Review: On the Surface by Kate Willoughby

Posted April 24, 2014 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 4 Comments

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I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: On the Surface by Kate Willoughby
On the Surface

One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Series: #1 In the Zone
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Sports Romance
Published by Carina Press
Released on April 14, 2014
Pages: 272
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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My first hockey themed contemporary romance and I loved it. Shhh, don’t tell my hubby or he’ll rub it in because his efforts to educate me in this sport have been only moderately successful at this point. I enjoyed the detail given to the sport and the camaraderie amongst the players who were friends, but I also enjoyed the character and romantic development too.

The story opens when Tim Hollander first comes to San Diego as a new veteran player for the local NHL team. He has a lot to prove between a poor previous season and a PR fiasco. His friends, Alex and Jason, are both on board with working hard and playing their best season ever. Shortly before the preseason he finds himself once again the focus of the news media for losing his temper with a fan. He is left relying on that cute, attractive nurse who was there at his signing booth to stand beside him and set everyone straight. That should have been the extent of it, but Tim doesn’t want to part ways and he can’t get enough of Nurse Erin even if she has yet to see his good side between the fight and then later when he spends the night getting sick.

Erin Collier loves her job in pediatrics and it doesn’t hurt that she is crushing bad on one of the doctors. Dr. O doesn’t seem to know she exists so she decides to up her game to gain his attention and one quick trip for a lunch run gives her an idea. Dr. O loves hockey and there is a signing going on at the burger place so she’ll just get one of those player’s signatures and make Dr. O really sit up and take notice. Instead of an autograph, Erin walks away with the whole hockey player. She does her duty by defending him to the press when a jerk fan tried to hurt Erin and then she feels sorry for him when he gets violently ill. When he seems better, she plans to step graciously back out of Tim’s life, but instead she nods okay to breakfast, lunch, a day at the beach, invitation to come see him play. Erin feels like its all one big dream and soon reality will come crashing in. She wants to put the brakes on and Tim’s hitting the gas pedal. Does she take a chance on all this?

Sometimes I can be such a reading coward. I think I’ve been burned lately by a few drama llamas and over the top angst-filled plots so that when I got into this book and saw where it was developing, I braced myself for the impatience, irritation and dissatisfaction to follow. But… all the stuff I dreaded didn’t happen. Of course there were some barriers and conflicts to get past and of course the characters had flaws that affected their relationship, but when the heat of the moment was over, they handled their biz like adults. I was left in awe a few times. Soooo refreshing! It was amazing to read a story where the issues were allowed to just wax and wane naturally without overdoing it. The characters exchanged turns telling the story and their relationship developed quick in ways, but the deeper portion took some time. Passion was there and it was hot between them.

What a great series opener that introduced future main book characters for me to look forward while giving a strong and engaging romance set against a sports backdrop. Lovers of sports romance should really give this book a try.

My thanks to Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.


Rating:  4.5 Stars

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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7 years ago

So glad you loved this one — Kame, my guest reviewer, did as well, giving it a solid 5 Stars! 🙂 I’ll have to put it on my list.



Sophia Rose
7 years ago
Reply to  The_Book_Queen

Maybe it just came at the right time or something, but I did really enjoy it. Hope it works for you when its your turn.

Anna@herding cats&burning soup

Ooo love hockey romances. I got hooked on them with Rachel Gibson. Will have to give this one a go 🙂

Sophia Rose
7 years ago

Now that I’ve read this one, I will definitely be on the hunt for others. I plan on reading the next book in this series b/c I loved the other guys who were the secondary characters.