I started reading this series in the middle, as I often do, with SNEAKING AROUND WITH #34. I liked it, but in a weird coincidence, I read another hot hockey romance by a different author right before this one. They both published on the same date, so it led to immediate comparison, and the other book won. But not by much. And I liked this book enough that I began the hunt for the rest of the books in the series.
The first book, or 0.5 as it is labeled, Countdown to a Kiss, is actually a novella introducing the series. It was free from Amazon, so I downloaded it and read it immediately. I am not always a fan of novellas, but this was a good entry into a new series and I was glad to have read it. Some of it is repeated in the first book, in case you don’t read this one. The “countdown” refers to New Years Eve, and it is set at a New Years Eve party. We meet three of the hockey players, but the central romance is on one of the players, Tweetie (they all have nicknames) and Tedi, the woman he meets there.
Tedi is a fun character. She is basically obsessed with hockey players and has a “fuck it bucket list” and Tweetie heads the list. Neither one of them is relationship material and both are looking for a one night stand. But Tedi surprises herself by going back for more, and so does Tweetie. And before they know it, they are in a relationship.
That novella leads to the first book in the series, My Lucky #13, which was also free from Amazon. This story centers around Aiden, the team captain, and Saige, a social media manager for professional athletes. They meet at the New Year’s Eve party in Countdown to a Kiss, when Aiden’s manager brings Saige as his date to the party. Then he basically abandons her, and Aiden moves in. Wanting to date his manager’s girlfriend puts him in an awkward situation, and that is one of the major plotlines here.
When Aiden goes to kiss Saige at midnight, she suddenly backs up and throws her glass of wine in his face. Aiden has been in an eight game slump without scoring. He knows his neck is on the chopping block to get traded unless he can get back his mojo. He never believed in superstitions or the rituals that many professional athletes believe in, but after that night, he scores a hat trick (3 goals) in his next game. Deciding that Saige throwing that wine was the change he needed, he arranges for her to repeat it before the next game, and he scores again. His game is back, but Aiden decides that Saige needs to throw wine in his face before every game. A new ritual is born, plus Aiden gets to spend time with a woman he is falling for fast.
Saige has been burnt before and keeps Aiden thinking she is still dating his manager long after she dumps him to protect herself, but eventually the truth comes out and yes, they find their happily ever after.
Then I moved on to book 2, The Trouble with #9, which I found on CloudLibrary. Hoopla had the first two books but that was it. This one centers around Maksim, the Russian defender for the team. Maksim sees himself as the protector for his teammates, and every time the refs miss a call, he is there to remind the other team that he is watching. His temper is fierce on the ice, and the penalties he’s getting aren’t making the team owner happy. The owner decides to bring in Paisley, his daughter’s best friend, who is a psychologist. He wants her to work with Maksim, but all he does is flirt like crazy with her. Eventually, the owner decides every member of the team needs at least three sessions with the shrink and they all follow through except Maksim.
Ethically, Paisley is torn but decides since he isn’t talking to her anyway, she might as well date him. Maksim is really a sweet guy, and Paisley adores that side of him. Eventually she finds out why he is such a protector, and knows he needs therapy to work through his issues. But it isn’t until she dumps him that he learns that lesson. No worries, they find a happy ending as well.
I wasn’t able to get book 3, Faking It with #41 through my library so I requested they purchase it. They have the digital audiobook, but I’d much rather read it than listen. So I moved on to the next book, which is another novella, Tropical Hat Trick. I also couldn’t get that one from my library (again they had the audiobook though) so I used a credit I had on Amazon to buy it for $.99. I know, I splurged! This was a good story set at one of the team’s destination wedding – I guess from book 3?
This story is told from several points of view of the various team members at the wedding, plus a couple more who just happen to be there on vacation. One of them is Corey, a rookie, who meets Ande on the shuttle ride from the airport to the hotel. They have a steamy few days together, but he is the center of book 5, Second Shot with #76, so I suspect we will see more of Ande as well. That book comes out 4/19/2022. We also see the beginnings of something brewing with Kane, a new teammate who is one of the best in hockey, but has been around long enough that this will probably be his last season, and Jana, the team owner’s daughter. We also see Warner and Imogen meet up for the first time in years – which brings us to book 4, the one I read first in this series, Sneaking Around With #34, that feature this couple.
I will beg the publicist for the next two books in the series, or hope that my library gets them and reviews will follow. I am being very optimistic here! If you like sexy sports romances, or are a hockey fan, try this series. They are so engaging that I read all these books over a weekend, so enjoy!
