Confession #1: I used to be a puck bunny, but after a hockey player broke my heart, I gave up all things hockey. Now I’m just focused on finding a way to pass my math class so I can graduate college.
Confession #2: Ryder “Ox” Maddox’s deep, sexy voice sends fuzzy tingles through my entire body, and I’m powerless to stop it. Which is a big problem since the hot, surprisingly funny hockey player is my new math tutor.
Confession #3: I can’t stop thinking about how ripped Ryder is from all his hockey training, and how fun it’d be to cross lines with him.
Confession #4: I kissed a hockey player and I liked it.
Confession #5: If I’m not careful, I might relapse and fall for Ryder, and then I’ll be totally pucked.
4.5 stars — I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.
OK, so I will admit that because of shifting priorities in reading, I have not yet had a chance to read books 2 and 3 of this series, but other than getting spoiled that those couples have a HEA (which duh), I don’t think it spoiled my reading experience in the slightest. All it did is make me want to go back and read those books NOW NOW NOW, so let’s hope that I can fit them in before the year is out (especially Dane, he made me laugh). And quite honestly the “family” of players and girlfriends added so much to this story, I LOVED having them there.
Now that that’s out of the way, OMG SWOON!!! And you know who that swooning is for? Oh yeah, it’s all for Ryder. That boy is a perfect mix of sweet/funny and sexy/aggressive. Like could there really be a more potent combination?? I love me a beta boy, and while I would NOT call Ryder a beta boy in the slightest, I felt like he had some of those qualities you know? He was just so sweet and attentive and I felt like he surprised me at many turns (just as he surprised Lindsay). And the way he pursued her with such single-minded determination? Holy hot balls!! (is that a saying? I’m making that a saying) ANYWAYS, he was the perfect omega boy, with a healthy dose of alpha traits mixed in as well. I honestly can’t imagine anyone not falling in love with him. Or maybe I just can’t get out of my own head, and I’m in love with him.
I also really enjoyed his backstory, and how it shaped him and the decisions he made. I thought that his growth was realistic, because while I was in love with him, he did need a smack or two along the way. But it made it satisfying to see him do what he could to prove his feelings. And that was another thing I enjoyed, I appreciated that the forgiveness wasn’t easy (because he really did f* up), and he had to fight for her a bit. That paint gun scene was immensely satisfying, as was the way the ending played out (sorry can’t elaborate, it would be spoilerific to the extreme).
Now don’t be fooled, I’m not done with my gushing. Why? Because we don’t just get a smoking hero, we also got a fabulous heroine to match him. Lindsay was sassy, and vulnerable, and had a lot of depth. I LOVED being in her head and seeing her fight through her instincts honed by her bizarre upbringing. She had such a journey to go on, I can’t even tell you.
And this brings me to the most surprising thing about this book that seriously just won me over, mostly b/c I was expecting something different. This book totally could have gone down judgemental lane, but Ms. Madsen hit it out of the park by avoiding that pitfall. I mean, come on people, Lindsay was a former puck bunny!! And so many authors just love to throw those girls under the bus, but Ms. Madsen tried to give us a different perspective of why they might do what they do. And not only that, but Lindsay even admitted that they all had their own motivations, and she tried hard not to fall into the trap of judging girls who might enjoy one night stands. I know I can fall into this trap myself, even if I try not to, so I just really appreciated this sooooo much. Lindsay was unhappy with her former life because of her *own* reasons, not because it’s inherently shameful. I loved the lack of double standard that showed. Right on Lindsay, right on.
So I’ll end this review with a Confession of my own: I watch quite a bit of hockey (heck, my Oilers are in the playoffs as we speak and I’m GLUED to the TV for it), so I love a good hockey romance. But damn, do these books give an unrealistic representation of the number of good looking hockey players. I’m not saying they don’t all likely have amazing bodies, but when I look up and down the bench, I’m really not seeing teamfuls of gorgeous guys…or at least not gorgeous to me. No offense hockey players, I’m sure it’s me and not you. 😛