Cross Check (Bayard Hockey: Book 2) by Kelly Jamieson

Cross Check (Bayard Hockey, #2)

Title: Cross Check

Author: Kelly Jamieson

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept, Loveswept

Date of publication: July 25th, 2017

Genre: Romance

Number of pages: 252

POV: Alternating 1st person

Series: Bayard Hockey

Shut Out – Book 1

Cross Check – Book 2

Where you can find Cross Check: Barnes and Noble | Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

A party girl and a clean-cut college hockey player discover that they’re not so different in this sexy, soulful Bayard Hockey novel from the bestselling author of Shut Out and the Heller Brothers series.

Ella Verran has three goals this semester: get off academic probation, repair her relationship with her friend Skylar, and take some responsibility for her life. All of which are hard enough without hot, snobby hockey player Ben Buckingham around to distract her. Ella can’t stand Ben, and she knows the feeling is mutual. But he’s best friends with Skylar’s boyfriend, so he’s always around—taunting and tempting Ella in ways she never thought possible.

As the star forward of the Bayard College hockey team, Ben has goals too, like playing well enough to land a spot on an NHL roster. Ben is perfectly poised on the ice, so why can’t he keep his cool around Ella? Her wild behavior rubs him in all the wrong ways—and a few of the right ones. But as they skate around each other, Ben learns that there’s more to Ella than her bad reputation. And when the line between love and hate starts to blur, he can’t resist crossing over and sweeping her off her feet.

Trigger Warning: Suicide, Rape

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Hot Shot (Last Shot: Book 2) by Kelly Jamieson

Hot Shot (Last Shot, #2)

Title: Hot Shot

Author: Kelly Jamieson

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept

Date of publication: May 16th, 2017

Genre: Romance

Number of pages: 235

POV: 3rd person

Series: Last Shot

Body Shot – Book 1

Hot Shot – Book 2

Where you can find Hot Shot: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

A former Navy SEAL and current bad boy bar owner learns to trust a free spirit in this steamy novel of unexpected romance from the bestselling author of Body Shot and the Heller Brothers series.

Marco Solis knows that if he gets too close to people they disappear. His parents were deported back to Mexico when he was fourteen, his fiancée married someone else while he was in the military, and now his business partner’s spending more time with his girl than with Marco. For better or worse, that’s how Marco meets Carrie Garner. She’s legitimately model-hot. She’s also a nut—a wild, artsy, unapproachable nut. So why is Marco so interested in cracking her shell?

Although Carrie Garner is a natural in front of the camera, her dream is to make it as a photographer. Soon she’ll be heading to Spain for design school, and she’ll miss her best friend, Hayden, like crazy. She’ll even miss Hayden’s boyfriend, Beck—but she won’t miss Beck’s partner, Marco. Bossy, brooding, and annoyingly sexy, Marco really pushes her buttons, though he obviously wouldn’t mind pushing her buttons in an up-against-the-wall, hard-and-fast kind of way. The craziest part is if Carrie lets him do that, well . . . she may never want to leave.

My review:

Hot Shot is the dreaded 2nd book in the Last Shot series. If you have followed my blog for any length of time, you know my feelings about starting off reading 2nd books in a series and how I keep punishing myself by not looking the title up on Goodreads or Amazon before I ask for it from NetGalley. It is not often that I get the 2nd book in a series that actually could be read as a stand alone. Fortunately for Hot Shot, it can be read separately. Which I wasn’t expecting with how heavily the main characters from Body Shot are involved in Hot Shot. 

Marco was such a complex character and yes, I used the word complex in a romance novel. He had some deep-seated issues that I didn’t expect a former SEAL to have. The biggest one is his fear of abandonment, which stemmed from his parents being deported back to Mexico when he was 14, him losing track of his younger sister while being bounced from foster home to foster home and then his fiancé deciding to cheat on him while he was on deployment. So, it was understandable that he was uptight and didn’t trust people outside of his SEAL brothers.

He was also probably the single sexiest character that I have read to date. I seriously wish that I could make him jump off the book pages into my life, that’s how much I loved this character. He was funny (the one liners were hilarious and “Occupying Vagistan” stands out the most even though he didn’t say it), brutally honest about what he wants from Carrie and omg, he talked dirty during sex. Like legit dirty talk, use your imagination…trying to keep this review Amazon PC….lol. Besides that, he was also kind and very fair… the book to find out what I mean. So, the perfect man.

In a way, Carrie was just as complex as Marco. Her issues, though, were more that she didn’t feel that she fit into her family. Her brothers and sister were all businesspeople/lawyers, as was her parents. I actually didn’t like Carrie’s mother or sister, at all. The way they talked to Carrie’s grandmother, a free-spirited ex-burlesque dancer, made me fume while reading those scenes. No wonder Carrie felt the way she did about her modeling career and her budding photography career. Ugh, made me so mad.

Out of all the characters in all the books I have read, I think I related to Carrie the most. I loved that the author wrote her as this slightly raunchy girl who wasn’t afraid to go after her dreams…even if it meant leaving loved ones behind. I think, if she was real, I could be BFF’s with her (move out-of-the-way, Hayden…

Let’s talk about the sex scenes. Oh. My. God. They were beyond hot and I loved that Marco was a dirty talker. But even more, I loved that Carrie wasn’t the type of girl who just laid there and let the guy do all the work. Which made those part of the books burn.

The storyline with Carrie’s niece was pretty sad, not that I think about it and again, my dislike for her sister grew. But, I loved what came out of it and how it was resolved.

