Title: Hot on Ice: A Hockey Romance Anthology
Author: Robin Covington, Kimberly Kincaid, Nana Malone, Virginia Nelson, Angi Morgan, Xio Axelrod, Christi Barth, Andie J. Christopher, Avery Flynn, Kim Golden, Lena Hart, Desiree Holt, Robin Kaye, Katie Kenyhercz, Heather Long, Kate Meader, Susan Scott Shelley, & Misty D. Waters
Publisher: Avery Flynn
Expected Publishing Date: March 21, 2017
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 3 Stars
Get ready to fall in love with the smokin’ hot hockey players of the New Orleans Cajun Rage. After this season’s Cinderella run all the way to the Finals, these heroes have won the Cup—and now your heart is the goal. Little did they know that winning the Cup would just be the start of the hottest summer of their lives. . .
The New Orleans Cajun Rage professional hockey team just won The Cup. No one thought they’d do it: they were a team of shoulda beens, never coulda beens and a star or two. They’d only been in the Crescent City for three years before this year’s Cinderella run that had them skating off the ice with the championship.
Over the following summer, each player gets to keep the Cup for a day. Nobody knows why, but whoever has the Cup falls in love. USA TodayBestsellers Robin Covington, Kimberly Kincaid, Nana Malone and Virginia Nelson, Publisher’s WeeklyBestseller Angi Morgan, along with Xio Axelrod, Christi Barth, Andie J. Christopher, Avery Flynn, Kim Golden, Lena Hart, Desiree Holt, Robin Kaye, Katie Kenyhercz, Heather Long, Kate Meader, Susan Scott Shelley, and Misty D. Waters bring you 18 romances with smoking hot heroes—both on and off the ice.
20% of all royalties earned from the sale of Hot on Ice will go to Homes for Troops, a nonprofit organization that builds mortgage-free, specially modified homes for severely injured veterans.
RANSOM, USA Today Bestseller Nana Malone, Money, power, prestige…reject. Ransom Cox is —The Player. His whole life, hockey player, Ransom Cox, has watched the people he loves the most reject and leave him. He’s learned it’s better to be on his own. After the scandal of his wife walking out on him right before the championships, citing his bedroom “over” prowess as the reason, he can’t seem to escape the spotlight. The last thing he wants is to be stranded in a cabin with the one girl he’s always wanted. The one girl who could destroy him.
COURAGE, Lena Hart – Newly appointed head coach Mason “The Rage” Courage is in for the fight of his life. What should have been the biggest night of his career turns into the worst moment in his life when his wife Jules serves him with divorce papers. But this former bad boy isn’t about to let anyone—or anything—breakup his family. For his wife, his children, his players…Mason is prepared to fight for them all.
CHECKING YES, Misty D. Waters – Family secrets drove star left-winger Cooper Banks away from the love of his life, but hot off a championship win he’s no longer satisfied with second place. Except the daddy’s girl he left behind is now a woman no longer impressed by his charming smile. So when Savannah Jane Scott decides to put Cooper in the penalty box, she aims to keep him there…for good this time.
BLADE, Avery Flynn – Bad girl Gillie Pike has gone straight, but someone with a lot of money wants to bring her out of retirement to steal the Cup and make sure it’s found in star goalie Flynn Kazakov’s possession. They call him Crazy-kov for a reason and nothing makes him more nuts than his best friend’s sexy little sister who swears she’s the only one who can keep him out of jail and on the ice.
BODY CHECK, USA Today Bestseller Desiree Holt – Matt Vorchak always dreamed of playing professional hockey and winning The Cup. Then he would marry the woman of his heart and live happily ever after. But Lizzie Andrews wanted him to stay in Tampa with her and build a life there. Their split was agonizing for both. Ten years later he has realized one dream. Now he wants to recapture the other, and he’s using his day with the Stanley Cup to win her back. But he has a secret that may change everything for both of them.
PENALTY BOX BLUES, Robin Kaye – Stryker Gyllenhaal, enforcer on the Ragin’ Cajun’s, knows that once he hits Boise, his time spent in the penalty box is nothing compared to the payback Karma Kincaid has in store for him. When he finds out she has hired a handler, Trish Reynolds, his old college tutor, he’s not sure who the real enforcer is. Karma, because she owns him for an entire week, or Trish, the only woman who knows his secret, and can slam his heart against the boards with a sideways glance. He is so pucked.
♦ Personal Thought ♦
Due to the quite a number of novellas and length in this anthology, I planned to read and post my personal thought in three batches and this is the second one. Reviews are based on the order of reading.
Ransom: The Player by Nana Malone – 2.5 stars
My first Nana Malone’s book and the novella is part of the Player series which centered on the Coulters, a dynasty of professional athletes family. Like other novellas in Hot on Ice: A Hockey Romance Anthology, this novella told the story of one of Cajun Rage player after the team won the Cup.
Offense star Ransom Cox used his day with the cup at his hometown Hope, NY to celebrate his mother’s birthday. Unlike the stories I’ve read so far, the day with the cup only serves as the opening here. Right from the get go I like Ransom for his love and devotion to his mother. Mainly this aspect was the highlight of the story for me. Other than that, Ransom: the Player is basically a steamy reading of young love (although lust is probably more appropriate) finally came true.
