Series: Pucked #5
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Helena Hunting
Release Date: Feb 21, 2017
***A Standalone novel in The Pucked Series***
I’m NHL defenseman Lance Romero, AKA Lance “Romance.”
I’m notorious for parties and excess. I have the most penalty minutes in the league. I get into the most fights. I take the most hits. I’m a player on and off the ice. I’m the one women with no inhibitions want.
Not because I like the notoriety, but because I don’t know how to be any other way.
I have secrets. Ones I shared with the wrong person, and she used them against me. Sometimes she still does. I should cut ties. But she makes it difficult, because she’s the kind of bad I deserve.
At least that’s what I believed until someone from my past gets caught up in my present. She’s all the good things in this world. She lights up my dark.
I shouldn’t want her.
But I do.
I should leave her alone.
But I won’t.
For the first time in my entire life, I understand what it means to be with someone who will give and not just take.”
Full disclosure: This my first Helena Hunting book ever. And I know it’s already the 5th book in the series and all that but this was marketed as a standalone. Not only that, the blurb/summary for this book spoke to me. This is my kind of book.
Lance is an NHL defeseman known for his excesses and hotheadedness on and off the field. Despite being successful at hockey and surrounded by people everyday, Lance still feels lonely and isolated. It’s a theme throughout his life.
His pain and loneliness was exacerbated when he got into an ill-advised relationship with their team trainer. The relationship crashed and burned and it left Lance more broken than ever.
I kept hoping she’d decide I was enough. Stupid, huh?”
“It’s not stupid, Lance. Sometimes it’s hard to tell your heart not to want someone, even if all they do is hurt you.”
Enter Poppy, a woman who shares a history with Lance. For Poppy, Lance is her “what could have been.” She has this idealized version of Lance that is far from who he is now. The problem is Lance doesn’t quite remember her.
What I really loved about this book is the way Lance and Poppy’s story sort of came full circle. Not just their love story and how that developed but also with their character arcs. Poppy is the perfect foil for him. She’s light to his dark. She’s everything that Lance craved and wanted for in so long but never succeeded in attaining.
There’s something about a broken hero who strives to be good but fails most of the time. He’s also the kind of hero who made mistakes and has to pay for those mistakes. Lance embodies that perfectly.
You’re all the good things I didn’t know I was missing.”
My only complaint–and this is probably because I’ve never had a chance to meet her before this book–is Tasha. She’s bordering caricature villain. The only perspective we got is from Lance, which isn’t flattering to say the least.
Again, maybe those who’ve read the book will have deeper understanding about her character but for me, meh. Despite all the “bad” things she’s done to Lance, her character is uninteresting. And while her presence served as a conflict at the beginning of the story, it got weaker and weaker towards the middle and through the end.
Despite my issues, this was a book that captured and held my attention from beginning until the end. Lance and Poppy’s HEA was well earned and well deserved. And that sweet epilogue was just icing on top.
My darling girl. I’ve never had someone who was just mine, body and soul—mine to protect and hold and love. And that’s what Sarah is . . . she belongs to me now. We belong to each other.
Armed with my clipboard, I walk down the hall to the waiting room. Lance is impossible to miss. Despite the fact that he’s wearing a sweatshirt and the hood is covering half of his face, he’s more than six feet of broad, hockey-playing man.
He’s so wide his shoulders encroach on the chairs on either side, which would explain why no one is sitting next to him. He’s slouched down so his head rests on the back of the chair, and his hands are clasped in his lap, a baseball cap hanging off one knee. His lips, plush and soft—I know since I’ve had them on mine; it might have been a decade ago, but I remember it clearly—are parted. He looks like he’s asleep.
I clear my throat. “Lance Romero?”
He doesn’t move.
Bernadette, the receptionist, gives me a meaningful look.
I clear my throat again and call his name a second time. He jolts awake and the hood falls back, exposing his face. It’s not in good shape. He has a black eye and bruises on his left cheek. There’s a fly bandage across one eyebrow.
Sadly, he’s still hot.
He blinks a few times, yawns, and smacks his lips, his tongue touching the split in the bottom one. His gaze sweeps the room and finally lands on me. Heat explodes in my cheeks and courses through my limbs, warming me from the inside out as he starts at my sneaker-clad feet and roams up over my yoga pants to my company-issued T-shirt before stopping at my face. I can’t look directly at him for more than a couple of seconds. I sincerely hope he doesn’t remember me. I cannot go there and also be professional.
I’m sure the smile he gives me has melted many a panty off a slutty bunny. Mine stay right where they’re supposed to, wedged up my ass.
I force a polite, professional veneer. “I’m ready for you now.”
NYT and USA Today bestselling author of PUCKED, Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She’s writes contemporary romance ranging from new adult angst to romantic sports comedy.