Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Heart by RJ Scott Blog Tour

The team captain and the rookie firefighter never meant to fall in love; but they’ll fight tooth and nail to protect what they have.

Alex Simard, captain of the Ice Dragons hockey team, didn’t intend on rescuing a baby from a burning car. Doing what anyone else would’ve done doesn’t make him a hero. Add the press hounding him, to on-ice injury, warring Russians, and the season from hell, and he’s losing focus. Getting his team to the Stanley Cup is his priority; falling in love isn’t even a footnote on his to-do list.

Jo Glievens, rookie firefighter, never meant to fall in love with a hockey player. Her career is everything to her and right now she doesn’t want to add a man to her life. She has a plan and is sticking to it. But someone is out there planting bombs, destroying lives, and she has to make choices when this criminal's actions hit way too close to home.

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Book 2
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B&N  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo  ~  Smashwords

Jo walked in on a team meeting.

Not her team; not the big burly firefighters that formed her life and mostly sat around looking all kinds of badass whenever they had a meeting.

Nope, it was the key members of the Ice Dragons hockey team that had congregated in her friend Kat’s living room. Of course, it was also Ryan’s living room given Kat and Ryan were recently engaged, and it was their new house. Hence why Ryan would be there.

“Excuse the noise, we’ll study upstairs again where it’s quiet,” Kat said.

“It’s a team meeting then?”

“Less meeting, more smack-down and telling Alex like it is. Poor guy can’t stay at his own place because of all the media attention, so he’s staying here, but he’s pissed and probably scared of being off-ice for far too long.”

“It’s fine,” she said, although she wasn’t exactly concentrating on what Kat said, so had missed most of it.

And all because, from there she could see the center of attention, one Alexandre Simard, or Simba as his teammates liked to call him. She only knew that Simba was his nickname because he’d done those ridiculous car sales ads for a local Toyota dealership a couple years back. They’d made this whole thing about his blond hair, and his name, likening him to a lion based on his hockey nickname.

She’d seen the ads so many times she could almost recite them from memory; too much down time at the firehouse between calls.

Of course, his face had been fixed firmly in her mind after she and Mitch had been the ones who dragged his trapped and heavy ass out of that car, the flames burning through his jacket and the jersey beneath. He’d been the one who looked up at her and asked, not about himself, but about the baby.

The damned man had crawled back into the burning car for the dad. He could have died. Jo had been furious at his actions; the last thing professionals needed were civilians getting involved, but when the action of the call had faded she’d thought past the rookie checklist for civilian interaction on scenes. Instead, she’d gone from seeing him as a man who’d helped to sell cars, played a game for a living, to a man who risked his own life for a child and father.

With no thought for his own safety.

He was pretty much a local hero if you listened to the news, a tall, gorgeous, blond-haired, blue-eyed hero. Could the guy be any more of a cliché? And why did he have to look so sexy and handsome, even when he was angry?

“They’re all mad,” Lieutenant Dennison had said when they were working on getting the car clear. “Hockey players, all mad,” he elaborated when she’d stared at him not really understanding at first.

Seems like they weren’t just mad for putting themselves in danger, but they were mad-angry as well. So, it wasn’t so much a meeting she’d been warned was happening at the same time as her study session, as much as a heated debate.

There was some language she didn’t understand, although it was deep and guttural and likely Russian, and then one hell of a lot of cursing. She caught some of it, a shouting match over ice time and why couldn’t their fucking captain understand the concept of fucking rest.

She didn’t watch hockey that much, sometimes caught highlights on shift down time, but being the probie at the firehouse kept her busy. That would all be ending soon when she passed probation and her exams, but for now, it sucked. She kind of wanted to watch hockey, the way that her fellow officers and the paramedics talked about it, the game was fast and changed on a dime. Burlington had an expansion team, or so she’d read in the paper that morning. In fact, she’d learned a lot about hockey the past few days. Ever since the accident actually, because the articles on it were everywhere.

To be fair, every article she’d read about the Dragons’ captain and him risking his life had begun with the words Alexandre ‘Simba’ Simard, Captain of The Dragons, the NHL’s newest expansion team… she’d looked it up, knew what expansion meant, that it was a new team, only five or so years old, and that this year they’d started strong before setbacks had them trailing in the rankings.

Not to mention they’d lost their captain for at least four weeks. Maybe six. One writer pointed out the team didn’t have the chance to label it as a generic upper body injury, meaning other teams wouldn’t know the captain’s vulnerabilities. Nope, there were pictures and news reports of burns and a fractured radius.

According to news reports, the team losing their captain was vital, and Jo could understand that. Captains were key pieces in their teams, the leader, the one that everyone looked up to. He was also a real American hero, or at least that is what the news was painting him as. Without thought for his own safety, he’d rescued a father and baby from their car only seconds before the fire spread.

Brave. Not everyone was a firefighter like her, not everyone would have risked their own life to rescue others. Not everyone was trained like her. Brave, stupid, they were different sides of the same coin.

