Monday, March 11, 2019

Ice Hot by Tracy Goodwin

The Nighthawks are hockey’s new expansion team. They’re ice hot. And they’re all about the chase.

They call me a hockey god because I’m a beast on the ice... and off. Men want to be me and women just want me. But now that the New York Nighthawks expect me to lead their team to victory, it’s all work and no play. My eyes are on the prize. Until I meet Serena Ellis, a sexy, curvalicious blonde who doesn’t know me from jack. And just like that, I’m hooked.

I don’t do one-night stands—especially with celebrity jocks who date models. Lots of models. But the god of hockey is a temptation that’s hard for mere mortals to resist. And after the best kiss of my life, I’m ready to throw my one-night stand rule out the window. Except Christian Chase won’t let me. He doesn’t want a one-night stand. He wants it all.

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Book 1
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Turning around, I crash into something solid. A blonde with a ponytail, sunglasses on the top of her head, no makeup, and a look of horror on her face.

“What the fuck?” She shivers, glaring down at the crushed Slurpee cup in her hands, and the blue ice covering her white tank and pink yoga pants.

“I’m so sorry.” I grab napkins and offer them to her.

She shoves my hands away. “Stop. Just stop. Do you honestly think I’d let you cop a feel?”

“No!” I’m quick to right that misconception. “I was handing them to you, not touching you. I would never touch you.”

“Don’t sound so disgusted at the possibility.” She tosses the cup in the trash.

Shit. I’m anything but disgusted. I’m a man. And this girl is hot. Or would be, if she weren’t furious with me.

Peeling her tank from her chest, she reaches in, scooping a handful of blue slush from her cleavage before tossing it in the garbage can. “I’m going to kill Becca. Yoga will relax you. What a joke! It leaves you sore, miserable, and sweaty.”

I grab more napkins. Is this all I can do? Stand like an idiot with a stack of napkins in my hands while she mutters to herself? What the hell has happened to my social game?

Before I can offer to buy her another Slurpee, her head snaps back to me. “Can I help you with something or did you want to burn me with scalding hot coffee before you left?”

I’m staring and gulping. My throat is dry. Still, I manage, “How can I help?”

“Thanks, but you’ve done enough.” Staring at her blue hands before wiping them on her yoga pants, she hurries out the door.

Since the napkins were a complete waste of time, I plop cash on the counter to cover the Gatorade and chase after her. She’s parked one aisle over from me, standing at the gas pump. I grab a towel and my extra T-shirt out of my hatch and head toward her car. A metallic blue Volvo XC90. Sporty, yet sexy.

“God damn it. Come on.” She struggles with the gas cap, then slams her palm against her car. “Shit.”

I stand next to the pump. “Hey.”

Twisting around to see me, she leans against her car with an annoyed sigh. “Did you come over to spill gas on me, too?”

“Nope. I’m still trying to help.” I offer her the towel from my gym bag, but she takes a step away from me like I’ve got the plague. “I come in peace—look, it’s a white towel.”

“Too late for peace. I have Slurpee goo in my underwear, you’ve frozen my lady parts, and now the ice is melting.” She looks down at the blue puddle on the concrete. “Oh, God. It’s dripping. It looks like I’m peeing a Smurf in public.”

“Take the shirt and the towel. I’ll fill your tank while you change.” She’s tense and dripping onto her flip-flops. I say the only thing I can think of to make this better. “I really am sorry.”

She narrows her eyes. “So you say, but how do I know you’re not going to steal my car?”

I laugh. I can’t help myself. Sure, I’ve been trash-talked a lot in my life, but I’ve never been accused of grand theft auto. My contract was discussed ad nauseum on ESPN. Even non–hockey fans tend to know how much I make annually. It was national news.

She glares at me. “What’s so funny? Auto theft happens all the time, right?”

Reaching into my pocket, I hand her my keys. “You can have mine.”

She grabs them, reading the Land Rover emblem, then looks for my SUV. After setting her sights on it, she presses the panic button. Not once, not twice. Nope. She presses it three times, and the horn blares as my hazards blink furiously. I cancel the panic alarm, though it’s too late. We’ve already caused a scene and my ears are ringing. Still, I exhale, relieved that she didn’t press the tailgate button. The last thing I need is for those banners to go flying through the parking lot. Chasing them would make me look like even more of an oaf, if that’s possible after spilling a sticky blue Slurpee all over her. As I hand my keys back to her, she grins.

The day, my shitty day, just got a whole lot brighter. Because of one grin... from this woman. That’s all it took.

Reaching for my towel and shirt, she pauses before heading to the restroom. “I promise not to lose your keys or flush them down the toilet. No matter how tempted I may be.”

“I appreciate that.” I wink at her, noting how her sarcasm draws out her dimples. “I promise not to steal your car. No matter how tempted I may be.”

The planes of her heart-shaped face soften, and she opens her mouth, like she’s about to say something. I’m intrigued. Until she smirks. I can tell she’s trying not to laugh as she hurries to the restroom without a word. Though I’m left wondering what she wanted to say, I can’t help but smile. It’s obvious to me that this woman has no idea who I am, which actually excites me. Being considered a car thief means that this is one person who doesn’t want anything from me.

My cell rings, and I read the screen. Dad. Speaking of someone who wants a handout, I reject the call, choosing instead to shove my cell in my pocket, top off the blonde’s tank, and screw her gas cap back on. The signs say I shouldn’t be on my cell. What better reason for rejecting a call from my dad? Besides, the last thing I want to do is set fire to the mystery woman’s Volvo.

