Back Check (Boston Rebels Book 2)
By RJ Scott & V.L. Locey
One of the things I love most about this extended world of hockey, created by RJ Scott and V.L. Locey is that it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Not every MC gets to be the best in the league and not every team wins the Stanley Cup. That dose of realism goes a long way toward making these books readable and relatable.
Back Check brings Joachim to Boston to replace retired defenseman Brady Rowe. While he has the skills to fill the holes on the ice, his life is a shambles of addiction and poor life choices. Nothing illustrates this more than him realizing he has fathered a child with a young woman, that in his drunken stupor, he has no memory of. Isaac has been caring for his sister’s daughter since her death. Now, the little girl is herself ill and the only thing that can save her is her biological father.
I really like how both of these men believe that their course of action is truly the best plan for all of them. In good faith, they want to make a life with the child they love while returning freedom to the man they have come to care for, moving them headlong into exactly the wrong things to say and do. l I love how it takes the words of the child to make them realize what the reader has known all along is right. This book is full of feels and redemption. The underlying theme of the need for teamwork, communication, and family, run through both the main love story and the secondary ongoing story of the Boston Rebels
Open Ice Hit (Sin Bin Book 1)
by E.M. Lindsey & Marina Vivancos
Noah Viklund (Vicki to his friends) and Tommy Tremblay play on rival NHL teams. Vicki believes that Tommy is a reckless player who nearly ruined the career of a teammate with a dirty hit. Tommy knows Vicki hates him and is willing to stir the pot because he can. Their off-ice relationship is volatile and they give new meaning to the term hate sex. Still… there is more under the surface than either man is willing to admit and hate is a fine line.
I am not afraid to say that this book made me uncomfortable. It took me right out of my comfort zone as a romance reader. The relationship between the two men bordered on abusive and was most certainly not healthy for either of them. Despite compelling storytelling, it reached a breaking point when I was ready to quit, asking myself “WTH am I reading?”. Just then the characters asked, “WTH are we doing?”.
What follows is a brilliant story of exploration and growth for both men and somehow the author took me along for the ride giving me an empathetic feel for both. I couldn’t choose sides if I had to and while I expected a certain type of ending, I couldn’t see it playing out the way it did.
I did find that I couldn’t do as the author asked and suspend disbelief on NHL discrepancies. While I am on board with professional sports that don’t pay attention to who sleeps with whom, I saw no need for the fundamental change to the playoff system. Still, the secondary characters are fascinating, and this was a terrific introduction to a new series, maybe one with a bit of bite.