She glanced into the main seating area, the one with the views out over Burlington, in the beautiful place that Kat and her fiancé had bought. They’d only just moved in, but this was the third time Jo had visited. The view included shouting, sexy, angry hockey players; men who were clearly pissed at something.

“You’re not coming back early,” one strong, steady voice said, and Jo recognized Ryan, Kat’s other half, as the owner of the voice.

“Fuck you, Flynn,” the captain snapped.

“This is not up for discussion, you hard headed idiot,” Ryan shouted louder. Seemed it was that kind of meeting where each person shouted louder than the last just to be heard.

She counted it as a win that they hadn't spotted her; there was something compelling about being able to see them in person. Kat was watching with amusement on her face. Of course, her fiancé was one of them, and she probably knew more about the whole thing than Jo ever would.

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

I have to start with a little fangirling – I love the kick-ass women in this series! This series has given me new hope for m/f romance and this second book is even better than the first.

This story starts with a fire. He rescues a family. She rescues him. They are both heroic. Proby firefighter Jo is tough, resilient, and wonderfully complicated. As the captain of an NHL team, Alex is talented and famous but his responsibilities can be overwhelming. Jo and Alex are both confident, independent characters. Together, they make each other stronger. The chemistry between this pair is electric and I really loved their story.

Refreshingly free from tired Chick Lit tropes, a suspense story runs alongside the main romance. I love that it is Jo with the more dangerous job, Jo who is increasingly at risk from the arsonist and bombmaker. And I really love the way Alex appreciates her strength and skills.

As Alex is captain of the Ice Dragons, there is more focus on the whole team in this second book. I love the complex relationships between the players. RJ Scott’s experience writing m/m gives her a special ability to write men and relationships between men. So many potential stories for the series emerge as each one of the players becomes a distinct character. The hockey action is brilliant – I love underdog stories!

I love this series and I really love this second book. The characters are fantastic. The plot is tight and the suspense is exciting. I can’t wait for the next book in this series!

Firefighter meets professional hockey player – who wouldn’t love that!? I really enjoyed this fast-paced, original story!

Alex is the captain of the Ice Dragons hockey team and a man with a huge heart. Alex winds up saving a man and his baby from a burning car and then having to be saved himself by a group of fire fighters, including Jo. Then it turns out Jo works with one of Alex’s teammate’s wife and the two run into one another, igniting their attraction. Neither Jo nor Alex really wants a relationship, but when things heat up between the two, they can’t help themselves. Then you add bombs, twins who haven’t got their act together, and a loud Russian who just wants to hit something, and you’ve got an excellent read!

The plot is great and I love that this book has just the right amount of suspense, romance, and drama! It makes for a read that you won’t want to end – literally… I just wanted to run right into the next guy’s (whom I’m hoping is Mr. Russia himself!) story! Can’t wait for book #3!

Avid Reader☆☆☆
M/F Romance
Triggers: Death – accident

Alexandre (Simba) is the captain of his hockey team. He is trying to figure out how to pull his team together when they are having a hard season. Rookies, long held friends/teammates, rivals becoming team members. Let's just say that Simba has a lot going on and when he finally has a second to breathe, he and his teammate come across a horrific car accident.

Alexandre runs towards the car, saves the people inside, and becomes an instant overnight hero. With the new fame, Alexandre is forced to hide from the press. He does that at a teammate’s house and there, he re-meets a firefighter who was at the scene with him. Jo is sweet and shy. However, she is very good friends with the wife of one of Alexandre's teammates, so they seem to run into each other and their attraction is growing and undeniable.

Despite the pace of the story, I didn't really see the connection between the main characters. It was somewhat flat. I like the story about the players more – found it more intriguing. I wish that there had been better chemistry for the main characters and a more developed relationship.

This is the second book in the series, and even better than the first! But do read that one first as the team's story is ongoing, and we get to see plenty of the first couple too.

This is a story with a pretty dramatic plot, which ties together really well, and gives our two leads plenty of opportunity to shine. That they have a connection which is at the heart of the plot, as well as realising the power of the heart when it finds who it wants, give the book its title.

I love sports romances, so the hockey elements worked really well – and Alex's shouldering of the responsibility of leading the team in his role as captain, even when he is not playing, is inspiring and demonstrates the mettle of the man. We learn quite a lot more about a number of the team members and I am excited to see who gets their story next.

Jo is still struggling with the grief of losing her father and the disappointment of her mother about her choice of career as a firefighter. As she gets to grips with her job, little did she expect to fall for a hockey player – after a fabulously funny scene, I might add – and through Alex, she comes to terms with her past, and in his friendship, recognises her future.

Their easy friendship coupled with enticing chemistry makes their connection feel genuine and with definite potential to last the distance.

Thank you again Ms. Scott.

Also Available in the Ice Dragons Hockey Series

Book 1
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
ARe  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo  ~  Smashwords

For reviews & more info, check out our stop on The Code Blog Tour.

RJ Scott is the bestselling romance author of over 100 romance books. She writes emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men and women who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn't with family either reading or writing.

The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn't like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of The Heart (Ice Dragons Hockey #2) by RJ Scott to read and review for this tour.

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