This novella is listed at the 1.5 in the Aces series. Though I enjoyed the first one, I think I liked this one better, even though there’s not a lot of actually hockey happening.
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
A hockey player spends Christmas with the family who took him in as a teenager, but finds himself conflicted because of his strong attraction to their daughter (who he grew up with). For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.
The Good Stuff
Being that this was a novella, there wasn’t room for extraneous details, and I liked that the story flowed well and jumped right into the plot.
The family dynamic was fun, and set the stage for a feel-good holiday story. However, the conflict that arose from Andrew feeling like he couldn’t be with Jenna because it would be a betrayal to the family kept it from being too feel-good. Because angst is important when it comes to romance.
There were some really funny parts in this story, like the game they played with Grandma, Jenna sitting on Santa’s lap, and the prank the hockey players play on one of their teammates. I love team camaraderie.
Things That Made Me Go Hmmm
There’s a small amount of conflict from Jenna bringing home her boyfriend, an uptight accountant, and I would have liked to see a little more happen with that. Also, I liked these characters and wouldn’t have minded spending more time with them.
The Romance Factor
Andrew and Jenna are pretty much doomed from the beginning, as they’ve been harboring feelings for years. Having avoided it for the most part, their close proximity brings those feelings to the surface. The fact that they thought their relationship would be impossible made me want to hug them and tell them to stop being idiots, but it also pulled on my heartstrings a little bit. 4/5
The Steam Factor
The sexy times are hot and heavy, and what really shines is the dirty talk. It was so good that I was able to ignore the lack of pronouns (which seems to be a thing when contemporary heroes talk dirty). 5/5
If I hadn’t been 100% sucked into this series from the first book, this one finished the job. Though it was short, it was well written and still gave me a full reading experience. I can’t wait to read the next one to find out if I’m right about who’s story we get next.