You Had Me at Hockey
Kelly Jamieson’s new hockey romance series adds another sweet and pleasant chapter to its fold with You Had Me at Hockey.
Josh – Hellsy – Heller gets the news dropped on him out of the blue; he’s being traded from the Dallas Stars to the New York Bears, replacing a recently-resigned member of the Bears’ team. He struggles with the move – which clashes with his low-key, excitement-avoiding nature – and with his new environment, plus he has to deal with an old teammate, someone he he hasn’t spoken to since they were both involved with a bad accident as kids. He’s booked on a new hot podcast to make himself visible to the Bears’ fans. But doing the podcast brings a beautiful woman into his life, and things just might be changing for the better.
Sara Carrington – host of the Cooking with Sara Youtube Channel – is a social media starlet with a finger in every proverbial pie, from Tik-Tok to Instagram, where she is a known influencer. Goofy, spontaneous, cheerful and outgoing, she overshares with her fans about everything from her zits to her status as an adult virgin. She’s launching a new podcast, and lands Josh as a guest. She doesn’t expect to fall for his dry wit or sexy ways.
Sara becomes determined to bring a little joy into Josh’s life, and Josh – scarred by a near-death experience in a bus accident that claimed the lives of multiple friends when he was a teenager – is drawn to her sunniness in spite of himself. They become friends, then sex buddies when Sara decides to lose her virginity to him. But when Sara tries to reconcile Josh with a teammate he hasn’t spoken to in years, conflict arises. Can they salvage their romance from the ashes?
You Had me at Hockey is a pleasant affair with two decent people falling in love and dealing with their imperfections.
Sara is bouncy and bubbly and not ready to change for anyone, but she feels inadequate – too much, too strange, too weird. This keeps the tension between her and Josh flowing properly.
Josh, meanwhile, is organized and resolute and comforted by routine after his accident, and he’s never really addressed why that is. He’s not unlikable, and often he tends to make the reader smile with his gruffness and teasing nature.
The book handles the complexities of its plot well – Josh’s brutal PTSD in particular is excellently dealt with. As always, Jamieson know her hockey and knows how to bring a game to perfect life, though this is a romance that is rather less focused on the game than some of her others.
I’m only downgrading this a bit for the insta-love between the leads. They move in together at far too rapid a pace, and perhaps the book could have let their feelings percolate for a little longer.
Otherwise, You Had Me at Hockey is a sweet and simple – and simply enjoyable – romance.