A steamy hockey romance from Pushing the Limits author Stina Lindenblatt
“These two characters’ storylines wove together flawlessly and made for one hot read that had me wanting to pack my bags for my own Finland adventure.”—Cindi Madsen, USA TODAY bestselling author of Anatomy of a Player
Some games are hotter off the ice…
Sofia Phillips feels cursed. Her father cheated on her mother, her boyfriend cheated on her—she’s done with dating. A summer work-exchange program in Finland is the perfect escape. But instead of gaining experience as an athletic trainer, she’s cleaning toilets. Awesome. The trip is a disaster, and even better, she meets Kyle Bennett. In the sauna. Naked.
Sexy hockey player Kyle was the star right wing for an NHL team. But after an accident killed his wife and left him injured, Kyle has appreciated the “therapeutic” benefits of booze and puck bunnies. Now in Finland for the summer, he’s coaching in an elite hockey-training camp for teens. When Sofia's grandmother decides to set her up with a nice Finnish man, Sofia recruits Kyle as her make-believe boyfriend. Neither expects their first kiss to sizzle. And neither expects, while stranded on an island during a storm, to have a scorching night of passion.
But as their charade, and then their attraction, develops into something deeper, the past comes back, threatening to destroy them. They must decide if their feelings for each other are strong enough to survive—or it will be game over.
Despite a far-fetched plot twist, Lindenblatt's contemporary romance about two Minnesotans visiting Helsinki, Finland, works rather well. When Sofia Philips gets into a work-swap program, she's delighted to escape Minneapolis, with its attendant bad memories of a philandering father and a cheating boyfriend, and start a brand new life. Helsinki isn't quite what she pictured, however: she's scrubbing urinals and saunas at a sports center by day and sleeping in her Finnish grandmother's living room at night. When she accidentally sprays naked ex-NHL hockey player Kyle Bennett with cold water, she's unimpressed and largely unapologetic. Sofia has sworn off men forever, but her grandmother's trying to set her up with a local fellow, so she asks Kyle to fake being her boyfriend. The ensuing triangular romantic exercise brings out the best and worst in each of the three main characters and climaxes in a just-right balance of comedy, tragedy, heat, and ice.
Sweet and Adorable.
4 1/2 stars.
This was a great sweet, enjoyable second chance/sport romance that has heartbreak, drama, passion and love. This was well written and I loved that this story was from both their point of views. They were great lovable characters, that were well developed. This story captured my attention and held it to the end.
Both of them have been very hurt, and they have come to Finland to getaway from their memories. The way in which Sophia and Kyle meets is entertaining, it was witty, and had wonderful banter with first sight attraction. I adored Kyle with his nerdy glasses, hot body, physics facts, protectiveness, as well as his sense of humor. Sophia is such a serious girl, who has some serious trust issues, she loves photography, as well as her studies in Athletic training but is struggling with her haunting memories of betrayal. Sophia and Kyle have great chemistry and I adored watching their relationship evolve from friends to more. Loved the rich and loving descriptive, that is used to show us what they both see in one another, as well as the passion they have for one another as they let down their walls.
I did not like all the interference by Joni as he tries to come between them. I did not feel any chemistry between him and Sophia at all. Will Sophia and Kyles' secrets tear them apart? Or will they both let love in again? You will have to read to find out.
Great second chance romance that is adorable and heartwarming as well as sexy. Highly recommended!
Received a complimentary copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
GREAT START TO A NEW SERIES
I really enjoyed this book. I loved how the author gave us a tour of Finland and a peek into Finland’s culture.
If you like your hero sexy, nerdy and broken, then this may be the story for you. Not only had Kyle lost his first and only love, his wife, in a horrible accident by a drunk driver, but the accident took away his NHL career because of his injuries. He has wallowed in self-pity and self-destructive behavior, as many people do in the time of extreme loss. He felt getting away for the summer, teaching hockey would help him move on. He didn’t plan on meeting a sweet and beautiful woman and certainly didn’t plan on romance. He wanted to curb the drinking and the excessive sex that he was used to back home. However, his roommate and fellow NHL teammate, who is from Finland, got him a job at a hockey camp with his uncle. This teammate is a big time party boy and womanizer, so probably not the best person to be with.
Sophia is a sweet and sometimes a little naïve. She came to Finland to get away from her past (cheating ex-boyfriend and his subsequent death) and to spend time with her grandma, who is Finnish and doesn’t speak English. Sophia doesn’t know many Finnish words so their interaction is funny. Unfortunately, grandma is a meddler, wanting Sophia to find love like she had for many years. So she fixed her up with her friends’ grandson, Joni. Sophia wasn’t interested in a relationship and tried to get out of his pushy tries to get her to go out. Sophia is working as a custodian at the sports center where Kyle is coaching and while she is cleaning the sauna, Kyle and his buddy enter the sauna naked as the day they were born. Sophia panics and almost hoses down Kyle, but found a way to escape with her pride intact.
Kyle and Sophia’s chance meeting turned into interest for both of them. Sophia recruited Kyle to pretend he was her boyfriend to get out of going out with Joni. He reluctantly went along and when they kissed it was scorching. Needless to say they went along as boyfriend and girlfriend and eventually consummated the relationship. Joni kept coming though, and he was devious and underhanded in dealing with his feelings for Sophia.
There are some twists and turns that happen that affect them all and I grew frustrated with Joni. I wanted to hit him over the head with my IPad a few times.
This is a well written story, but at times it dragged and could have been a little shorter. If you like a story love story with two broken people that want a new start and find love in a foreign country, then this is the book for you. I look forward to the next book in this series!