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Penalty Play (Power Play #3) by Lynda Aicher

Penalty Play

Penalty Play by Lynda Aicher

Series: Power Play book 3

Released 10 August 2015

Published by Carina Press


Minnesota Glaciers’ starting defenseman Henrik Grenick is good at two things: hockey and sex. He’s got it all—the career, the biceps, the babes. But the steady parade of women through his bedroom just leaves him wanting more, hunting for the next distraction. Until he meets Jacqui, who awakens a hunger he never knew he craved.

Fiercely independent Jacqui Polson has no time for the seductive hockey player demanding her attention. More band geek than bimbo, she’s in an entirely different league, and growing up with four hockey-crazed brothers left her with no interest in that world. But damn, Henrik’s hot. And when it comes to sex, Jacqui knows exactly what she wants.

As their relationship moves beyond games, Henrik needs more—not just of Jacqui’s touch, but of her. Jacqui discovers there’s more to Henrik than just the gruff facade. But after a lifetime of fighting their own battles, neither has ever let anyone get so close. As they soon find out, needing someone isn’t a weakness, it’s the only thing that matters…

Sales links: Amazon • Carina Press • All Romance eBooks

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Our thoughts:

Penalty Play is the third installment in the Power Play series. A spin-off of Aicher’s prior series, Wicked Play. Personally, I love this world! The last series focused on the BDSM club (which was awesome) but a love of hockey really makes this new series fun and rich with options.

Henrik Grenick is a defender for the Glaciers. A great player on ice, not in real life. His string of girlfriends all leave him after a short time. They take and get to play the rich and famous game for a while. He buys them nice things and then they leave. Is he heartbroken over it? Not really. It’s not like any of these women have ever really known him. He’s never given them his heart either.

Grenick is hiding behind hockey to ease the pain in his life from a loss and also loneliness. The love he doesn’t get from his family, he tries to make up for with his hockey family. But does this made family really know him?

A trip to a music store to find a distraction from the quiet of his home brings Henrik and Jacqui together. She’s passionate about music and Henrik wishes he could have the musical outlet he once held so dear to his heart. One thing he does know, he finds this carefree woman refreshing. Unfortunately, he’s always been awkward with the dating games. They usually come to him, he doesn’t usually have to pursue.

Jacqui is strong, carefree and passionate. She sees a genuinely nice guy in Henrik. He’s polite and refined, but reserved. He’s willing to give his heart to Jacqui, something he’s never done before. She’s too wrapped up in her past illness to really see that all Henrik needs is to be loved in return. He’s never had that and doesn’t even know he deserves it until it’s within his grasp and taken away.

Penalty Play is not as emotional as I expected with the loss and illness. It’s not about broken people finding each other. It’s more about finding the strength within to find what you need and deserve. To seek it, grab it, and hold onto it for dear life.

The passion between Jacqui and Henrik is intoxicating. They sizzle and quake but they’re also gentle and loving when it’s needed. No inhibitions on either side. Henrik is a big studly teddy bear. Mix in a big Irish Catholic family, music and the roughness of hockey and we have another winning goal of a story from Lynda Aicher.


Passing Through by Jay Northcote

Passing ThroughRelease Date: February 20, 2015
Review Copy from Author


Don’t waste a chance at happiness…

Leo is a lonely workaholic with no time for romance in his life. His job in London takes all his energy and commitment. When he goes to Cornwall to stay with his terminally ill uncle, Edwin, love is the last thing Leo expects to find.

Tris lives in a cottage on Edwin’s land. Gay, but still half in the closet, he and Leo bond over their affection for Edwin, and the pull of attraction between them proves too strong to ignore. In Tris’s arms, in the wilds of Cornwall, Leo finds a peace he’d forgotten existed.

On his return to London, Leo finds himself grieving for more than just the loss of his uncle. When some unexpected news gives Leo the chance to return to Cornwall, he’s afraid it will be too late to rekindle things with Tris. But having learned much from his stay with his uncle, Leo doesn’t want to look back and wish he’d done things differently.

It’s time to seize the day—if it’s not already too late.

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Thank you, Jay Northcote, for a book that is sweet, sensual and at times a bit somber. I feel like Passing Through is a fantastic reminder that life’s too short. It makes me want to seize the moment, take risks and never let a chance go by to tell someone how much they mean to me. There are so many things in daily life that we take for granted.

Leo’s story is simple, one that might even seem familiar to some. He’s a wildly successful, overworked, over-stressed web designer who takes some time off to care for his ailing Uncle Edwin. It’s kind of a classic “city slicker retreats to the country and experiences ground shaking revelations about life” kind of story. You can only imagine the wide spectrum of emotions Leo experiences during his time caring for his uncle in Cornwall: awkwardness, regret, guilt, sorrow, but most of all love. It’s that last one that seems to have a lasting impact, perhaps in more ways than one.

While in Cornwall, Leo meets Tris, an acquaintance his uncle has hired to do some work on the aging, dilapidated cottage on his property. If spending time with Edwin hasn’t made Leo nostalgic and longing for simpler times, Tris is a complete game changer. He’s the kind of guy Leo never thought he’d meet, let alone have the chance to connect with in any kind of relationship. I love stories like this one with an element of internal awakening where a solid character begins to realize something’s missing and how to seek fulfillment. It’s extremely gratifying to watch the way Northcote lays out all the pieces then begins to assemble them. I really love taking that emotional journey along with Leo.

Secondary to Leo’s storyline, Northcote gives us two tremendous side plots with Tris and Edwin. Each has his own journey to make with regards to sexuality, and it’s interesting to note the contrast in how all three have handled this personal issue. In the end I enjoy the complexity with which Northcote interweaves their lives; I’m not sure any one of them would have made the decisions they do without the influence or involvement of the others. In Leo’s case I’m certain of it, but to see Tris confidently make changes knowing it’s likely learning Edwin’s past and meeting Leo that lead him to do it…that makes me happy in ways I can’t even describe.



