Title: Out of the Game
Author: Kate Willoughby
My Rating: B+
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: In the Zone #3
Main Characters: Alex and Claire
Release Date: March, 2015
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot
Book three of In the Zone
Alex Sullivan may be the San Diego Barracudas' resident playboy, but he hasn't been able to forget the woman who kissed him like her life depended on it ten months ago. When he sees her again at a teammate's wedding, he can't think of anything but spending more time with her. Preferably naked.
Claire Marzano lost years catering to an overbearing husband, and she's not going to answer to anyone ever again. A hot fling is just what she needs to get back in the game, and that's exactly what sexy Alex offers—one wild long weekend away, with no promises or obligations.
But that one weekend changes everything. Despite knowing full well Alex isn't the kind to ever commit, Claire is falling for him. And Alex secretly imagines a future with his strong, smart "accidental girlfriend." Until a surprise announcement and an on-ice accident threaten to derail everything…or cause Alex to finally ditch his old ways and become the man Claire needs him to be.
Don't miss On the Surface and Across the Line, available now!
86,000 wordsMy Review:
One of the best things I ever did was start reading Kate Willoughby's hockey series. I love these guys and these stories. Yes, it's a series and as a series, you come to expect a certain style to each of the books. What Kate Willoughby does brilliantly though in her series is that she gives each individual book its own sense of style and rhythm. It's really a remarkable skill that I'm envious of as a writer.
That defining difference in this book really comes down to Alex and the interesting way she's written his character. Alex is not a complex guy. He likes junk food, breasts, and hockey. He's pretty basic about those things. Oh, and he is a bit of a movie buff which I found incredibly endearing...it doesn't matter if it When Harry Met Sally or the Terminator. This is a guy who can quote and talk about movies for hours...even the chick flicks. He's just a normal guy...who just happens to play with the NHL, but he's well aware that he's not the deepest guy around and he's okay with that...usually. He doesn't figure he'll ever have a long-term relationship, so it really doesn't matter. He's okay with who he is.
Claire spent 10 years married to a douche and doing everything in her life to please him. From how she looked and dressed to what functions she went to...those things were all chosen based on his desires. So once the divorce if final, she's ready to have some light-hearted fun and happy times. Something that makes her happy for once. And that's where Alex comes in. Alex may not be that deep of a guy, but he's a pro athlete, so he's sexy as hell. And they simply have fun together.
This is a relationship that starts out as a weekend fling that morphs into a summer romance, and then becomes deeper. It covers over a year in time so although it may not seem like it, the relationship has a lot of time to deepen and develop. I liked that about it. I also really liked the fact that Alex is not your typical Alpha male that you find in romance novels. He felt like a normal guy which made the whole story feel more real. He really has a thing for Claire's breasts...to the point where I'd be laughing at him. Because as long as her breasts are there, this guy is pretty much happy with the status quo. It was cute and even a little endearing.
There's emotion to this story too, though. And I thought that Kate Willoughby did a brilliant job bringing all those emotions to the forefront. Even while my heart was breaking I was loving the twists to the story line. Just really good, heart-wrenching writing.
I definitely recommend this one and the entire series. They certainly all work as stand-alones, but every book is good so I think you'll want to read them all.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.