Hooked on You
by Kate Meader
Chicago Rebels, #4
Publication Date: May 7, 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Sports Romance, Standalone
The steamy Chicago Rebels series returns with this racy and sassy tale of embittered hearts, second chances, and going for the goal—on and off the ice.
Violet Vasquez never met her biological father, so learning he left his beloved hockey franchise—the Chicago Rebels—to her is, well, unexpected. Flat broke and close to homeless, Violet is determined to make the most of this sudden opportunity. Except dear old dad set conditions that require she takes part in actually running the team with the half-sisters she barely knows. Working with these two strangers and overseeing a band of hockey-playing lugs is not on her agenda…until she lays eyes on the Rebels captain and knows she has to have him.
Bren St. James has been labeled a lot of things: the Puck Prince, Lord of the Ice, Hell’s Highlander…but it’s the latest tag that’s making headlines: washed-up alcoholic has-been. This season, getting his life back on track and winning the Cup are his only goals. With no time for relationships—except the fractured ones he needs to rebuild with his beautiful daughters—he’s finding it increasingly hard to ignore sexy, all-up-in-his-beard Violet Vasquez. And when he finds himself in need of a nanny just as the playoffs are starting, he’s faced with a temptation he could so easily get hooked on.
For two lost souls, there’s more on the line than just making the best of a bad situation… there might also be a shot at the biggest prize of all: love.
REVIEW – A 4+ Stars
Bren St. James had stolen my attention since his surly demeanor on “Irresistible You” – there must be a story behind all those attitudes. As the series progress, I was just so impatient for his turn to take the spotlight. It’s a bittersweet fact that finally – FINALLY – his time came, but with it also the conclusion to the “Chicago Rebels” series. Bren certainly closed the series with a bang and I mean in more ways than one (considering his predecessors got some of the torrid and on-the-forbidden-side of love affairs). The thorn on his side was the youngest Chase sister, Violet Vasquez. Frankly, it took me a long time to actually warm up to her characters. However, as wont in the kind of picture she portrayed to others, there was more to Violet than the happy, easy going, party girl persona. It’s fascinating to see (read) how the two went head to head from day one (of the series).
If you haven’t read the previous books, worry not – it can be read as a standalone. Still, I would recommend all the books in this series to be read in chronological order to grasp the overall development of how far this underdog Hockey team and their management had gone through, personally and professionally. Of course, there were bits thrown here as background story; so either way it’d work for reader.
Parallel with the previous entries, “Hooked On You” is told alternately from Bren’s and Violet’s POVs in third person. After knew next to nothing about the both of them – Bren and Violet, in their own way, were private people who kept their cards close to their chests – gaining insight of where they came from and what made them ticked were enlightening. I couldn’t help but felt for them, even when they were basically being judgy towards each other. I loved how they were not perfect, that they learned from their mistakes (or trying to), not always being led by their nether regions and bang whenever, wherever (well, at least not as OFTEN 😉 ) but consider options and circumstances before making decisions.
More than romance between two star-crossed lovers finding their way to be together (and hooyaa HOW they tried; hard, tense and sweaty… if you know what I mean) “Hooked On You” also touched on family love, not only of blood but the chosen ones. It might sound cliche but somehow, the author made it worked in deft and entertaining way. You can count on the riot these bunch of people from the Rebels organization made, if not with their banters, the (rare) heart to heart moment, or the passionate embraces. Oh, and there’s even cameo from some of my favourite people from “Hot in Chicago” series!
The biggest issue I had here was how the MC dealt with certain threat from the past. After having the lead character told themselves something was up and they would be ready for it, the turnabout they did was kinda frustrating. Likewise the ease with which they solve the problem. Like, hello, all those heartaches for… nothing?? Seriously!
That saying, this book is still my favourite of the series. “Hooked On You” got the balance of fun, sizzling, and heartwarming. Bren’s clash with Violet had been simmering for a while and I love, love how the author brought about the collision between the two hotheaded characters.
Advanced copy of this book is kindly given by the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
She blew out a breath that was half growl, picked up a can of Italian wedding soup, and examined the ingredient list like she was studying for a test. Why wasn’t she taking this opportunity to get under his skin using those taunts that tripped off her tongue like sensual ninja knives?
“Have I offended you in some way, Violet?”
Keeping her chin dipped, she shook her head, but it was a shake of disbelief, not of disagreement with his question.
“Violet, look at me.”
Glittering eyes snapped to his, in them a flash of something—a visceral response to his demand—but it was gone so quickly that even the rewind called him a liar.
“Has something happened?”
“Look, St. James, you and I have never meshed, so we don’t need to pretend to get along. We just ran into each other at the store and you ‘saved’ me from the unseemly interest of a fellow shopper. ¡Maravilloso! ¡Gracias! Now you can take your steel buns and your sexy scowl off in the opposite direction.”
Color flagged her cheeks, making her olive skin glow. She was furious, and he still didn’t know why. He was also furious, and he had a better idea of the reason.
She’d changed the social contract. They’d been moseying along with her teasing and taunting and flirting, and him acting like it was the worst thing ever to happen to him. Like Violet’s attention was a fresh slice of hell, because in a way it was. She reminded him of everything he couldn’t have. She reminded him of the man he used to be. His body came alive around her, and alive was dangerous. Alive was the opposite of numb, and numb was his best defense against the demons whispering in his ear.
One drink won’t hurt. Thirst like yours can’t be quenched with anything but whiskey.
If he allowed himself to want her, it was a slippery slope to succumbing to the demons at the door. Of course he couldn’t tell her this, so instead he latched on to her words.
“Steel buns?” There was also “sexy scowl,” but he figured he’d start with the ass stuff.
She rolled her eyes, then coasted those same eyes down his body, half hidden by the grocery cart. “As if you don’t know.”
“That I have an ass you could bounce a puck off of?” He twisted to check himself out. “S’pose I do, lass.”
She burst out laughing and muttered something in Spanish.
“Not for your ears, Scot.”
One day she’d tell him. One day, he’d get it out of her, preferably while her body arched into his and his body drove into hers.
DON’T MISS THE OTHER BOOKS IN THE CHICAGO REBELS SERIES!
ABOUT KATE MEADER
Originally from Ireland, USA Today bestselling author Kate Meader cut her romance reader teeth on Maeve Binchy and Jilly Cooper novels, with some Harlequins thrown in for variety. Give her tales about brooding mill owners, oversexed equestrians, and men who can rock an apron or a fire hose, and she’s there. Now based in Chicago, she writes sexy contemporary romance with alpha heroes and strong heroines who can match their men quip for quip.
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