Back Check (Aces Hockey series)- Kelly Jamieson
Loveswept/Penguin Random House
Release Date: January 10, 2017
Warning: Potential Spoilers!
Rating (out of 5):
Synopsis: Tanner Bennet hates weddings. They just remind him that he simply isn’t cut out for any kind of healthy, committed relationship—never has been, never will be. After getting rejected by the girl he thought was “the one” all those years ago, he made a huge mistake and married the wrong person. Now that the divorced heartbreaker has reluctantly agreed to be a groomsman for one of his NHL teammates, the last thing he expects is a chance at redemption with the one that got away.
After Marc Dupuis of the Chicago Aces hires wedding planner Katelyn Medford, she discovers that her big break comes with a twist: a reunion with her college sweetheart. The way she dumped Tanner still haunts her. Eight years—and three broken engagements—later, Katelyn knows she’ll never have that kind of innocent, wide-eyed passion again. Still, she and Tanner soon generate enough body heat to burn up the sheets. And even with Tanner’s career with the Aces up in the air, Katelyn’s wondering whether the time is right to let him in for real.
I'm not usually big into second chance romances, but Back Check may have just converted me. Tanner Bennet and Katelyn Medford fell in love in college but separated when he signed with the NHL and she stayed to finish college and (unbeknownst to Tanner) care for her ill father. Years later they are both still hurting over the breakup and it has affected all future romantic relationships. Now in Chicago they have a surprise reunion as Katelyn is hired to plan an Aces teammate's wedding. She's starting her own business, he's in contract negotiations that could send him to another team. Both have unresolved issues. Can they start over or will they end up making the same mistakes the second time around?
Kelly Jamieson mixes sweet and sexy, fun and serious, romance and friendship in another great book with Body Check. I liked that, when they looked back with adult hindsight, what Tanner and Katelyn realized was that a lot of their problems the first time around were that they were too young and still finding themselves. When faced with major decisions like staying home or going with Tanner to New York Katelyn may have made the right call by staying, but realizes that she might not have handled thing as well as she could. Tanner might resent her choices, but can't argue with them when he understands everything. Katelyn was determined not to burden him or slow him down as he began his career. Tanner was too quick to see Katelyn staying behind as rejection. A family history of divorces, rejections, and being ignored gave Tanner a complex that he doesn't realize he has- until he faces losing Katelyn a second time. I really liked that Jamieson gave us an emotionally vulnerable hero in Tanner- someone who seems to play through life and worry about nothing, but who has been shaped by his past to worry about everything and expect no one to stay in his life. Spoiler alert: the apology his teammates help him send to Katelyn at the end is both a tearjerker and hilarious- and should probably be sent to all boyfriends to take notes on for any apologies they may have to make in the future.
Katelyn and Tanner are well written, complicated characters and completely relatable to the reader. Once again, Jamieson shines with a couple that have chemistry that will set the pages on fire and perfectly balances that with two people learning to balance emotions and life together outside of the bedroom as well. A great team of supporting characters from the Aces and their ladies that you don't need to have read previous books in the series to enjoy also fill in the wonderful 'real life' sense. And Jamieson's love of hockey is evident throughout- to the great delight of this hockey fan.
Back Check performs a hat trick of hockey, romance and friendship for a winning book.
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.