Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Hard Stick by L.P. Dover

He carries a big stick. And he’s not afraid to use it.

On the ice, I’m Kellan Carter, powerhouse enforcer for the Charlotte Strikers. Off the ice, I’m just a regular guy. The last thing I want is to get mobbed by a bunch of groupies who are only after me for my fame and money. My ideal woman knows how to enjoy a little good, clean fun—and maybe some not-so-clean fun too. That’s the kind of girl I’d never let go.

When Kristen Robinson, the gorgeous, down-to-earth bartender I’ve been crushing on, agrees to let me take her out, I’m thrilled. We have an amazing night together, culminating in the most electrifying kiss of my life—and that’s it. Kristen tells me we can’t see each other again, but I know that kiss meant as much to her as it did to me. What I don’t know is that Kristen has a dangerous secret...

I’ve proved to Kristen that she can trust me with her body and her heart. But when her past comes back to haunt her, I need to prove that she can trust me with her life. And I might have to get my hands dirty after all.

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Book 1
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Mary Jo☆☆☆
This is not a hockey story in the way that I thought it would be. Kellan is a guy who plays hockey, granted he's good at it, but hockey doesn't really play a part in the main story plot.

The real story here is Kristen and her past. After laying low for a year, hiding from the man who killed her best friend and stalked her, she takes a chance and goes out with Kellan.

A lot happens once she starts dating Kellan and the plot moves quickly – a little too quickly – with her job and career.

A solid story, not sure where book two will take us, but I'm interested in reading it.

Kristen Robinson thought she had a good life. After losing her parents when she was in high school, she found a way to make it to college and finish and is now living her dream with her best friend, Cole, by her side. But the man she thought was the man of her dreams has turned into a nightmare. Mitchell Blackwell is controlling and doesn’t want anyone around Kristens especially Cole. Because he thinks any man wants to take Kristen away from him and he will do anything to keep what he thinks belongs to him. After a horrible accident, Kristen runs for her life, hoping that Mitchell will finally give up searching for her. After a year, she finds herself working in a pub in a hockey town where the local team hangs out and a few of the team members hit on her. But she doesn’t trust any man. She just wants to live from day to day and hopes to get her life back soon.

Kellan Carter is THE MAN on the ice and he is the captain of the Carolina Strikers. He doesn’t seem to be a manwhore in the pub, but what happens when he leaves? But he is tired of the groupies, only looking to add to their scorecards. He wants a real woman and he sees that in Kristen. So Kristen steers clear of him too. If he can get her to agree to one date, he can show her that he is not like his teammates.

Can Kristen agree to a date with Kellan and end it there? Will Mitchell ever leave her alone so she can be happy? Will she tell Kellan all about her past? Will Kellan stand by her when he learns the truth?

I loved this story, although it was more of a romantic suspense than a sports romance, it was not a problem for me. I love L.P. Dover and her writing style is great. She will draw you in and you can’t put the story down until the end. I can't wait for the next book in this series.

I have to say that I initially picked this book up because it was a hockey book, but I kept reading because it was so much more. Sure, there is a bit of hockey, but not a ton, so if you are going in hoping for an overload of hockey scenes, you might be disappointed. However, that being said, if you are looking for an interesting plot with characters that experience growth, then you'll like it.

I liked the little twist that brought the story together... and boy I wasn't even expecting it!!

The characters were so much fun to get to know and watch as they grew close and got to know each other, even though at first Kristen wanted nothing to do with Kellan. The way these two came together was hilarious. I loved that it was partially just to get back at the other guys.

Oh and watch out, there is a horribly sad scene at the beginning of the book that just broke my stinking heart. So sad!!!

Overall, a great book with a lot of page turning tension as well some unique drama to keep you entertained and on the edge of your seat wondering what is going to happen next.

Sadly, despite the title and beautiful cover, there is very little hockey in this book. Instead, I found myself enjoying a tense stalker/organised crime story.