The build up of their romance was rather nice actually, but then the ending felt rushed. The only vibe I got between Lexa and Ransom here was physical; which made the declaration of love a bit premature. Who knows, perhaps if the story were longer readers could learn more on Ransom’s effort to win the girl of his dream. Perhaps.
Courage by Lena Hart – 4 stars
Well, I should’ve guessed the story about (one of) the coach would lead the score! 😉
Courage is the first time for me to read Lena Hart’s writing and I enjoy the novella immensely! It’s a journey of finding the way back to love, trust and commitment for Cagun Rage new head coach Mason Courage and his wife Jules.
Story of established couple could be tricky for me and frankly I started reading this by readily taking Mason’s side, which – as the story progressed – proved to be wrong. As in, wrong to take side because he’s as much responsible for the mess their marriage in as Jules was.
This was the kind of story that was so real and could happen to any couple. I love how the author made the plot just flow naturally and not having to solve everything at the same time. There’s the routine one step forward two steps back tango people went through when they fought to win, but in a way that didn’t feel too deliberate or excessive to me.
The novella are mix of angst, cute, amusing, heartwarming moments with a dash of steamy scenes. Also livened up the pages were the supporting characters such as Mason’s PA, Doug, and the Courage kids, Jeremy and Madison each with their quirk and antics. But what I loved above all here is not only Jules and Mason’s mutual acknowledgement of their part in the problem and their willingness to work together, but also the build up to the moment.
It’s safe to say that Courage is my favorite of my second batch read of Hot on Ice and a nice introduction to the author’s works! I’m looking forward to read more of her books.
Checking Yes by Misty D. Waters – 2 stars
This novella was meant to be some cute and heartwarming read with family secret, second chance, small town story. Only this felt too convoluted for me.
Cooper was determined to win back the woman he love and came clean on why he left the way he did. Yet somehow, for a rather crucial issue, the way the character delivered it to his listener was way too casual. There’s also his issue with his brother, then everything’s just peachy even when their “talk” on their issue was interrupted in the middle. I also didn’t perceive Savannah Jane herself as a strong heroine; what I see of her in this novella just give off confuse vibe.
Too bad really. The story arc had such potential; but aside from too many loopholes to my liking, the delivery of the story just doesn’t work for me.
Blade by Avery Flynn – 2.75 stars
Talk about imperfect characters! In a hot and smutty novella of second chance!
Though I’ve heard the author’s name for a while, this is a first time for me to read Avery Flynn’s book. Part of Hot on Ice: A Hockey Romance Anthology, this novella also tied-in to the B-Squad series. The heroine, Gillie, is kid sister to one of B-Squad member and the Cajun Rage goalie Flynn, best fried of said member.
Gillie lost her scholarship when cancer took away her ability to sing. To make do she had fallen into the wrong crowd and thievery. When she first met Flynn, a situation put her in situation that jeopardizing his career and his name. Flynn helped her but lost his trust in her; even left her to move to another state. Now years later, a reformed thief Gillie got roped into a plan to frame Flynn for stealing the Cup to pay back the debt of Flynn’s saving her before.
This is a pretty straightforward story, what’s really drew me was the suppressed feeling and tension between the MCs. There’s still void in their heart as a result of past incident that wrecked the blooming love between them; the knowledge the screwed up the chance and wanted to make amends.
I could go more with plot exposure on dealing with bad guys, less graphic scenes as shown here, or without the half-witted move Gillie made because… well, the reasoning was too rash and foolish for me. But all in all, this is an entertaining steamy introduction to Avery Flynn’s works and B-squad; plus, the grand gesture at the end was nothing to be overlooked either. 😉
Body Check by Desiree Holt – 2.75 stars
Another second chance story, this time of Cagun Rage star defenseman, Matt Vorchak and his high school and college sweetheart Liz St. John.
While I got the general plot, this is one where the delivery just didn’t agree with me. Too many self-talk (or thought) and self-reminiscing of both character. Also, considering the length of time Liz and Matt been together before they split-up, to me their attraction based mainly on lust and little else. Added to that, Matt’s array of grand gestures by way of showing he was sorry and asking for a second chance was too over the top and way too easy. Considering he got them all planed and implemented in less than one day was just surreal.
On the other hand, self-pitying aside, I kinda liked Matt and his passion. And I grudgingly liked Liz too, once she and Matt back together. That last chapter made up the previous mouth-pursed ones for me. 😀
Penalty Box Blues by Robin Kaye – 3- Stars
A fun friends-to-lovers story between queen of oblivious, Trisha Reynolds and Cajun Rage “enforcer” Stryker Reynolds. Both were high school friends, then Trish tutored Stryker during their college years. Now, he’s back at Boise for his day with the Cup and their friend Karma roped Trish into acting as his handler during his visit.
Penalty Box Blues is a spin-off from Robin Kaye’s Wild Thing series that centered on the Kincaid. Some of the characters in the series were back as supporting characters here, including Karma Kincaid. Though the start was a bit bumpy, as the story flow the MCs grew on me.
The instant attraction (or rather, lust) between the characters were predictably expected. I liked the way the author spun the story though, making it all appear realistic. I love the special need spin the author brought into the plot; even if – again, predictably -the twist close to the end felt too much. There’s also lack of grovelling scene, although at the same time I admired the heroine’s mature outlook in seeing the actual problem and not playing victim.
Advanced copy of these novellas are kindly provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.