Monday, April 14, 2014

On the Surface by Kate Willoughby

Title: On the Surface
Author: Kate Willoughby
My Rating: A 

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: In the Zone #1
Main CharactersTim and Erin
Release Date: April 2014
Publisher: Carina
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
NHL player Tim Hollander lost his temper one time and threw a water bottle at an abusive fan. After "Bottlegate," he's traded to the San Diego Barracudas, where he'll need to keep the bad publicity to a minimum while proving he can still compete with the younger guys on the ice.

Erin Collier is a pediatric nurse who's never seen a hockey game, but gets in line for Tim's autograph at a PR event in hopes of impressing the doctor she has a crush on. When an obnoxious fan gets pushy toward Erin, Tim rushes to defend the pretty stranger, throwing a punch in the process.

Grateful for the rescue, Erin agrees to stand by Tim during the resulting press conference and host him at a hospital charity event. Their chemistry is palpable, and soon their lives are intertwined. But Erin doubts a hockey player is capable of anything resembling a real relationship. And if Tim can't get her to see beyond what's on the surface, they'll never last longer than a single season…

My Review:
I really enjoyed this book. It was simply a fun, entertaining contemporary romance with the added benefit of a sports/hockey setting which I loved. 

Tim is a pro NHL player coming close to the end of his career and starting out at a new team in San Diego. He's been one of the greats over his career and I liked that this book wasn't about him being washed up. In fact, he has a great year overall with his playing.

Erin is a nurse in the pediatric wing of the local hospital. She's not a hockey fan... at all. In fact, she's never even watched a game, but they meet when she stands in line to get his signature for one of the docs at her hospital that she has a crush on. 

The book felt very real. Erin is a normal girl and Tim is not a normal guy. He's a pro athlete, gorgeous, fit, sexy, rich. She knows this isn't going to last, but she plans to enjoy it while she can. As a result, Tim is MUCH MORE "present" in the relationship than she is. She doesn't even allow herself to think about them long-term whereas Tim is already seeing forever in their future. It was a great dichotomy because I could see any normal person feeling that way in a relationship like this. 

There are several different layers of the story on this one, but my favorite aspect of it was Tim's little girl that died from leukemia. Of course, this has left lasting scars for Tim. He doesn't want kids ever again. He can't do that again. But Erin loves kids...she works in pediatrics. This is a huge thing between them and it really worked as a plot line in this story. It was heart-wrenching, but at the same time, you could totally see where he is coming from. The resolution to that part of the story was so perfect and unexpected. I loved it. 

I love hockey themed books and this is a great example as to why. Everything about this book just worked. Tim is a great guy with a great circle of friends. I even enjoyed the scenes where the three of them were working out in the off-season. I liked that the author still had him very much as a force on the team as well as the PR stuff going on...especially working with kids. The kids scenes in this book were GREAT! Erin is a normal girl, but she has such incredible heart. I loved how she discovered her love for hockey. The Hockey for Dummies scenes were great.

I highly recommend this one and can't wait for more from this series and author. She's a new author to me and I like her!

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This one sounds great Christi! :-) I like the aspect that it feels a lot more real and I enjoy the fact that the guy is looking towards the long term while the girl has talked herself into thinking about it as a short fling. :-) I'm happy that you gave this new author a shot and that it worked out in your favor. :-D