Joint Review – Melting the Ice (Play by Play #7) by Jaci Burton

Melting the Ice cover image
Publisher: Berkley
Publish Date: February 4th
How we got this book: NetGalley

Carolina Preston has only one goal in mind—launching her new fashion line. She needs only one last thing to make it perfect—hockey phenom Drew Hogan. But Carolina and Drew have a history that goes back to their college days, and Carolina doesn’t want the embarrassment of her past to cloud the brightness of her future.

Drew is eager for the chance to show Carolina he isn’t the boy who hurt her back then, but a man now, with the skills necessary to melt the icy exterior of her cold heart.

*Blurb from Goodreads*

MinnChica: Oh man, I have such a love of sports romances, and Burton continues to write wonderful and engaging and sexy stories that feature some of my favorite kinds of sports and heroes. This time we get back to the hockey rink with Drew and Carolina, who just happens to be Drew’s best friend’s little sister. I do really enjoy the brother’s best friend trope, however I don’t think Burton touched on that as much as I would have liked her to. That being said, there was something so simplistic and sweet about the romance between Drew and Carolina that I really enjoyed.

E: Ever since a certain tense weekend involving Drew, Carolina, Preston and Evelyn in One Sweet Ride I have been anxiously looking forward to Drew and Carolina’s story. I really liked the switch Burton made with this story to include a painful past, best friend’s younger sister, and a heroine who wasn’t trying to convince the hero to do something or cooperate. Unlike MinnChica, I really liked the minimal focus on the brother’s best friend trope because I thought it demonstrated more of a trust and adult reaction to an adult relationship. I did have a few niggles with this story but overall I enjoyed watching Drew and Carolina find their way.

MinnChica: One thing that surprised me with this story was the diminished heat level compared to the other books in the series. Those Riley brothers and cousins were horndogs, and we got to see them in action between the sheets. A lot. With Drew and Carolina, there was a lot of sexual tension, but there naked moments were significantly fewer than the previous books. While I liked that, because it gave Burton time to showcase the relationship that Drew and Carolina were building, I also missed some of the more spicy scenes I’ve become accustomed to with this series.

E: While I agree this story certainly did not have the same level of heat, I preferred it because Drew had to work extremely hard to regain Carolina’s trust on any level. The tension was incredible and when they finally indulged the scene was wonderful. I found the end of that particular scene slightly ironic and thought Drew’s realization gave him another idea of exactly how much of a jerk he had been in college. What bothered me in the lead up was how pushy Drew was about spending time with Carolina. I understood there was no way for him to make amends without being around her, sometimes I just wondered about his persistence. I know Carolina was brought up to be a socially polite hostess but it appeared as if she allowed Drew to push her around at times while she was working towards her deadline. That being said, I loved how she was able to take inspiration for her line from some of the activities they did together which also gave her brain a much needed respite. I thought the inclusion of road game troubles for Drew’s team brought a level of three dimensionality as the backdrop to their relationship.

MinnChica: I agree that at times Drew was pushy and used Carolina’s weaknesses against her. Also, some of the other external conflicts, namely Drew’s road game problems, and Carolina’s stress of getting her line launched did add an extra layer to the story that worked well within the romance. One thing that Burton continues to do so well is write incredible secondary characters. I am so excited to read more about Trevor and Haven. I love the small role that Haven’s parents have played in this series of books, so getting to see Haven’s story wrap up is going to be so wonderful!

E: While I enjoyed the roadgame tension it lead to an event that I felt let me down somewhat. Drew pulled a rather inconsiderate move out of fear and superstition. Carolina’s reaction given their past history was very understandable. However, I felt she went from her reaction to forgiveness a tad too easily. I didn’t see how Drew for all of his talk earlier made up for his actions and their potential impact on Carolina’s dream. However, he did realize the error of his ways and addressed it. I agree with MinnChica that the next story should be very interesting.

MinnChica: All in all I liked getting the chance to see Drew and Carolina work past their awkward college interlude and move forward with a mature and adult relationship. While I liked both Drew and Carolina as individuals, there were parts of their romance that just didn’t work for me. However, I am anxious to see what Burton has in store for the next book in this series, as I think Trevor and Haven have a lot of history.
I give Melting the Ice a B-

E: Like MinnChica I did enjoy this story overall. I liked seeing a grown up Drew acknowledge his lack of consideration when younger and how he tried to rebuild trust with Carolina. I also loved seeing Carolina work towards her dream. As I said earlier I did have a few niggles with this story but I thought the twists to Burton’s pattern so far were refreshing. I continue to anticipate future installments.
I give Melting the Ice a B/B-

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