. O really sit up and take notice. Instead of an autograph, Erin walks away with the whole hockey player. She does her duty by defending him to the press when a jerk fan tried to hurt Erin and then she feels sorry for him when he gets violently ill. When he seems better, she plans to step graciously back out of Tim's life, but instead she nods okay to breakfast, lunch, a day at the beach, invitation to come see him play. Erin feels like its all one big dream and soon reality will come crashing in. She wants to put the brakes on and Tim's hitting the gas pedal. Does she take a chance on all this?
Sometimes I can be such a reading coward. I think I've been burned lately by a few drama llamas and over the top angst-filled plots so that when I got into this book and saw where it was developing, I braced myself for the impatience, irritation and dissatisfaction to follow. But... all the stuff I dreaded didn't happen. Of course there was some barriers and conflicts to get past and of course the characters had flaws that affected their relationship, but when the heat of the moment was over, they handled their biz like adults. I was left in awe a few times. Soooo refreshing! It was amazing to read a story where the issues were allowed to just wax and wane naturally without overdoing it. The characters exchanged turns telling the story and their relationship developed quick in ways, but the deeper portion took some time. Passion was there and it was hot between them.
What a great series opener that introduced future main book characters for me to look forward while giving a strong and engaging romance set against a sports backdrop. Lovers of sports romance should really give this book a try.
My thanks to Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.