The series in order:
Three professional hockey players from the Florida Fury attend a New Year’s Eve party at the team owner’s mansion and spend time with three very different women. As the countdown to midnight begins, each of them is hoping to start the new year off right with a kiss. But if that happens, does it mean they’re destined to see these women again? A sneak peek into Piper Rayne’s upcoming series, Hockey Hotties!
2. My Lucky #13
The one adjective used to describe my entire hockey career. I prefer to call it hard work, at least I did until my game went to complete crap. I haven’t scored in eight games and the team owner is talking about trading me.
I’ve never believed in superstitions. Never needed one. I suppose I was “lucky” in that way. But now the best way to refer to me is desperate. I’d wear the same socks for an entire year just to be the high-scoring center I used to be.
Imagine my surprise when after spending New Year’s Eve with a woman, I score a hat trick in the next game—that’s three goals in one game for you non-hockey lovers. Now, I have to track her down and bribe her to do it again before every game. Get your mind out of the gutter, I’m not talking about it.
I find her and when I get to know her better, I end up spending more time thinking about her than my game, but she’s made it clear she wants no part of me. She’s going to learn that I didn’t become a professional hockey player without having to fight for what I want.
One word that comes to mind when someone talks about me. I like to think of it as protection, watching out for the ones I love. But now I’m spending more time in the penalty box than on the ice and the team owner isn’t happy.
Finding myself across the room from the hot therapist I kissed on New Year’s Eve only makes me push my problems down further. I want couch time with her but not the kind she’s used to.
I decide to lie to her just to finish off my therapy so I can do what I really want—date her—even if she says she doesn’t date hockey players. Just when my therapy sessions are up and I’ve made some headway with Paisley, it’s my parents who throw another wrench in my plans.
If I abide by my parent’s wishes to marry the one they’ve chosen, I’ll lose Paisley forever. But if I go against my parents, I’m failing my deceased best friend all over again.
3.5. Tropical Hat Trick
It’s Ford and Lena’s destination wedding and every professional hockey player joining them for the big day are ready to let loose. But between vacation hook-ups, one player falling into bed with the boss and a surprise guest at the resort, there’s more action—and complications—than any of them could have predicted.
Note to Readers: This is a companion piece to the Hockey Hotties series but does not have to be read to enjoy any of the books in that series.
I have a reputation for being tight-lipped. You learn quick when you become a professional hockey player to be guarded with the media, so I’ve worked hard to cover up the mistakes of my youth.
But when I’m traded to the Florida Fury, where my ex–best friend is the starting right wing, I’m forced to confront my past. Ford and I have a lot of history, especially when it comes to his little sister, Imogen.
My heart still lurches in my chest when I see her.
My hands want to reach out and touch her.
My mouth wants to keep apologizing.
She’s the only woman who ever made me want more. But she’s also the one who fell victim to my most regrettable decision.
I’m not a believer in fate, but I must be back in her world for a reason. I’ve fought for everything I’ve gotten and I’m not backing down from what I know will be the best thing in my life.
My mom always said you don’t get a second shot at making a first impression. I’ve remembered that my entire career. Especially since I’m one of the few black men who play professional hockey.
I’m calculated and respectful in the way I speak to my coaches, the owners, and the media. I’ve never taken a risk… until her.
I could blame it on the fact that for once I pushed away the pressure of my career for the ocean waves, the sand, and good times with my new teammates. But those are excuses because the minute I saw her at the airport, something lit up inside me and the best week of my life was spent with her in my bed.
After our week in paradise, we said goodbye, exchanged phone numbers and both assumed that unless one of us was flying through the other’s city on the opposite side of the country, our vacation fling was over.
Then one night after practice I see her. She’s here. In my city. Telling me she moved here for a job. If that’s not fate tell me what is.
I’ve never wanted a second shot more than I do this time, but she’s determined to leave what we were on the island we left behind.
The last thing any professional hockey player wants is to be the old man in the game. The guy who doesn’t know when it’s time to retire. Still, I can’t bear the thought of leaving the game.
This past year I’ve reflected on all my regrets, and I told myself that once I retire it’ll be the time to settle down and start a family. But this is where it gets tricky.
I think I’ve found her—my Mrs. Although she’ll deny our connection to anyone who asks. We’ve been sleeping together casually and since I’m still playing hockey, I’ve let her get what she wants—me—whenever she wants.
After being told my career as a player is over, the owner of Florida Fury grants me a shot to stay in the game. A coaching position I didn’t know I wanted until it was offered. The catch? He’s also passing the family business down to his daughter.
Who’s his daughter?
The woman who’s been in and out of my bed for the past year. Which means the woman I intend to make my wife is now my new boss.