I am loving this series! I am not usually a fan of the pregnancy romance, but Hunter does such a good job with it she’s made me a convert.
Hollis recently got divorced after finding out her husband was cheating on her. Her sister is getting married to a hockey player, so Hollis has to be in the wedding even though all she wants to do is go off by herself and cry. Pity party for one, please! But an understandable pity party for sure.
Lowell is her future brother-in-law’s teammate and a man who has been burnt once himself. His girlfriend told him she was pregnant and he was ready to marry her until he found out she was lying. He is determined to avoid relationships and stick to one night stands where his heart won’t get involved.
Hollis and Lowell have a one night stand at the wedding, and a big oops occurs. When she finally gets hold of Lowell to tell him, he feels like history is repeating itself. Except Hollis doesn’t seem like the type to be after his money or his fame. He cautiously agrees to be involved with the baby but insists on them just co-parenting. No relationship allowed!
Best laid plans and all…Hollis and Lowell spend a lot of time together. He falls in love with his baby almost from the get go but is cautious around Hollis, and she is cautious as well. She loves the support he is giving her – the emotional and physical support because she is having a pregnancy that sends her sex drive roaring, and he is happy to help out.
You can guess what happens but this was such a fun, sexy read it didn’t matter. I wanted them to find their happily ever after, and they do. Looking forward to the next book in the series, Sin Bin, publishing in July.
3/2022 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch
ONE-TIMER by Teagan Hunter. Independently published (March 24, 2022). ASIN: B09QH91PQN. 263p.
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!
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!
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.
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.
I would know. I’m coming home with a brand-new ring on my finger.
My wife? Ryan Bell. We’re polar opposites. She’s sunshine and happiness. I’m grumpy and scarred—literally.
We could get it annulled and no one would be the wiser. Only problem? We posted about it online, and it’s already making headlines.
I can’t afford to get that kind of attention and tank my career, and Ryan needs my help too. We make a plan: stay married for one year, play our roles, and divorce amicably at the end. No harm, no foul.
Besides, there’s no way the beauty is going to fall for the beast…
I love sports romances, and this was a good one. You don’t have to be a sports fan to appreciate a romance set in that world, however. More broadly, these types of romances can also be considered “millionaire” romances because usually the sports figure is making bank. In this case, the main character is Adrian Rhodes, star of the (fictional) Carolina Comets, a Stanley Cup winning NHL franchise. Hockey, for the uninitiated. You do not have to be a hockey fan to enjoy this, either, although with all the talk about how hockey players have great butts, you may want to tune in for a game!
Adrian and a few of his teammates have gone to Vegas to celebrate their win, along with his teammate Collin’s girlfriend and her best friend, Ryan. Ryan and Adrian have been thrown together a few times and just sort of ignore each other. But this night Ryan gets drunk, and his friends ask him to take care of her. He decides she should have some food before passing out and they end up in a diner. As Ryan sobers up, she is looking at her phone and sees Adrian’s ex-girlfriend is engaged to his former teammate. She tells him, and he takes it hard. Even though he normally doesn’t drink much, he decides it is a good night to start. They end up waking in bed together, married. And they posted a video of their Vegas wedding online.
Ryan is a social media beauty influencer, with almost half a million followers. Rhodes is a hockey star, who is now trending on Twitter. Neither remembers much but they both decide to avoid catastrophe, they will have to stay married until he gets through the next hockey season, so about a year. The only ones who know the truth are their best friends. They even lie to their families about it.
As they spend time together, they are both fighting an attraction to one another. Adrian has a disfiguring scar across his face that he got from a skate while he was in high school. His nickname is the Beast, more for his hockey skills, but he is very self conscious about that scar. He can’t understand why Ryan isn’t horrified by him, and in fact she is one of the few people who actually looks him in the eye. And it doesn’t hurt that he thinks she’s a knockout.
Ryan thinks he is incredibly hot and as she gets to know him realizes he is also very kind. The attraction takes them where you’d expect, and there are several steamy sex scenes. But before they can admit they love one another, Ryan finds out something pretty big that Adrian has neglected to tell her, and she leaves him.
I couldn’t help rooting for this Beauty and the Beast, and they do find their happily ever after. There are a lot of laughs here as well as some angst, making this a terrific one night read for me. I wish I had read the first book in the series, and I am definitely looking forward to the next!
1/2022 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch
BLIND PASS by Teagan Hunter. Independently published (January 27, 2022). ASIN: B09JZSS8P3. 320p.