Just as I close her gas tank door, I catch sight of her crossing the parking lot, wearing my white T-shirt and her flip-flops. My hand stills, and I can’t help but stare.

Holy fucking hot.

The shirt covers her ass and reaches her thighs. When the sunlight hits at just the right angle, I can see the outline of her body. Tight, but not emaciated. She wears sunglasses and saunters like she is the sexiest woman I’ve ever laid eyes on, which I’m pretty sure she is. Her confidence is a total turn-on.

“Your towel and my clothes are a lost cause.” Her sweat mingling with gas fumes is oddly intoxicating. “Thanks for the shirt and for filling my car.”

“Anytime.” I want her number. I need it, but I can’t get my mouth to work fast enough.

Someone whistles at her, and she tosses me my keys before heading to her driver’s door. “I’ve gotta go. Thanks again.”

She slides into the driver’s seat, turns the ignition, and fastens her seatbelt. As she drives away, I notice a blue stain on her cheek. Fuck. I don’t even know her name. Just that she wears my shirt even better than she wore a Slurpee, has no shame, and is the first woman not to recognize me in forever. God damn. Why didn’t I get her number?

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Avid Reader☆☆☆☆☆
4.5 stars
M/F Romance

Serena is an amazing woman who has her own business and, in spite of her upbringing, is compassionate and kind. She loves her brother and his husband, tolerates her parents, and loves her grandma. Serena is all about loving who she is. Despite not being stick thin, she wants women to be proud of themselves and designs clothes to support them in doing just that. She has a past where men and women have shamed her, and it has taken a while for her self-esteem to build to what it is. When she meets Christian, her world is turned upside down.

Christian is used to having women fall at his feet. Having won two Stanley Cups before, he's charged with helping his new team do just that... win another cup. But with teammates who want to challenge him, are unwilling to be team players, Christian has his work cut out for him. When he meets Serena, his world changes for the better.

Despite loving each other, with their professional lives in turmoil, it will take all of their wits to be strong. And with forces outside of their relationship working against them, it is a tough road to plow. I really loved their story. It was somewhat predictable, but that was okay with me. I still really enjoyed their story and can't wait to see who gets the next one. I was slightly disappointed we didn't get more closure for Christian’s issues, but overall, this was a feel good story. I can't wait to see what or who is next.

Mary Jo☆☆☆☆
I do love a good hockey romance and this one did not let me down. Christian is the new captain of the Nighthawks, an expansion team. One of his jobs is to foster a team environment, create unity among a bunch of guys who were on opposing teams just a year ago. It’s hard, but Christian knows that he can do it.

Serena is the lone black sheep in her family of overachievers. Born to privilege, she's had everything she's ever wanted, except for her parents to love her as she is. Thankfully, her grandmother is around to give her what she needs to foster and grow.

When Christian sets his sights on Serena, she's not sure if she can handle a relationship with a hockey star but soon realizes that life with him is much better than a life of regrets.

I can't wait for the second book in this series!!

This is the first in a new series and gets off to a solid start. I greatly enjoy sports romances, especially hockey ones, so was delighted to get to read this book. It has an interesting twist, which I really enjoyed, as the female lead is not exactly what she seems. I did, however, find the size issue annoying after a while – I completely got it and understood Serena's concerns and hang-ups, but had also recognised her as a strong woman, and I felt she went down that rabbit hole more times that I found believable. The fashion side of her story is used well, as are her family issues, and obviously her grandmother's input into the romance is fun. At times, I also found Chris to give us too much of a stream of consciousness, the voice being very similar to Serena's. I felt that the signposting wasn't necessary, and somehow weakened his character in my view.

The use of an expansion team is useful as it gives all the players a level playing field on which to start out. It brings together a group of disparate players and coaches who have to feel their way and set the tone for the future, so the pressure is certainly greater on some of them. Christian and his best buddy Nick take the lead at the Nighthawks, and I enjoyed watching the team dynamics develop. It was well written and entertaining – no doubt there is more to come in future installments, but the world building works from the very start.

Overall this was a very good read, which will ensure that I look out for future releases and catch up with the progress of the men in this new team.

Sparks fly between confident hockey superstar Chris and strong, outspoken, fashion designer Serena right from their very first meeting. Chris and Serena are fun, sexy, and intelligent and together they are dynamite. They also both have insecurities they need to come to terms with, which are explored in an honest way that made the characters easy to relate to.

I am a sucker for a hockey romance and when we meet Chris, he is heading up a brand new team and the season hasn’t started yet. So while we don’t get much in the way of game play, the team and Chris’ life as a hockey player are crucial to the story. Serena is such a strong and compassionate woman, I just loved her.

Ice Hot is a great story and it is most definitely hot. I’m looking forward to reading more of this series.

Tracy Goodwin is a USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. Throughout a career spanning a decade, she has achieved both traditional and indie publishing success. She is the author of sexy contemporary romances and sweeping adult historical romances. In addition, Tracy pens vivid urban fantasy paranormal romance bursting with excitement. Though the genres may be different, each story delivers her unique blend of sensuality, poignant emotion, humor, and unforgettable characters that steal readers’ hearts.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Ice Hot (New York Nighthawks #1) by Tracy Goodwin to read and review.

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