The Pilots Hockey novels are another example of a series that started out a little shaky for me but continues to get better with each story. Even though the characters irked me a bit in this one, I still enjoyed the story and I like all the social and family connections between the characters.
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
A cop falls for a single mother and starts a relationship even though he knows he won’t stay in the area. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.
Indie is a single mother who got pregnant in high school and had to give up her dreams because the father of her baby refused to give up on his and help her with the child. Now he’s back in the picture, but he’s still not helpful and causes more harm than good on most days. Still, she has her younger brother and her mom to help her with her son, and since she’s going to college part time, she knows she’ll eventually reach her goals.
Cop With Issues
Jason moved to the small town to get experience as a cop, but his end goal is to return to Detroit. When he meets Indie, he knows he shouldn’t get attached because he’s not staying, but he can’t help himself. They start dating and the relationship ends up getting more serious. Jason falls for Indie and her son, but he has is own issues. He was given up for adoption when he was a baby, and it’s bothered him all his life, regardless of the fact that he grew up with a wonderful family and siblings.
The Conflict is Real
For the most part, Indie and Jason’s relationship seems normal, and I liked the realism of it. The conflict often comes when Jason wallows in his issues and Indie tries to make him see how selfish he’s being, seeing his issues as a reflection (sort of) of her own choices. They have some good conversations about it, and while I was never really sure where I stood on the issue, it made for some interesting conflict.
The Douchie Ex
There’s also the wrench of Indie’s child’s father in the picture, a real douche who wants time with his son when it’s convenient for him. When he threatens Jason and tells him to leave Indie alone, Jason actually thinks the idiot might be right, that maybe he shouldn’t be in a relationship with her and maybe he can’t ask her to move back to Detroit with him. Jason isn’t always on point with how he thinks about things.
The Good Side
The story itself was entertaining, and of course the hockey references made me happy. But these characters…I don’t even know. There were things I liked about them. Jason is a really nice guy who puts Indie first when they’re together. He bends over backwards to make her happy and to smooth things over if they have an argument. Indie is determined to reach her goals, and she says a few times that when she makes a decision, she does it with her son in mind, always trying to make the best decision for him. I liked them together and I liked them trying to overcome things that happened in their past, including Indie being seen as a slut for getting pregnant in high school thanks to small town views.
The Not-So-Good Side
But there were also things that drove me nuts about them. Even getting Indie’s point of view and understanding her motivations didn’t help the fact that I found her super passive-aggressive. Also, she’s under 21 and when she reveals this to Jason…a cop…as they’re drinking beer…he doesn’t really seem to care. She makes the argument that if someone has a kid before 21 they should be allowed to drink, and that line of reasoning bugged me. I’d be fine with them lowering the drinking age, sure, but generally speaking, having a kid doesn’t make you a responsible adult (to be fair, that goes for anyone of any age). Also, I would expect a cop to be a little more upset about the situation than Jason was. And, you know, maybe stop her from drinking.
The Romance Factor
Jason treats Indie well, and I enjoyed how he brought her into his family and supported everything she did. Which made it all the better when they have their big conflict…more angst, more feels. 4/5
The Steam Factor
This story is pretty light on the details of the sexy times, focusing more on the dynamic of Jason and Indie’s relationship rather than the steaminess of their bedroom interactions. 2/5
Though the characters were flawed and sometimes annoying, I liked that I could relate to them and see both sides of the story. I enjoyed the cameos from past characters and, of course, all the fun Michigan references. If there are more in this series, it’ll be interesting to see who the next set of characters are.