Bronwyn Perry is the star of the US women’s hockey team, and she and her boyfriend Brody Hill have been hockey royalty since they’ve been in high school. Brody unexpectedly fails to make the men’s team but still comes to Denver to support his girl at the Snow and Ice Games. Or so Bronwyn thinks.
Ash Levenson is the coach of the women’s SIG hockey team. His primary responsibility is to keep his team happy, healthy, and primed to win. Though he’s close in age to his players, he’s been doing this for a while and mostly, it’s easy to keep his eyes on the puck. He’s always been able to discard any crush he might have on any of the women he’s coached…until Bronwyn.
When Bronwyn and Brody’s romance comes to a very public and very ugly end, Ash has to get his star player’s head back in the game and ready to dominate on the rink. Which may mean spending a little time off the ice…
February 6, 2018
St. Martin’s Press
This started out really great. A story that builds on the the development of the characters is almost always going to win me over. The character build up for coach Ash Levenson is really solid. I felt like I had a good handle on who he was, where his feelings were coming from, and I really saw the affection he had for Bronwyn. The same could be said for Bronwyn, but not at the same level. With Bronwyn, I felt like I started to understand her, only to be infuriated by her decisions.
Bronwyn is a really strong female character, excellent hockey player, with a great personality… when she’s not second guessing herself or hanging around her boyfriend. The times where she’s strong are counterbalanced by the times she’s really not, and when she looses confidence in herself she becomes this other person all together. And honestly, to me, she read as really immature and childish at times. The more I read, the more I started to dislike her. It was like I had this instant affection towards her, only to have it turn around rapidly.
And speaking of her boyfriend… for someone who comes off as strong willed, sure of herself in almost all things, and a fierce competitor, I could not figure out why she put up with so much shit from that dude. Yes, they’d been together for a really long time, since both were really young, but how she was able to be so independent and amazing in every other aspect of her life, and then let him walk all over her, belittle her, and treat her like shit was beyond me. This made it even harder for me to connect with her.
The times when I really disliked Bronwyn were when she’d talk about how Ash was not her type, not the greatest looking guy, yet something made her want to “board that train”. When Bronwyn and Ash do get intimate, it really felt like he was using him. And in reality, she was at first. She had no idea of his true feelings, and that’s not her fault, but the way she comes off in her POV really rubbed the wrong way. The way things start between these two didn’t sit well with me.
BUT! All of that was this back of my mind, simmering dislike for some things. For the rest of it, I found the story good. I liked the way Ash is so passionate about the way he coaches, how the women on the team play, that he is a positive coach for them, and his dedication to them. I wished there was more hockey in the book because those couple of times we get them on the ice were really fun. And while Bronwyn ends one long lasting relationship and dives head first into another the very next day without even realizing it, finding love after only a couple of weeks, I appreciated that Ash had this long budding crush on her. It helps the insta-insta love aspect of their story go down easier.
All in all I suppose this was not my favorite of the series, at least I don’t think, but it’s not my least favorite either.