One of Buzzfeed’s 16 Romantic Books To Read This Fall
One of Popsugar’s Best Books for Winter
One of Refinery29’s Best Books of December
“Definitely a must-read!”—La La Anthony, New York Times bestselling author
Maxwell Lewis has to make the play of his life in order to breach the woman of his dream’s defenses in this new football romance from the author of Fumbled.
Brynn Larson owes a lot to reality television and professional athletes. Her bar hit new heights of success after becoming a local haunt for the Denver Mustangs players and their WAGs. But although she’s grateful, that doesn’t mean she’s crazy. And that’s exactly what she would be to ever consider dating a professional athlete. Even if it’s Maxwell Lewis, whose shy smile makes her wonder what going on behind those beautiful brown eyes.
Maxwell knew from the moment he met Brynn that she was going to change his life. It was only a matter of time. But when he finally makes a move, fate conspires against him and everything goes wrong. Now he has to show her that their potential is real. Too bad for him, Brynn isn’t fooled by his glamorous NFL life, and when ghosts from both their pasts make a sudden reappearance, she must decide who she can trust. But when the person she’s most afraid of is herself, navigating life’s tackles is harder than anticipated.
This is one of my favorite series. I love sports romances, and since Martin’s husband was an NFL player, she has a strong background to build on. Brynn has been in the previous books in the series, but as a minor character, the woman who owns the bar that all the football wives hang out in. In this latest entry into the series, Brynn is the star. Well, really Maxwell Lewis is. He’s a star football player on a fictional Denver NFL team. He also seems shy, especially around Brynn. That is only one of the hurdles this romance has to get over. Brynn is fiercely independent and doesn’t want to ever get involved with those narcissistic football players. But something about Maxwell really draws her to him.
Eventually, Brynn and Maxwell get their happily ever after, but it is the getting there that is so much fun. I love these women, well, most of them; we are definitely supposed to hate one or two. Martin tells a really good story with lots of humor, wonderfully drawn characters, interesting settings, and some hot sex. Another excellent addition to the series.
1/2020 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch
BLITZED by Alexa Martin. Berkley (December 3, 2019). ISBN 978-0451491992. 336p.
Series in development with Starz & G-Unit Films and Television by 50 Cent and La La Anthony!
One of NPR’s Best Books of 2018
An Amazon Best Romance of 2018 Pick
An iBooks “Best of September” Pick
A GoodReads Best of the Month pick for September
One of Booklist‘s Top 10 Romance Debuts for 2018
One of BookBubs Best Fall Romances of 2018
Marlee thought she scored the man of her dreams only to be scorched by a bad breakup. But there’s a new player on the horizon, and he’s in a league of his own…
Marlee Harper is the perfect girlfriend. She’s definitely had enough practice by dating her NFL-star boyfriend for the last ten years. But when she discovers he has been tackling other women on the sly, she vows to never date an athlete again. There’s just one problem: Gavin Pope, the new hotshot quarterback and a fling from the past, has Marlee in his sights.
Gavin fights to show Marlee he’s nothing like her ex. Unfortunately, not everyone is ready to let her escape her past. The team’s wives, who never led the welcome wagon, are not happy with Marlee’s return. They have only one thing on their minds: taking her down. But when the gossip makes Marlee public enemy number one, she worries about more than just her reputation.
Between their own fumbles and the wicked wives, it will take a Hail Mary for Marlee and Gavin’s relationship to survive the season.
I love a good sports romance, and the reviews and buzz around Fumbled, the second book in the series, originally brought me to this author. So yes, again, I am reading a series out of order. Luckily, there are only two books so far, so at least now I’m ready when the next book comes out! Plus can I just say that this is a great romance with diverse characters, always a welcome addition to the genre. Martin has a bit of writing quirk that may be just a generational thing, but she uses hashtags. A lot. Sometimes they are super appropriate and usually they are funny, but now and then I thought she went a bit over the top with them.
As I mentioned in my review of Fumbled, this has some real life behind it. Both these books revolve around NFL players (albeit for a fictitious team) and in real life, Martin is married to a retired professional football player. So she speaks with some authority here which really added to the story for me. One of my favorite sports romance series is from Susan Elizabeth Phillips, who writes about another fictitious football team, and Martin’s books almost seem like an updated version to me.
A friend told me she never reads sports romances because she doesn’t like sports, but trust me, that is not a prerequisite. Not to stereotype (much!) but professional athletes make great romantic leads because they are young, good looking with ripped bodies, and they are loaded, leading so many women to fantasize about meeting/marrying one. And what is a good romance novel but a good fantasy?
