Instructional program for women unexpectedly facing the totally dishy guy from their past. Everyone Welcome!
NHL coach Mark Diego’s plan to spend his off-season volunteering in his hometown goes awry when he learns that not only is he coaching teenage girls, but that the program is coordinated by energetic (and five feet two inches of trouble) coordinator Rainey Saunders, his childhood friend–and the woman he could never stand to see dating any other guy…
When their tempers flare, Mark and Rainey discover their fireworks don’t just burn angry–they burn very, very, hot! But that’ll just sweeten the victory. Because Mark always plays to win. And with Rainey, he’s planning on playing very dirty too…
*Blurb from Goodreads*
I’m a huge fan of sports romance books, so when contemporary favorite Jill Shalvis wrote about about a professional hockey coach falling in love with a childhood friend, I knew it was a recipe for greatness.
Mark is a big time NHL coach, and when his players act out, he takes them back to his hometown to teach them a bit of responsibility. But while teaching his players, taking on the girls softball team, and spending time with his family, Mark still finds himself drawn to Rainey in ways he never thought possible. But will it be enough to move forward to a future?
While I enjoy Harlequin category books, they never seem to live up to the full length novels that I’ve come to crave, and while Shalvis is still one of my favorite contemporary writers out there, I didn’t think this story lived up to her others. I just seemed to want so much… more. So many times, it feels as if category length novels leave out so much of the relationship and character building in lieu of sexy times and a shorter page count. While it doesn’t necessarily make for a bad book, it often leaves me feeling as if I just need a little more time within the story.
That being said, I absolutely adored Rainey. She was a fun heroine. So practical, down to earth and small-town sweet. It was obvious that she cared for and loved those close to her with every fiber of her being. She did her best to keep those close to her safe, healthy, and on the straight and narrow. Her history with Mark had me alternately cringing and laughing at the same time. I could see why she was worried about letting him back into her life, but I adored them together.
Mark was great in his own way as well, despite the fact that there were a few times I wanted to pop him in the back of the head. He was an alpha to the extreme, coming in protective and overbearing, even occasionally trying to take over Rainey’s life. While that type of man isn’t my cuppa, I do have a soft spot for them in my romance books. Mainly because I love to see the big, bad, macho man taken down to his knees by the love of a woman.
Shalvis continues to write some incredible sexy times, and she doesn’t hold back at all in this one. Mark and Rainey start out with a very physical relationship, but it quickly becomes evident that there is so much more between them. I do wish that we would have had a bit more time from Mark’s perspective, just because I didn’t get as good of an understand for his feelings as I did Rainey’s.
All in all I thought Shalvis had another winner in this story. The hero and heroine are sexy together and have a sweet romance. While category romances can be predictable at times, I always seem to enjoy them non-the-less. Mark and Rainey were no exception.
I give Time Out a B