You know how sometimes you get tired of reading free books because they can be of such dubious quality that you finally say “man fuck it let’s try a book you have to pay for, that’s gotta be better, right?”
Sometimes you’re so, so wrong.
Amber “AJ” Johnson is a freelance writer who has one chance of winning her dream-job as a full-time staffer: capture an interview with the very private goalie of Baltimore’s hockey team, Alec Kolchak. But he’s the one man who tries her patience, even as he brings to life a quiet passion she doesn’t want to admit exists.
Alec has no desire to be interviewed–he never has, never will. But he finds himself a reluctant admirer of AJ’s determination to get what she wants…and he certainly never counted on his attraction to her. In a fit of frustration, he accepts AJ’s bet: if she can score just one goal on him in a practice shoot-out, he would not only agree to the interview, he would let her have full access to him for a month, 24/7.
It was a bet neither one of them wanted to lose…and a bet neither one could afford to win. But when it came time to take the shot, could either one of them cross the line?
Things I liked:
It eventually ended. Also, I mean. I guess sentence construction was good? She used her words correctly?
So like. She’s a female reporter trying to break into the male dominated sports writing world, right? This book would have been SO AWESOME if that’s what it had been about. She convinces him to let her interview him by challenging him to a shootout early in the book and I think MAN, this could be good. Except it just . . . wasn’t. She also suffers from debilitating migraines at plot convenient points and turns into the waif that he has to pick up and carry around places. He forces himself on her physically just to have her melt into his arms because when she said “stop” and “no” what she really meant was “of course I am desperate for your kisses.” But that really belongs in . . .
Things I couldn’t get behind:
All of that. He’s angry and pretty non-verbal most of the time. He grunts, grabs her, pushes her around, etc. They have some pretty life-affirming sex in the middle of the book (way too early in romance novel land for this to go well, for example) and he basically punishes her for it? Not physically, just withdrawing himself from her. Also she wins the shootout bet, so he makes her move in with him? They both live in the same city. The team never seems to go on the road, so she’s not traveling with them. But he makes her move into his guest room or the bet’s off and he won’t do the interview.
And like, this guy is supposed to be Lundqvist levels of good, but he’s never given an interview? The only thing about him on his wiki page are the stats because he refuses to talk about his stats, but you’re telling me literally no one else has talked about him? Pee wee coaches? Friends from home? You’re telling me not one of his teams has ever said “look you have to give interviews.” And his reasons for NOT wanting to are just “eh I don’t like talking.” There’s no, like, tortured secret he’s hiding. (Spoilers???)
Which kinda brings me to another thing I couldn’t get behind in this book, which was the incredibly weak storytelling. Book opens with heroine talking to her editor about getting an interview with hero.
Heroine talks to her editor.
Enter: LEAST ILLUMINATING INTERNAL MONOLOGUE EVER
She goes to rink.
Cue: dramatic music with a lot of sad violins, probably a mournful cello solo.
THEY KNOW EACH OTHER!!!!!!
Some incredibly vague internal monologue from hero’s perspective regarding the fact that they know each other, but not how or what happened, because why explain anything ever.
Later, she writes this feature piece about him, and her editor is singing her praises because it’s such an incredibly interesting angle for the piece and everyone is just gonna rave about this and she’s always going to have a job in sports writing because of this piece which is . . . never described. At all. Like, I didn’t necessarily need it in the book, but if you’re going to rave about this interesting piece you could, like, explain it? Even a little?
Hockey was only played minimally, and then only to describe how distracting he found her. The culmination of the book stole a scene out of the Mighty Ducks but didn’t bother to make it practical for someone who is 6+ feet tall.
Please skip it, this was terrible.
Full fu manchu on a white dude with dreads. Tried to be awesome and failed.