Author: Lynda Aicher
Rating: 4.5 stars
Buy Links: Carina Press and Amazon
Type: Novel in series
Received from Publisher
Blurb: For Minnesota Glaciers captain Scott Walters, skating on a bum knee—and self-medicating to keep skating on it—is all part of the game. That the painkillers he’s eating prevent him from having meaningful relationships is just one more sacrifice in a lifetime of them. He’s worked too hard to let his image be ruined by injury or dependency, so he hides the pain and fakes the rest—a girlfriend would only complicate matters.
High school teacher Rachel Fielding never needed a man in her life, but she also never intended to grow old alone. When she meets Scott while visiting her brother, she’s intrigued to find herself wanting him in her bed. For hours at a time, as often as possible. Scott is a giver, and just the memory of his attentions is enough to drive her crazy. Anything long-term is out of the question, though—the pills she finds in Scott’s house indicate he’s struggling with a lot more than growing older in a young man’s game.
When what starts out as a what-the-hell weeklong fling turns into Scott and Rachel exploring each other outside the bedroom, Rachel hesitates. But Scott asks for her support to break his addiction, and hearing him admit his secrets has her ignoring her own rules—until he breaks her heart. With the Glaciers refusing to renew his contract and his future with Rachel uncertain, Scott has some big decisions to make and a lot to prove—especially to himself.
Lynda Aicher’s first book in this series, Game Play
, was a great introduction with the story about Dylan and Sam, two young hockey players at opposite ends of their playing careers (my review
). This story was different, with hockey player Scott Walters reaching the end of his long career–and school teacher Rachel Fielding showing up just in the nick of time to bring him his happily ever after. It was a very different type of love and LIFE story…but just as compelling in the hands of Ms. Aicher. And I enjoyed it just as much, if not more, since I’m on the downside of my “hockey” career as well ::cough::
Scott has been playing professional hockey for fifteen years–since he was drafted at nineteen. His thirty-four year old body has weathered a lot of injuries over the years–especially his knee. It’s never recovered from the four surgeries he’s undergone to try to fix it. Unfortunately, he’s become addicted to painkillers but refuses to admit it. He can’t escape the fact that he’s been unable to successfully perform sexually for two years because of the drugs, however. So he’s just stopped trying to have sex because it makes it even worse when it doesn’t happen and he has to pretend to orgasm. So all he has is hockey and pain–but now his contract is up and the management of the Glaciers hasn’t renewed it. WTF?
Rachel loves teaching, and she’s completely absorbed with her job and her life in Atlanta. Growing up, her military father always made all the decisions for the family and the rest of them had to follow his lead like ducklings–making her determined to be the one in charge of her future. If she met “the one” and got involved, she certainly intended for them to share all major decisions. So far, she hadn’t met the person she thought could fill that role. Crashing a wedding with her brother and his partner, she found herself exchanging glances with a handsome man in a tux. When he asked her for a dance, she couldn’t resist. After a soft kiss followed, numbers were exchanged, but she certainly didn’t think anything would follow. She was visiting Minneapolis for two weeks to see her brother, so she was supposed to be spending her time with him anyway.
When Scott finds out why the Glaciers aren’t renewing his contract, he’s destroyed. Distraction comes in the very fine form of Rachel–whom he calls immediately. They jump into a weeklong fling that culminates in his confiding in her about his drug addiction. His image is really the only thing he feels like he has left, and he’s placed it in her hands. Rachel immediately jumps into caretaker mode, realizing that this hot alpha athlete is in need of her help and is depending on her. They are both feeling intensely, and as they go through his subsequent treatment and recovery, things go both as planned AND as you’d expect. Neither of these people are young and malleable–they’re both older and opinionated–they’ve formed their personalities and have built themselves to be what they are by stubborn stick-to-it-ness. It’s going to take more than a 6-week course of rehab to fix the future when someone’s head and heart is still stuck in the past.
And I don’t just mean Scott’s.
Relationships are work, people. And the fact that I was arguing in my head about who was right and who needed to give a little–about imaginary people?–proved just how realistic this book got for me. Totally loveable people, smoking hot love scenes, stubborn ass alpha males, and a great plot line about people you’ll grow to love. The second in the series but I don’t really feel like you need to have read the first to enjoy it at all. Thanks, Lynda–hurry up with #3!