Doing it at: 47%
Catnip: Hockey Players, Beards, Second Chance Love, Hate to Love You, Addiction, Serious Problems, Sports Stuff, Strong Female Lead, Brother’s Best Friend, Reformed Bad Boy
Shame Scale: Super low shame, the cover is obviously romance, but look at that guy.
Fantasy Cast: The glorious and sadly unknown to us man on the cover, Charlize Theron
Down and out with an injury keeping him away from the game, Assassins’ defenseman Jordie Thomas lives for the blades of his skates on the ice and the feeling of oblivion off it. With no choice but to heal, he’s forced away from the sport that runs through his veins. With everything at stake and darkness setting in, he quickly finds himself spiraling even further out of control. As his life begins to come crashing down around him and his contract with the Nashville Assassins on the line, he’s given an ultimatum. Ready or not, Jordie is forced to face his past, the fears that consume him, and the one woman he let walk away.
Kacey King had her professional dreams come true, yet her heart was battered and broken. With an Olympic gold medal around her neck, she’s ready to look forward to the future but without the one man she wanted in it. She’s missing the key pieces of her heart she left months ago with the only person who was capable of destroying it, causing her to falter in all her plans to move on.
In the game of life, there are winners and losers, and neither Jordie nor Kacey want to be on the losing bench. If only Jordie could convince Kacey he’s a changed man and that he wants her right by his side as his MVP for the biggest and best parts of a life they build together. With emotions running high and the game on the line, can two proud people find happiness with each other, or will their hearts and souls be left in the cold? Will they see that sometimes having someone by your side who knows the good, bad, and broken is better than going it alone and losing everything through the back of the net? They are out of time on the game clock and fighting for the win of their lives.
But overtime was made for an Assassin like Jordie.
Mary: Full disclosure. We bought this book for the cover model. 100%. Look at him:
I don’t even want to admit to the lurid, depraved, bottomless depths of Tumblr I have explored, trying to find a dirty lookalike for this guy.
Dear Toni Aleo, *Slow Clap* Also, how about you HABO (Help A Bitch Out) and tell us who this model is so we can stalk him incessantly on Instagram.
Cleone: Seriously, this is maybe our best cover model of all time, if we didn’t want to avoid angering Jay Crownover we’d tweet this at her RE: this is how you do it (plus she redeemed herself with #HotCop).
M: And also, hockey is kind of hot. I guess. I’m not really a sports person, but I think out of all of the sports, hockey has some of the better looking players (not counting the dental issues).
M: This is book seven in a series about the Nashville Assassins, a fictional hockey team, and our first book by Toni Aleo. The book opens with Jordie getting suspended from the team and sent off to rehab for alcoholism.
C: Jordie’s drinking is tied to some pretty serious physical and emotional abuse in his past. He has an extremely toxic mother who put young Jordie in dangerous situations, and then blamed him when horrific things happened.
M: Kacey just took a position as a trainer for the Assassins, fresh off of winning a gold freaking medal in hockey at the Olympics. She moves in with her brother Karson and his wife Lacey (from book six), to help out around the house – Lacey is very pregnant and will need help with the baby soon – and because she has no money for rent.
C: I always thought that being an Olympic medalist would open up a lucrative money making world, because otherwise why would you dedicate your entire life to a sport? National pride, maybe? Meh, fuck you, pay me.
Kacey and Jordie had a very hot, pretty secret, four month affair nine months before our story picks up. The two were friends with benefits’ing it, but Kacey was madly in love with Jordie, and he was falling hard for her as well. Since he was drinking like a fish and not dealing with the emotional time bomb of his past, he pushed her away and moved right on to slap-shot-ing a bunch of other bimbos. He’s also carrying some big guilt about hiding the relationship from her brother, because Karson is his long time best friend and Kacey’s parents have been more parental to him than his mom ever was.
After resisting rehab’s “lets talk about our shit” portion for a few weeks Jordie finally gave in and started talking about his feelings, and realized that he can not live without Kacey. He’s leaving rehab determined to win her back, and not drink ever again, and not let his team down, and basically to be a brand new man.
M: Lacey and Karson invite Jordie to come stay with them when he’s released from rehab, and I’m going to be honest and admit that I did not like Lacey at all. Maybe if I had read her and Karson’s book, I would be more empathetic (she’s a cancer survivor and I’m not a monster), but in this book she was a pretty shitty best friend.
