Desert Isle Keeper
Hooked on You
In the finale to Kate Meader’s excellent Chicago Rebels series, Violet Vasquez finally gets her happily ever after. For anyone who has read the previous books, that may just be all I need to say. This woman so vivacious she leaps off the page, with all of her scars, jaded bits, and hidden away hopes, she finally gets the family she’s always longed for. Not only with her fella, the similarly battered and bruised Bren St. James, but his love helps her fully accept the love of her sisters. This is a well fought for and truly earned HEA, folks.
If you haven’t read this series, you can definitely jump in here. Ms. Meader has a gift for connected stand-alones, but that ‘connection’ bit is a rich one. If you have any predilection for sharp tongued heroines and hockey playing heroes, one-click this whole damn thing and I’ll see you in a few weeks (or hours, depending). The series is about three sisters who share nothing but a biological father. When he suddenly dies, he leaves them his hockey team with the caveat that they all must run it for one year.
As the girls have never really spent oodles of time together, much less bonded, this is a fraught arrangement. “Estranged” is a mild word for their relationship, and yet they decide to figure out a way to make it work. Their father was a different shade of jerk to each one of them and each of the sisters’ books delves into how they deal with that legacy. (There is a M/M novella in the mix as well, Undone by You, that focuses on the team’s GM and a player and tangentially involves Violet.) For Violet, her dad was never a part of her life. Hauling herself to Chicago to deal with his hockey team was never on her agenda, but there’s a few folks in the organization who quickly worm their way into her heart (or, under her skin, to be frank).
One such person is Bren St. James, known on the ice by a variety of menacing nicknames from Hell’s Highlander to the Puck Prince. Off the ice, he’s recently acquired a new moniker of washed up alcoholic hasbeen. We’ve met him previously in the series, but this book introduces us to a man at his wits end. He has to straighten up the mess he’s made of his life and do so ASAP. Step one, repair relationship with his daughters. Step two, lead the Rebels to a Stanley Cup. Step three, don’t drink again. Except, all of those steps have to happen simultaneously and immediately.
He and Violet have been dancing around each other – from a sexual, pheromonal level – for most of the series, but Bren was convinced she was with a teammate. When it turns out that Violet was simply the beard for that teammate, all bets are off. However, when he needs a nanny for his daughters and Violet volunteers, things get more emotionally complicated than he bargained for.
This book felt emotionally sumptuous to me and I enjoyed it like one enjoys a fantastic piece of cake. I have a thing for books where broken people find their healing in their own strength, but only after someone else notices it. If you’re a contemporary romance fan, I think you’ll dig it.