Fire and Ice
Ever since I read Rachel Gibson’s Simply Irresistible, I’ve had a weakness for hockey player heroes. So when I found out Tori Carrington’s new Blaze, Fire and Ice, had one, I signed right up to review it.
Tommy “Wild Man” Brodie is a hockey player, but he doesn’t see much ice action in the book. He’s recovering from a knee injury and contemplating whether or not to stay in the NHL. Tired of staring at the wall in between physical therapy sessions, he decides to take a road trip to Albuquerque to see Jena, the woman with whom he had a memorable one-nighter a few months ago.
Jena McCade is a criminal defense attorney working on a make-her-or-break-her case defending a woman who killed her husband. She’s young, she’s upwardly-mobile, and doesn’t have a lot of time for relationships. She does like sex, though. So when Tommy shows up at her doorstep looking to relive their fling, she invites him in and lets him stay. The two of them find themselves in a quasi live-in situation. Jena goes to work and comes home to Tommy looking for good sex and good food. Tommy, with nothing better to do at first, cooks, cleans, reorganizes her apartment, and cares for her puppy, Caramel. But after awhile, Tommy decides that he definitely wants out of the NHL and absolutely wants more from Jena than just sex and company. The question is: is Jena ready to give him anything but a fling?
The plot of this book rests on a pretty shaky premise: that a hockey player who can and has had his share of great sex with numerous women, would remember one particular woman enough to travel long distance to see her for more uncommitted sex. It could happen, but it seems unlikely. If the two of them had had great sex and a fantastic conversation about the meaning of life, it would be more believable. Then too, both seem a little too successful for their ages. Tommy is a hockey player and has a medical degree while Jena is already a partner in her law firm. But if you are willing to overlook these two things, Fire and Ice really is pretty enjoyable as a story.
Tommy is a definite catch. He cooks, cleans, organizes, and is successful, gorgeous, and great in bed. It’s hard to believe Jena balks at making their relationship more serious. Jena was a bit harder to like. She’s a touch cold and seems to have few attachments to people outside of her tiny circle of friends. And it was sometimes hard to understand why they put up with her, actually. She constantly mocked the compassionate scruples of her friend Marie (likely the heroine of the next Carrington book). And instead of spending time with her puppy, she paid a neighborhood girl to do it instead. This is New Mexico, after all – not New York.
As her relationship with Tommy becomes more involved, though, Jenna does grow as a character. He’s definitely good for her – and possessed of seemingly endless patience. They do have good chemistry together; their love scenes were pretty hot. The small sub-plot about Jena’s legal case was wrapped up nicely in terms of both plot and character development. And the final scenes were touching and sweet.
Fire and Ice was a fun way to spend an evening. After I got used to Jena’s brusque demeanor and got over the fact that she more or less neglected her puppy (can you tell the puppy thing really bugged me?), I fell into the story and enjoyed getting to know these two characters. I’ve read a few of the Harlequin Blazes and haven’t been overly wowed, but this one was well-written and had a good story and some solid emotional depth. With a few caveats, it’s a recommended read.