Losing Control (Kerr Chronicles #1) by Jen Frederick

Losing Control CoverRelease Date: June 16, 2014
Published by Pear Tree LLC
Review Copy from Author

About the Book (from Goodreads):
I’d do anything to keep my mother alive.

Anything, including ask Ian Kerr for help. I don’t know much about him, except that he has more money than some small countries. And he’s willing to spend it on me. Just one catch: there’s a string attached, and not just the one I feel pulling me into his arms and his bed. There’s also the plan for revenge he wants my help with.

Every time he says my name, it makes my body shiver and my heart stutter. I know he’s going to wreck me, know there won’t be anything left of me but lust and sensation by the time he’s done with me, but even though I can see the heartbreak coming towards me like a train, ready to crash into me, I can’t get out of the way. I want what he makes me feel. Want what he’s offering.

This may have started out as something to save my mother, but now…now it’s about what he makes me feel. I’m in danger of losing everything that’s important. Worse? Ian’s whispered words and hot caresses are making me believe that’s okay.

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Our Thoughts:
Losing Control is a fast paced, sexy read full of scandal and plenty of tension.  I love Jen Frederick’s delivery complete with mind games and complexities mixed with plenty of humor and wit. This story’s exciting, engaging and emotional – a definite must read.

Let me start by saying I really wanted to hate Ian Kerr. He’s cocky, arrogant, controlling and totally upper handed in his dealings with Victoria. All these things just scream jerk to me. But then there’s the part of him that’s a little bit vulnerable. Sure he’s playing a dangerous game, one that only the very wealthy can play, but deep inside his motives are good. Is he a little over the top sometimes? Sure, but it’s easy to see why Victoria has trouble maintaining her distance.  He’s kind of irresistible.

Victoria’s mother is ill, and her battle with cancer places their family in dire straits. They need money and soon. Between medical expenses and finding a more suitable place to live, the situation seems impossible. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and Victoria’s willing to do whatever necessary to provide for her mother. I admire her dedication and devotion – not just any person can take on that responsibility and be nursemaid to a family member.

The relationship between Victoria and Ian kind of sneaks up on you, or at least I feel like it did. There’s no denying the attraction and chemistry between them from the first time they meet. Each encounter thereafter just cranks up the heat. They’re backgrounds make them an unlikely couple since they definitely don’t run in the same circles. This disparity is something that had me rooting for them to make it. What really sneaks up on you is the emotional connection. Somewhere along the way, while dancing around each other and playing a game of denial and rejection, they grow to care for each other. I think the intensity of those feelings is a a surprise to Ian and Victoria, and I really love that sincerity and genuineness. It feels raw and adds a vulnerability that I really appreciate.

I’m so pleased this is just the first in a series of books. I fell in love with these characters, and I can’t imagine abandoning them any time soon.  Frederick uses first person from Victoria’s point of view to tell this story, I’m curious if she’ll continue to use that perspective. The synopsis for book 2, Taking Control, hints that maybe not; it appears to be from Ian’s point of view. That would be an interesting shift, one I’m anxious to experience.


Shattered (Extreme Risk #2) by Tracy Wolff

ShatteredPublished on 20 May 2014
Published by Flirt
Copy obtained for review from publisher.

Ash is shattered by the accident that killed his parents and left his brother, Logan, paralyzed from the waist down. He is trying to be the responsible, sacrificing adult. All he wants to do is run away and snowboard but all he can do is feel guilt over boarding causing the accident (in his eyes). He can’t board and risk leaving Logan with no one so he works a ski rental job and is miserable.

Even though Ash is sacrificing for Logan, he’s messing up their relationship. Logan is frustrated with Ash because he isn’t seeing Logan for who he is/was but just as his crippled brother. There’s a lot of anger and hard feelings going on between Logan and Ash. It was great to see Z, Ophelia, Luc and Cam stepping up and helping with Logan. They really are a close group and there for each other.

Ash’s life will never be the same after the accident, but when Tansy enters the rental shop, it surly will change again. The connection and attraction are electric between them.

Tansy is a cancer survivor. She beat insurmountable odds and is in remission (just seven weeks) from her battle with a devastating form of leukemia. Now she works for Make A Wish and is trying to organize her first wish for a boy named Timmy. His wish is to see Ash Lewis snowboard. Too bad Ash is fighting too many demons and won’t say yes. With a little push from Z and Logan the wish all comes together but it isn’t smooth and seamless.

Ash and Tansy fight their attraction for a long while, then when they finally get together they brush it off as casual and nothing that will become more. Even though they both want more and feel like they’re falling in love, they fight it. Over and over Ash says he can’t be what Logan needs and be what he needs. To him, the only solution is to give up anything that makes him happy. He doesn’t realize that by doing so he is actually making the situation with Logan worse. Not to mention it is changing him, making him hard and unhappy.

Tansy’s a great girl but she hasn’t really lived the past decade while fighting her battle with cancer. She just wants to discover who she is, what she likes and maybe lose her virginity in the process. Being flippant about Ash doesn’t seem to be working for her either. Ash and Tansy both need to be awakened, to discover that with love it’s easier to endure the hardships and hard times sometimes. It is worth the risk to have someone for only one day or four weeks or two years versus a lifetime if you’re happy and loved.

Shattered was a tough story of the struggles Ash endures after the accident and how even the best intentions can fall short. Sometimes sacrifices don’t matter as much as staying true to yourself and your happiness. Love is infectious!