Grade : B-

Mia Wallace had her professional hockey dreams dashed several years back, but she’s ready to get back on the ice. With a spot on the Olympic team in her grasp, she just needs some extra oomf in her training. Enter Cal Foreman, the newest member of the Chicago Rebels, and Mia’s brother’s old friend. The chemistry between them is too hot to ignore and they embark on a secret dating adventure that changes both of their lives.

The double-edged sword of Kate Meader books is that because she does such an amazing job of creating community, and family, and a sprawling cast of characters; it can be hard to find your way into a story if it involves more than just the two protagonists. You know that all these names being bandied about are ones you should know, happily ever afters you’ve already experienced, stories you already lived through; but your brain is scratching at the details instead of focusing on the task at hand.

This book has taught me that I probably need to binge her series from now on – waiting until they’re all out before diving in, otherwise I run the risk of what I experienced in reading Foreplayer. I know I should remember Mia (our female protagonist), and I absolutely should remember her brother’s book as it provides so much context to this one, but… it has fallen out of my brain.

I mention all of that because this is a book I cannot separate from the experience of feeling lost for so long as I read it. The only fresh character is Cal – the new team member who serves as Mia’s HEA – but even his introduction is full of other team members on the Rebels I should have remembered. It took me a solid fifty pages to settle into this story, and even then I was occasionally confused afterwards – and that’s not what I am particularly expecting when picking up a contemporary romance.

The plot, if you ignore my complaints of baggage, sounds lovely. It’s a best friend’s little sister, which I adore, and contains oodles of Ms. Meader’s signature wit (complete with an A+ Schitt’s Creek reference), and steaming hot sex. On the surface, this thing should have ticked all of my boxes, but I’m sad to report that it didn’t.

HOWEVER. I suspect if I read this with the other stories fresh in my brain, it might be different. Which is why I’m choosing to amend my reading behavior with this author from here on out. If I’m still confused while binging, then that’ll be another issue. But in case it’s a me problem and not an author problem, I’m going to see. In the meantime, however, this book gets a B- from me.

Buy it at: Amazon, Audible, or your local independent retailer

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Reviewed by Kristen Donnelly

Grade: B-

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : January 13, 2021

Publication Date: 12/2020

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Kristen Donnelly

Voracious reader, with a preference for sassy romances and happily ever afters. In a relationship with coffee, seeing whiskey on the side.
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