I will say that the end of the book had me in tears. I think I ugly cried from Hayden and Beck’s wedding to the epilogue. Oh and by the way, I thought the epilogue was probably the best part of the book. I am looking forward to seeing what Cade’s book is going to be like. Seeing that he is a manwhore, I can’t wait to read his story (the girls showing up at the bar was hilarious…btw).

How many stars will I give Hot Shot: 4

Why: Oh where do I start. This book was funny, sad and sensual….all rolled up into a wonderfully written story. What I wrote in my review doesn’t even begin to explain the book so it would be better if you all just read it instead. The only reason why I didn’t give it five stars is because of Carrie’s family. I couldn’t stand them.

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Adult

Why: Explicit sex, explicit language. No violence

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**

Dancing in the Rain by Kelly Jamieson

Dancing in the Rain

Title: Dancing in the Rain

Author: Kelly Jamieson

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept

Date of publication: April 11th, 2017

Genre: Romance

Number of pages: 311

POV: 3rd person

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

A retired athlete meets the daughter he never knew—along with the woman who reignites his passions—in this powerful standalone romance from the bestselling author of Hot Shot and the Heller Brothers series.

Drew Sellers is drowning in broken dreams and empty beer bottles. Hockey was his world until a bum knee reduced him from superstar to has-been. Then he learns that thanks to a one-night-stand back in college, he’s the father of a preteen girl with major issues. Her protective aunt sees right through Drew’s BS, but “Auntie P” is no stereotypical spinster. With her slender curves, toned legs, and luscious lips, she has Drew indulging in fantasies that aren’t exactly family-friendly.

At another point in her life, Peyton Watt would have been all over a cocky alpha male who pushes all her buttons like Drew. Right now, though, she needs to focus on taking care of her niece during her sister’s health crisis, all while holding down a job and keeping her own head above water. Besides, Drew’s clearly no father of the year. He’s unemployed. He drinks too much. And he’s living in the past. But after Peyton gets a glimpse of the genuine man behind his tough-guy façade, she’s hooked—and there’s no going back

My review:

I don’t know what it is with the books I have read lately. They have all been surprise tear jerkers. I think I was blindsided because the Dancing in the Rain’s blurb didn’t show much information. I am not complaining and was very pleasantly surprised when I was brought to tears a few times during the book.

I thought the romance aspect of the book was fantastic. Sure there was mind blowing sex (we will get to that a little later in the review) but I loved that Drew and Peyton actually built a relationship, of sorts, before they had sex. It was very refreshing to read because the relationship was established and the sexual chemistry was built up way before they bumped uglies. What I didn’t like was that they thought that they had to hide their relationship from Chloe and I could see where that hurt their relationship. Also, they didn’t communicate and both jumped to conclusions about the other person. I actually cringed during those parts because I am guilty of doing the same things in my relationship (don’t let BK ever read that…lol). But it added to their romance, if that makes sense, and made it seem more real to me.

Drew was such a complicated character and I loved it. I really enjoyed that the author started him off with so many flaws. He drank too much and was wallowing in self-pity. The self-pity part I totally got. Any normal person would do that after being told that they couldn’t do what they loved ever again. Plus, his personal life kinda fell apart after his injury too. I mean, he found out that his ex-wife was cheating on him with his ex-best friend. What a blow to someone’s self-confidence. But the drinking part, I didn’t like and I agreed with Peyton when she made the assessment that he was on his way to becoming an alcoholic.  As much as I didn’t like it, though, again, it was part of what made this book really good and it humanized Drew. His reaction to having a tween daughter was great. Instead of jumping on the bandwagon when Sarah told him, he did the right thing and got a paternity test done. Which made me go “Hallelujah, Praise the Lord”. Why? Because I have read so many books where the hero is told that the kid is his and goes “Ok” with no questions ask. So when it was revealed that he had a paternity test done, I got up and did the happy dance.

Peyton kinda rubbed me the wrong way during certain scenes but I could totally get that she was stressing over losing her sister, having to raise her niece and she is falling in love with Drew…who is Chloe’s father. I would have probably acted the same way. But, she was a very strong woman who dealt with life’s blows with grace. She dropped everything to go be with Sarah when it was becoming pretty clear that she didn’t have long to live (and for the record, Peyton’s boss was a jerk). Then she had to mediate visitations with Drew until she felt that he would be ok to be left alone with Chloe. Plus, she was caretaking for Sarah until it was time to go to hospice. It was a lot.

I liked that the author chose to deal with tween/teen issues in a realistic way. Like when Chloe was asked to leave school because what she was wearing violated the dress code. The way that Drew handled it was a dream and for the record, I agree with him. If a girl is asked to leave because what they are wearing calls a boy to comment on their body, it wasn’t right. The boy should be called out on why he thinks it is ok to make comments like that to a girl. Like I said above, the way Drew handled that situation was perfect. Also what I liked was when Chloe was caught shoplifting. While it was on video, the other girl’s mother refused to look at it, has the mentality that her special snowflake would never do something like that and leaves. I could go on a rant about parents like that, but I won’t. I do think that the way that Drew and Peyton handled it was perfect.

When they finally had sex, it was off the pages hot and every time after that was scorching. Like I said above, what made it even hotter for me is that they had a relationship before hand. Something about feeling and sex gets me in the feels.

The end of the book was what I thought it was going to be and the decisions that were made were what I thought were going to be made. The epilogue was perfect!! I love it when the HEA is perfect for the book!!

How many stars will I give Dancing in the Rain: 4

Why: If you want to read a book that will get you in the feels, pick this book up. Seriously. It was well-developed characters, deals with heart-wrenching and real life issues in ways that you can only hope people in real life would and the sex scenes were through the roof hot. I will definitely be reading this book again!!!

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Adult

Why: Sex and some mild language. Also some triggers for cancer, hospice, and death.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**