Intercepted introduces some terrific characters and the writing is smart and funny. Marlee is terrific; strong, feisty and feminist, all traits I can relate to. Gavin is a cut above the usual jock, and is deserving of this wonderful woman. I loved watching how they come together and there is some hot sex along the way before they even get their happily ever after. All the cattiness with the football wives added a lot of humor and I loved Marlee’s best friend having her back. Good friends and a supportive family go a long way here.
Martin is definitely on to something here and I hope she continues her journey. I’m really looking forward to her next book.
7/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™
INTERCEPTED by Alexa Martin. Berkley (April 23, 2019). ISBN 978-0451491978. 336p.
One of Amazon’s Best Romances of the Month
One of Apple’s Best Books of April
A second chance doesn’t guarantee a touchdown in this new contemporary romance from the author of Intercepted.Single-mother Poppy Patterson moved across the country when she was sixteen and pregnant to find a new normal. After years of hard work, she’s built a life she loves. It may include a job at a nightclub, weekend soccer games, and more stretch marks than she anticipated, but it’s all hers, and nobody can take that away. Well, except for one person.T.K. Moore, the starting wide receiver for the Denver Mustangs, dreamt his entire life about being in the NFL. His world is football, parties, and women. Maybe at one point he thought his future would play out with his high school sweetheart by his side, but Poppy is long gone and he’s moved on.When Poppy and TK cross paths in the most unlikely of places, emotions they’ve suppressed for years come rushing back. But with all the secrets they never told each other lying between them, they’ll need more than a dating playbook to help them navigate their relationship.
I love a good sports romance, and the reviews and buzz around this one drew me in. I haven’t read the first book in this series, Intercepted, yet – but after reading this one, I searched it out and it is now on my Kindle ready to go.
This has some real life behind it. The story revolves around an NFL player and Martin is married to one (now retired.) So she speaks with some authority here which really added to the story for me. Poppy is a terrific character, a great mom, and a good friend. I wouldn’t mind hanging out with her and when you can feel that comfortable with a character, that is a very good thing.
The football player in question, TK, is also a well developed character, not just a one dimensional athlete. I liked how his relationships with his mother and the other women in his life were explored; it all rang true for me. An important plot point centers around the concussion issue in the NFL. Martin tackles it head on, (if you’ll excuse the pun) which was a real plus for me. I love football, despite being a Dolphins fan (this is a rebuilding year, go Fins!) but CTE is a very serious issue so I was very glad she addressed it.
Martin is a good storyteller and her writing is crisp with lots of humor and pathos. She brought me to tears several times but also had me laughing out loud. A very enjoyable romance!
5/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™
FUMBLED by Alexa Martin. Berkley (April 23, 2019). ISBN 978-0451491978. 336p.
From the author of the critically acclaimed Blue Plate series comes the second novel in the How to Score series about a rescue dog shelter owner and a wide receiver who needs a little rescuing himself.
Caught between the media’s crosshairs and his own questionable decisions, Colorado Blizzards wide receiver Chris Lalonde has a choice: watch his storied career burn to the ground or rehab his bad-boy image at the local dog shelter. His goal: rescue the oldest, saddest, most mange-infested canines in the hopes that the pups can rescue his reputation in return. What he doesn’t expect? Hazel Grant, shelter owner, do-gooder, and beautiful all-American girl next door. She has no time for Chris’s excuses, antics, or cheesy pick-up lines…challenge accepted.
Hazel Grant can’t believe she got saddled with Denver’s cockiest–and most eligible–football player for a volunteer. She needs people she can trust and count on, not a man packaged in abs and wrapped in confidence who thinks scoring touchdowns is an honest day’s work. But since the shelter is in need of some serious TLC, she can’t afford to turn away help.
Chris and Hazel get along like cats and dogs. But when it comes to Chris Lalonde, there’s a new surprise around every corner, and Hazel finds that, like the pups she cares for, Chris has hidden depths, secret talents, and meets every test she throws at him. As the pressure mounts to save the shelter–and Chris’s career–lust bubbles to the surface, and suddenly love becomes anybody’s game…
Football, dogs and romance – this is definitely my happy place. I liked these characters as they were well developed and real. I loved this animal shelter that cares for and rehabilitates abused animals, and wished there was one like it in every neighborhood. Hazel’s money troubles was a bit of a stretch seeing as her uncle owns an NFL franchise, but I went with it because it was such a fun read. I love this whole sports romance sub-genre, and this is an excellent example. Not sure why it’s only available as an ebook but no one asked me. If you have a Kindle or don’t mind reading on a tablet, go for it.
7/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™
RESCUING THE RECEIVER by Rachel Goodman. Pocket Star (June 11, 2018). ASIN: B078MD4J5C.