Genres: New Adult Romance, Sports Romance
Released on September 1, 2015
Three things: hockey player hero, heroine still needing to heal from her past, and home town setting all from a home town author. Okay that’s four things, but who’s counting because it was also new to me author and series. Had to read it!
It’s New Adult (NA) and it checks off most of the hallmarks of NA including first person POV, angsty and horny characters with broken pasts, drinking enough for alcohol poisoning, night clubs, besties, college, and of course the BIG misunderstanding. Normally this makes me cringe and run and I admit to having one toe out the door, but the author reeled me in with something in her writing. I kept reading and was oh so glad I did. I ended up really cheering for the heroine to get her mess together and adoring the hero who made this book for me.
Aleksandr is a minor league hockey player who needs a Russian Translator now that people are noticing his superb playing. He comes across as arrogant, cocky, and a real jerk the first few times Auden encounters him. He takes one look at Auden and wants her and wants to be with her, but he bungles it. He then sets out to change her mind and get her to give him a chance even while he is working hard to make it to the NHL.
Auden’s grandfather got her the temp job of translating for Aleksandr to help make up for the loss of her soccer scholarship. She plans to keep Aleksandr at arms’ length and keep it professional. Not that this is much different than the way she treats most people. Auden either does the leaving or she never lets people get close with the exception of a few childhood friends that way she can never feel abandoned again. But the true man behind the front that is Aleksandr opens up to her and shows her a guy that understands as no one else does and he wants a chance with her. She should resist and she does, but he sticks with it and wears away at her emotional walls.
Aleksandr and Auden were a good pair and, for a debut story, I thought the author did a bang up job making them and their romance really work. The New Adult (NA) quirks were a tough sell for me particularly with Auden the Maudlin telling the story.
At first, I wasn’t very patient with her anger that she held onto from childhood that made her lash out at her grandparents and have a short fuse with Aleksandr. However, the author gave her other traits that endeared her to me enough to wait until Auden got her epiphany and straightened out. I should say that she had a very real and sad reason for being messed up so I definitely felt badly for her even though I wanted her to move on and not dwell in the past. Her dad took off before she was born and her mom died when she was a child leaving her with grandparents who were struggling with grief and not knowing how to deal with a young child’s grief.
The shining spot in all this was Aleksandr. And I’m not just talking about his hottie Hockey hardbody though there is that droolworthy fact, too. He had as much reason as Auden to act damaged and keep himself back from engaging with folks and mistrusting ‘forever’ relationships, but he didn’t. He plunged into life with agosto. He courageously chose a woman that gave him no reason to think he would get through to her let alone get her to give him back what he generously gave of himself to her. He was a beautiful guy inside and out.
[quote]“Take yourself out of it, Audushka. I need to leave for my job, and yes, that means leaving you, but I’m not leaving because of you. You understand the difference, yes?”
Loc 2452 Aleksander from Delayed Penalty[/quote]
[quote]”What are you doing here?”
“You needed me. I came.”
It was that simple for him.
“When do you have to go back?” I couldn’t believe he’d hopped on a plane just to visit me…
I nodded…puddles that had been accumulating in the rims of my eyes spilled out.
“Please don’t do that.” He took my face in his hands, pushing my hair back, and wiping the skin under my eyes with his thumbs. “I thought you would be happy, Audushka.”
“I am…You didn’t have to come here. You’ve got more important things to think about.”
“When will you understand how much I love you?” He tilted my face until my eyes met his. “Nothing is more important than you.”
And just like that, Aleksandr Varenkov turned my world upside down again.
Loc 2886 Aleksandr and Auden of Delayed Penalty[/quote]
The romance is on the sweeter end because Auden is inexperienced and she needs Aleksandr to take things slow. Plus he’s really an old fashioned guy who holds doors, respects her grandparents, and treats Auden special. In fact, this one is refreshingly not one of those where they jump into bed practically the second they meet. The love scene is late in the story and it took into account that she was young and a virgin. She wasn’t ignorant, but there was just enough lack of knowledge to make it authentic. I had to chuckle when she started drinking the night she had decided to give herself to Aleksandr. I get that she felt she needed liquid courage, but we all know what a few G&Ts and some vodka shots in just a little time will get you and it isn’t the best night of your life. Ha!
The themes of abandonment, child grief and anger, adoption, self-esteem, trust, and learning to accept and express love are all there in this story. It had depth and heart as a result of Auden’s personal journey of healing.
[quote]”I don’t know how to fix things, KK. I just know how to run away.”
Loc 3384 Auden from Delayed Penalty[/quote]
As to the sports’ aspect, it’s more of a backdrop for the story since the narration is all from Auden’s perspective and no actual ice time with Aleksandr. If you know squat about hockey, you would still do fine just as hockey fans will get a kick out of the references and setting.
Speaking of setting, I’ve called the Detroit Metro area home for the last few decades so I had an absolute blast seeing references to places, names, activities, and overall local flavor that were totally familiar. Detroit is known as Hockey Town and so to choose it for the setting of a Hockey romance made it feel like it was another well-developed character in the story.
So, all in all, I was glad I got to read this one and most definitely want to keep going with the series (Please let Landon be next). I hope to see more of Aleksandr and Auden. I would recommend this one for those who enjoy New Adult Contemporary romance with sports settings, slow to build slightly spicy yet sweet romance and characters who slowly heal and grow.
My thanks to Entangled Flirt for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #295 NA
Cliché Klatch #183 ‘It’s not always about you.’
New to Me #147 author/series
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