I read this as part of the Red Hot Lovers Boxed Set. I thought it was fun that this is an Olympic year and the story features an Olympic trials hopeful in snowboarding. This story tugged at me in two directions for over half of it and then about the last third, I finally settled in to truly enjoy it. It was one hot rush just like the title claims.
The book is the third book in the Boys of Winter series. It was the only one I’ve read from the series and easily worked as a standalone though I’m pretty sure a few of the surrounding characters were the main people in the earlier books.
Another thing to note about this book/series was that each of the books and the series have been renamed and re-released as the Snow Kissed Love series and this book as Rush for Love. I’ve chosen to review it under the old title and series because I’m pretty sure that’s the edition that was used in the Red Hot Lovers boxed set based on the release dates, but also I’m not sure if the newer one might have new edits that weren’t present in this one.
As to the story, it begins when Olympic hopeful, Gretchen Nickelson is on her way back to Colorado after visiting her folks. She had dropped out of school between her Bachelor’s and Master’s in Physical Therapy to make a run at an Olympic spot in snowboarding. She has the impression that her family disapproves of her so insists on going it all alone, thus the cruddy car and the extra jobs around the resort town of Breckenridge, CO while she trains.
Just as her flight nears Denver, her seat partner dies and as a result, Gretchen encounters the intense and overwhelming Derrick Hamilton for the first time. Gretchen is a confident, take-charge gal when it comes to men. They are merely there for her to use for mutual sex partners. She likes it rough and hard, but nothing that veers toward a relationship or she bounces. But for the first time in her life, she has met her match. Derrick’s mere look can make her go weak and unsure. He’s nothing like her usual tatted up, scruffy bad boy types in his clean cut studying medicine- ski patrol good looks. Derrick’s gorgeous model, warm-hearted twin sister is also an unexpected encounter.
Between the two Hamiltons, Gretch is off balance and can’t find center. She goes about her work at the country club bar and the sports center while preparing for the Olympics and getting with her circle of friends, but now she has the smoldering, hot, and controlling Derrick driving her libido and brain insane and his sister becoming one of Gretchen’s circle. For the first time, Gretchen faces the terrifying prospect of a relationship. Will she run or learn what it is like for herself?
Alright, so this one is about a bold, sexually confident woman who is a strong commitophobe. This was not a deep story and unapologetically is strongly erotic. It races into things and then backs off to develop. The first half of the book was unsettling because I struggled to ‘get’ the heroine and I really didn’t care for the way some of the sexy stuff was described (and mostly how often). The sexy stuff is a huge component and it’s not until well into the second half of the book that significant development starts to happen. I found the last half well worth slogging through the horny college kid stuff in the beginning. To each their own and this obviously over-balanced into too much for me.
As to characters, this is Gretchen’s story. She is the sole narrator in first person voice. She was an interesting heroine for me because of her personality. As a snowboard competitor and a tomboy, much of her personality and spirit made sense. Gretchen is athletic, but she also has to work hard for her achievements. She’s also got other facets to her character that kept me intrigued and confused. She is part of a posse of girl and guy friends. They know her well and she is open and trusting with them. But her strong aversion to relationships and opening up to a guy when she’s into him confused and distracted me. Why was she like this? There was never an explanation for it and it wasn’t family issues or being burned in the past. All I can figure is that until Derrick came along, she hadn’t understood love and relationships even though they were all around her. She played a game until it was no longer a game.
And speaking of the game, this book was hot in a sloppy ewww sort of way. Gretchen spent most of the book ‘wet’, ‘core clenching or quivering’ or sniffing at Derrick and other guys’ scent- lots of talk of pheromones and people attracted by scent. The way she scented her gal-pal roommate liking her sweaty scent really amped up the ick factor on this one for me. My imagination didn’t conjure up sexy at the mention of sweat and people odor so I was squirming, but not in a good way.
Beyond that, the romance was hot and wild. They jumped each other quickly and went at it with bold abandon. There was no hem-hawing or playing coy for this pair. Knew what they want and boldly grabbed it. Whew, yeah, scorching hot as only two New Adults can go at it. And there was an element in this one that played with the BDSM Dominant/submissive, but never quite vested in it totally when it came to Derrick and Gretchen. They both like it rough, but he is in control and likes to restrain her. She starts out needing control, but discovers she likes handing it over to him in the bedroom. So yeah, interesting stuff going on there with this pair.
Beyond those hang-ups, I enjoyed the setting, the circle of friends, and I really liked that the author didn’t stint on sharing Gretchen participate in training routines for her sport. Gretchen was an athlete in training and it felt pretty authentic. Lots of good snowboard work once winter hit and the sponsor photoshoot was interesting. While I never understood why Gretchen had her issues, I did come to enjoy the process of her growing so that she was able to work through her fear and reach for what she really wanted. I liked seeing that while Gretchen is the main character, Derrick’s backstory and situation were detailed in and he also grew and learned how to be in a relationship.
All in all, this was one hot rush. I liked it, but wasn’t entirely into it. Those who enjoy scorching New Adult Contemporary Romance might want to check out this series.
My thanks to the authors for the opportunity to read the set of stories in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #223 NA
Mt. TBR #89
Blogger Shame #30
New to Me #94 author/series
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