This is actually Kristen’s story more than it is Kellan’s. The story opens with her running from a crazed stalker and a corrupt police department with the help of her FBI friends. A year later, she has returned to her hometown and is working as a bartender.

I found the writing at the start choppy and I struggled with the frantic pacing and over-the-top melodrama. The writing does settle after the first few scenes, but the melodrama continues to the end. There is no realism in this story. I had to stop myself from poking holes in each new and completely unbelievable scene. This is fiction. Even though it is a crime drama to some extent, it is daytime soap opera style drama that doesn’t lend itself to scrutiny. Readers need to either enjoy the ride or put the book down.

The romance between Kellen and Kristen is the book’s strength. It is a little bit insta-love and a little bit fairytale, white knight stuff, but it is a sweet and sexy connection. The romance tropes are conventional – he’s a handsome, rich NHL star and she’s pretty and scared. The character development doesn’t go much beyond the surface.

So. When I allowed myself to turn off my brain and believe in Kristen and Kellan’s story, I quite enjoyed their sexy adventures.

Avid Reader☆☆☆☆
3.5 stars
M/F Romance
Triggers: Click HERE to see Avid Reader’s review on Goodreads for trigger warnings.

So, I would say that despite the cover and premise, this is more of a mystery/thriller book than a romance. Kristen is running and Kellan is trying to figure out if this is truly his life – does he want/deserve more?

Kristen had a horrible boyfriend. One who took advantage of her and stalked her. One who was so jealous that he had her best friend murdered, because he feared that Kristen might have feelings for her best friend. While she was able to run and find safety, she left a huge piece of herself behind.

Kellan is the captain of his hockey team and used to calling the shots. However, when he sees/meets Kristen, he is instantly attracted. What follows is almost like an insta-love.

This is somewhat truncated in the story telling and sometimes, the scenarios were strange and not very linear; however, when it all came together, the romance really saved the story. I also believe that the other characters really helped the story flow along.

I would just like to start by saying that one of the things that I loved about this book was catching up with Brooklyn – featured in Camden's Redemption. There is always something rather special about finding old friends in a new series, and she was so perfectly placed too!

This is a fast-paced book with a lot of FBI/danger issues which stem from a very bad previous boyfriend choice by the female lead, Kristen. She is now hiding in plain sight and hoping that he will be brought down. So when Kellan starts to express some interest in her, she is naturally wary, and certainly doesn't want the attention that would come with dating a famous hockey player. (Now I have to admit that this element didn't quite gel for me in the book, because she does hang around with the players and family and it seems highly unlikely that she would not be photographed at all – especially given the number of books which make a big thing about just how intrusive the paps can be – but I chose to run with it.) He certainly is a good guy, even if she finds it hard to believe.

There are some really lovely moments in this book; some where you would like to remind them to be a little more alert to the risks; and plenty of hot and steamy ones too. I wouldn't say there was all that much hockey, but that there was I enjoyed.

I am keen to see where the series goes next and would bet that it is much more sports-related than maybe this one was. I hope Ms. Dover is busy creating it for us to enjoy.

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author L. P. Dover is a Southern belle living in North Carolina with her husband and two beautiful girls. Before she began her literary journey she worked in periodontics, enjoying the wonderment of dental surgeries.

She loves to write, but she also loves to play tennis, go on mountain hikes, and go white-water rafting, and has a passion for singing. Her two youngest fans expect a concert each and every night before bedtime, usually Christmas carols.

Dover has written countless novels, including her Forever Fae series, the Second Chances series, the Gloves Off series, the Armed & Dangerous series, the Royal Shifters series, and her stand-alone novel Love, Lies, and Deception. Her favorite genre to read and write is romantic suspense, but if she got to choose a setting in which to live, it would be with her faeries in the Land of the Fae.

Connect with L.P.

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Google+  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Hard Stick (Breakaway #1) by L.P. Dover to read and review.

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