Monday, April 11, 2016

Icing- Kelly Jamieson

Icing (Aces Hockey Series #3- Kelly Jamieson
Random House LLC
Release Date: April 19, 2016

Synopsis: Duncan Armstrong may be an NHL star, but he’s a country boy at heart. His ultimate fantasy is going home with the Stanley Cup, not a gold-digging airhead who aspires to be a trophy wife and nothing more. Newly single and hoping to enjoy a night out with his teammates, he ends up hitting it off with a down-to-earth waitress who’s a complete breath of fresh air—until Duncan learns that she’s a part-time model. He tries to forget about her, but their sizzling chemistry has him coming back for more.
Amber is working hard to put herself through school, and has zero interest in dating a professional athlete. She’s seen firsthand how fame and fortune can mess with their heads—her father’s brilliant football career ended in a firestorm of addiction and infidelity. So Duncan’s attentions immediately have her on the defensive. Still, there’s something different about him. And once she stops trying to freeze him out, irresistible temptation turns into all-consuming passion.

Icing isn't just something to do with a puck anymore. Kelly Jamieson's Icing is a fast-paced and ice-melting romance that forces two people to confront their own prejudices and past baggage if they want to have their happily ever after.  Duncan Armstrong has been a professional hockey player for years and still manages to retain a Wisconsin farm boy laid back approach to life.  He loves hockey and his team, enjoys summers off fishing at his cabin and helping with multiple youth hockey organizations, dates shallow puck bunnies and can't seem to figure out why he's unhappy in the relationships.  After dumping his latest girlfriend, a professional model, he decides to take some time off from dating and try to figure out why the relationships never work. That lasts for a couple of hours- just until he meets Amber, the new waitress at his regular hangout.  She refuses to have anything to do with a professional athlete and as soon as he finds out that her other job is being a model he thinks he should forget about her.  Fortunately for the characters and the reader the chemistry between them is hot enough to melt the ice and they end up in a relationship despite themselves.

Amber had her life turned upside down by her professional football player father who did drugs, alcohol, and just about everything else he could before winding up bankrupt, divorced, and in jail.  She watched her mother fall apart afterwards and has no intention of becoming like her mom.  She prizes her independence and is willing to work multiple jobs to pay for college and still send money home to her clueless mother.  Obviously she has some rather understandable emotional baggage and starts off by painting Duncan with the same brush as she sees all professional athletes- just like her father.

There were times when I wanted to hit these two with a hockey stick over their inability to get over past hurts and see that what they had with each other was special and worth the effort.  Neither was willing to see their issues and work on them even after getting it pointed out multiple times. Both made plenty of mistakes in the process. But the lightbulbs (or goal lights in this case) do finally go off in time.  I thought is was really sweet that Duncan was so unsure of himself with women- very different from the usual male athlete character.  And easy to forget, or cover up, which made some of Amber's mistakes pretty normal.  Who expects a hockey player with women throwing themselves at him to need to be reassured that he's a great guy? Duncan's mistakes were more annoying- he kept on making the same mistake and expecting a different reaction, then making an even bigger mistake way after he should have known better. But that's real life- people mess up relationships. It's the lucky and smart ones who figure out when it's worth fixing them.

This was a great read: fast-paced, funny, and sexy. There's a, especially great scene where Amber and her roommate decide to try watching a hockey game when neither of them knows a thing about the game- with some hysterical reactions to announcer commentary.  Watching the characters come together and support each other when things get tough was great and the secondary characters are as well written as the main ones- you'll definitely want to read Jamieson's other books in the series after this!

If you like scorching-hot hockey players, Kindle melting chemistry, sweet and relatable characters, and a lovely story with heat and heart, Icing is for you!  

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley for an honest review.

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