Title: Hard Stick
Author: L.P. Dover
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept
Date of publication: June 13th, 2017
Genre: Suspense, Romance
Number of pages: Unknown
POV: Alternating 1st person
Hard Stick – Book 1
Blocked – Book 2 (expected publication date: October 31st, 2017)
Where you can find Hard Stick: Amazon
Book synopsis (from Goodreads):
He carries a big stick. And he’s not afraid to use it.
On the ice, I’m Kellan Carter, powerhouse enforcer for the Charlotte Strikers. Off the ice, I’m just a regular guy. The last thing I want is to get mobbed by a bunch of groupies who are only after me for my fame and money. My ideal woman knows how to enjoy a little good, clean fun—and maybe some not-so-clean fun too. That’s the kind of girl I’d never let go.
When Kristen Robinson, the gorgeous, down-to-earth bartender I’ve been crushing on, agrees to let me take her out, I’m thrilled. We have an amazing night together, culminating in the most electrifying kiss of my life—and that’s it. Kristen tells me we can’t see each other again, but I know that kiss meant as much to her as it did to me. What I don’t know is that Kristen has a dangerous secret. . . .
I’ve proved to Kristen that she can trust me with her body and her heart. But when her past comes back to haunt her, I need to prove that she can trust me with her life. And I might have to get my hands dirty after all.
I had to sit back for a few minutes after reading this book because it totally is not what I expected. From the cover (which I am definitely not complaining about, I love abs) and the blurb, I thought it was going to be a light romance centered around hockey. And you know what, I was going to be OK with that because I have read and reviewing some pretty heavy books lately. Instead, I read a book that took me in the other direction. Now, I am not complaining about it (see my rating at the end of the review) but man, I wish that there was more of a hint in the blurb. Because this book is so much more than a hockey romance. I am going to add suspense and intrigue to my tags and to the genre group above.
I felt awful for Kristen. She had a boyfriend who was obsessed with her. He had people watching her and if her best friend, Cole, would come over….he would show up. She was crippled with fear until the night where she decided, with Cole’s help, that she was leaving. And then the unthinkable happened. The boyfriend ran Cole off the road when he was on his motorcycle….killing him. That’s when she disappeared and the FBI, who was aware of her boyfriend but couldn’t pin anything on him, put her in the witness protection program and then faked her death so she could be free….once and for all. Now, if that had happened to me, I would have issues with men and trust. Which she did but still.
I liked Kellan. He was just an ordinary guy. Well, ordinary if you consider that he was the captain of the Charlotte Strikers and was a buff, bad ass with a temper. What I liked was that he was 100% believable as the hero of this story. He was an ordinary guy who got the girl, learned her secrets and vowed to protect her. He was so alpha male, it wasn’t even funny and I loved it. I also liked that his issues were more true to life than the other books that I have read. His mother and himself had bad blood and guess what, she deserved his hate. Normally, you wouldn’t hear me say that but that woman was unbelievable. She did come through for him, though, when it counted and I guess that matters (still don’t like her).
The romance part of this book was off the chart. The chemistry between Kristin and Kellan was burning hot and when they did have sex, it burned a hole in my Kindle. Just kidding, but if it had been real, there would have been smoke coming off the sheets. When the romance turned to love (no Instalove here, it took a month or so), poor Kristin fought it so hard. Kellan didn’t and I liked that. He was one with his feelings but Kristin, understandable, wasn’t.
I also couldn’t get enough of the storyline with Kristin’s ex. He had to have been the slimiest, disgusting character that I have ever read. I will admit that I did guess about his connection to Kellan. I actually guessed it pretty early in the book, when they started dating. But it didn’t take away from the book. I will also say that he, the ex, got what was coming to him and I cheered when everything went down.
I loved the ending and yes, I ugly cried through it.
I can’t wait until I read Blocked (I just got the e-ARC from NetGalley). It is going to be Dallas’s story and I hope that it is as good as Kellan’s.
My questions for the next book:
Will Dallas get a girlfriend?
Will we see more of Kellan and Kristin?
What about the skating rink, will there be more scenes there?
How many stars will I give Hard Stick: 4
Why: Great storyline and great characters. I was a bit surprised that this was more romantic suspense than romantic sports but it did not take away from how good the book was
Will I reread: Yes
Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes
Age range: Adult
Why: Sex, violence, and language
**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**