The first example of this being when they invite Jordie to move into their house and Lacey NEVER TELLS KACEY, even though Lacey knows that Jordie and Kacey have truckloads of bad history. So Kacey just comes home one day to find Jordie cooking in the kitchen and living in the bedroom next to hers. She loses her shit completely, like anyone would do when confronted with the guy who ghosted on her and broke her heart.
C: Lacey also undermined Kacey’s confidence in her and Jordie’s relationship several times. Kacey would be really happy about how things were going and Lacey would be like “Things are probably going to implode,you should prepare for disaster, do you think my infant has breast cancer.” I was definitely not a fan either.
M: Lacey was the Serena van der Woodsen to Kacey’s Blair. Maybe I need to go back and read book 6 so I can feel some attachment to her, but she wasn’t doing it for me in this one.
Anyways, when Jordie shows up, Kacey already has a new boyfriend, which if you’re a regular reader, you’ll know gets a big thumbs up from me. When a heroine has been wronged, I’m all about the ‘get him back by getting under someone else’ strategy. Unfortunately Liam is a big handsome milquetoast, and won’t give up the D till he’s sure they’re going to get married. Boo. Thumbs down.
C: It’s not even like Kacey and Liam have any chemistry, she’s forcing it literally the entire time because Liam is good on paper. And over eager in an almost creepy way, maybe it is a weird double standard, but I don’t trust any guy who is talking marriage and kids with a girl he essentially just met. Slow it down duder.
M: Jordie is serious about earning Kacey’s trust back, putting a ring on her finger and making a bunch of babies. He owned his mistakes, and was willing to put in the work to win back his lady and build the life he wanted. And Ioved that. I love a hero who takes responsibility and walks on his knees for awhile.
C: Jordie is 100% committed to Kacey, but she’s hurting badly from him “ghosting” her and some really heavy shit that went down when their relationship ended. She can’t even get any actual physical space from him because her brother and Lacey moved him in to the bedroom next door to hers, and she’s working for his hockey team. He keeps swaggering around their shared bathroom naked and making her drool:
The hair on his chest was short from where he had shaved. She usually liked when he left it long, but that wasn’t what she was looking at for long. His cock was hanging there, looking fucking delish, and she didn’t know what to do.
He turned, heading for his room, his perfect, thick ass for all the world to see, and Kacey could not speak. She was stunned into silence. Was this really happening? Also, why was it taking everything out of her not to grab his ass?
M: Strategic nudity.
C: I was really feeling bad for Kacey, she’s got this beige guy she’s trying to get to bang her so she can stop obsessing over her ex, said ex won’t stop flashing his wang at her, her supposed best friend sucks, and her dad has no issue referring to the beige boyfriend as that pussy with the Prius. It’s obviously inevitable that she’s going to bang Jordie on the bathroom counter and forget all about Liam.
M: (I drive a Prius.)
C: And when Jordie and Kacey are having all the sex it is fantastic, lets give Toni Aleo another slow clap. We should probably read all the other Assassins books.
M: He’s confident and sexy and sweet and rough. There’s a slow burn and combustion, and all the things we like in a good romance. And that beard tho… I’m absolutely going to be looking into the rest of this series because this one was a great find, and a perfect weekend read.
C: I liked this book so much, Jordie’s issues are dealt with in a very frank and realistic way, and the main characters had oodles of chemistry and genuine affection for each other. Plus there were TWO John Mayer references and I unabashedly like my Mayer, I mean look at this sweet conversation while listening to this awesome John Mayer song:
“We’ve never danced before,” she whispered against his cheek. “Never.”
“Yes, we have,” he said, pulling back to look at her.
“Back in college, right before Karson locked you in the room, we danced to ‘Slow Dancing in a Burning Room’ by John Mayer.”
She paused for a moment and then smiled. “We did. You remember that?”
He nodded. “I do, and I remember the Team USA shirt you wore, because your tits looked so good in it. And also the tight jeans, because of your ass- it was so juicy back then, unlike now when it’s so strong. Oh, and how long your hair was. All the way to your butt.”
Her grin didn’t stop. ” I didn’t think you remembered me from back then.”
“How could I forget?” he asked, moving with her as the music played. “I kind of had a crush on ya, but Karson was quick to shut that down.”
Her face reddened as she nodded. “Because I liked you too.”
He smiled, running his nose along hers. “Funny thing, this story of us.”
C: I mean, swoon.
M: Definitely give this series a shot. Slap shot? Aside from the John Mayer (sorry C!), it’s got a great heroine, a serious plot, lots of naughty bits, and a beard. 🙂
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