By Sophia Henry
She closed her heart long ago. He just wants to open her mind. For fans of Toni Aleo and Sawyer Bennett, the debut of Sophia Henry’s red-hot Detroit Pilots series introduces a hockey team full of complicated men who fight for love.
Auden Berezin is used to losing people: her father, her mother, her first love. Now, just when she believes those childhood wounds are finally healing, she loses something else: the soccer scholarship that was her ticket to college. Scrambling to earn tuition money, she’s relieved to find a gig translating for a Russian minor-league hockey player—until she realizes that he’s the same dangerously sexy jerk who propositioned her at the bar the night before.
Equal parts muscle and scar tissue, Aleksandr Varenkov knows about trauma. Maybe that’s what draws him to Auden. He also lost his family too young, and he channeled the pain into his passions: first hockey, then vodka and women. But all that seems to just melt away the instant he kisses Auden and feels a jolt of desire as sudden and surprising as a hard check on the ice.
After everything she’s been through, Auden can’t bring herself to trust any man, let alone a hot-headed puck jockey with a bad reputation. Aleksandr just hopes she’ll give him a chance—long enough to prove he’s finally met the one who makes him want to change.
DELAYED PENALTY is a debut novel and was a pretty good start to a new hockey series. That being said, there’s not really a lot of scenes involving the hockey team or the actual sport, so that was a little disappointing. In fact, most of the story revolves around Auden and her issues.
I liked Auden, but she did get on my nerves a little bit. She has no confidence in herself, she feels that she’s not worthy of being loved and is constantly afraid of upsetting people out of fear that they’ll abandon her. This stems from her father having never been in her life, her mother being murdered when she was six (which she sees as a form of abandonment) and being kicked off her school’s soccer team. She is young (only 20) so I should cut her some slack, but I prefer to read about a woman with confidence, not someone who’s still questioning herself in the epilogue.
I liked Aleksandr very much and thought he was a very sweet and loyal young man. The synopsis doesn’t paint him in a very good light as it infers that he’s a drunken manwhore, but he wasn’t like that at all. Sure, he starts off a little cocky, but he’s a young man who has women throwing themselves at him constantly, so that’s to be expected.
The story seemed to flow fairly well but sometimes I felt that the dialogue was a little choppy, that what the characters were saying or talking about just didn’t make sense, so I was left feeling like I had missed something. I thought the reason for the breakup was a little silly, but we are talking about two people aged around 20, so I guess silly breakups are par for the course. Overall I thought it was well written but I think I would have enjoyed it more if there was a little less high-school type drama and a little more hockey related scenes.
Delayed Penalty (Pilots Hockey # 1)
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