Review – Across the Line by Kate Willoughby

Across the LinePublisher: Carina Press
Publish Date: Out Now
How I got this book: eARC from NetGalley

Calder Griffin needs to get back in shape. Sidelined last season by a knee injury, he’s determined to return to the San Diego Barracudas and play the best hockey of his career. This might even be the year he gets out of his talented older brother’s shadow.

For months, Becca Chen has poured her energy into Cups, the restaurant she owns, desperate to prove to her parents that she can succeed in the career of her choice, not theirs. But after she spends a five-hour plane ride flirting with charming, magic-on-the-ice Calder, she tells herself she needs a fling.

Becca and Calder can’t keep their hands off each other, but they know the relationship can’t last. They live on opposite coasts, and they’re both too devoted to their careers. All they have to do is prevent their feelings from crossing the line from lust to love…
*Blurb from Goodreads*

When I read Willoughby’s first In the Zone book, I was blown away by how much I enjoyed the team she created and the story I read. When I saw this second book, I couldn’t wait to dive back in and see which Barracuda would fall next. 🙂

Calder has gone home to spend some time with his mom before the season ramps up and he needs to show he is at the top of his game. Meeting Becca on the flight is something Calder never expected to happen, or enjoy for that matter. But there is something about Becca that draws Calder in and has him coming back for more.

Becca is in love with her work, so finding someone special isn’t a huge priority. Meeting Calder and starting a relationship with him is easy, despite the miles between them. But as their feelings get more and more intense, and life gets in the way, Becca and Calder will have to decide what’s more important, their relationship or the lives they both thought they wanted.

I really like Willoughby’s style of writing. Her heroes are these really sweet and understanding guys who fall easily head over heels for their heroines. I thought it was wonderful to read about Calder, who wasn’t necessarily on the lookout for love, but was also willing to embrace it with both arms wide open once he found the girl of his dreams. I loved that he wanted to work things out with Becca, that he was willing to do long distance, and everything he could to get her to be by his side, day and night. It was sweet and endearing and adorable!

The other thing Willoughby does well is write really strong heroines. Both Becca (and Erin from the first book in the series) are career women who are dedicated to their jobs, who love to take charge, and who don’t NEED a man to stand on their own two feet. While Becca had some problems trusting and allowing someone to be there to support her, she was also just so sweet and fun that I was able to look past her somewhat annoying habit of constantly shutting Calder out without meaning to.

The romance in this book was so great. I loved that although these two were quick to jump into bed, they were so with the love aspects. They were realistic about the hardships of a long distance relationship, and they took the time to really get to know each other before jumping in head first into a situation that would be difficult at best. I really loved that about them, and found myself rooting extra hard for the HEA because of it.

The side story with Calder’s brother was so well done, and I loved the way Willoughby added it. It wasn’t preachy or anything, and I loved the way it played out both for Calder’s relationship with his brother, and also for the book as a whole. I enjoyed seeing the team rally around one of it’s own and I hope that comrodority is expanded even more in future books.

All in all, I think Willoughby has become one of my favorite hockey romance authors. I love the way her heroes are all badasses, while also being sweet and sensitive guys. I think the strong heroines are so much fun to read, and can’t wait to see what else Willoughby can bring to the table. Sports romance fans definitely need to be reading this series!
I give Across the Line a B+

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