Monday, May 11, 2015

Back In Play by Lynda Aicher

Title: Back In Play
Author: Lynda Aicher
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Power Play #2
Main Characters: Scott and Rachel
Release Date: May 2015
Publisher: Carina
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot


Story Overview:
For Minnesota Glaciers captain Scott Walters, skating on a bum knee—and self-medicating to keep skating on it—is all part of the game. That the painkillers he's eating prevent him from having meaningful relationships is just one more sacrifice in a lifetime of them. He’s worked too hard to let his image be ruined by injury or dependency, so he hides the pain and fakes the rest—a girlfriend would only complicate matters.

High school teacher Rachel Fielding never needed a man in her life, but she also never intended to grow old alone. When she meets Scott while visiting her brother, she’s intrigued to find herself wanting him in her bed. For hours at a time, as often as possible. Scott is a giver, and just the memory of his attentions is enough to drive her crazy. Anything long-term is out of the question, though—the pills she finds in Scott's house indicate he's struggling with a lot more than growing older in a young man's game.

When what starts out as a what-the-hell weeklong fling turns into Scott and Rachel exploring each other outside the bedroom, Rachel hesitates. But Scott asks for her support to break his addiction, and hearing him admit his secrets has her ignoring her own rules—until he breaks her heart. With the Glaciers refusing to renew his contract and his future with Rachel uncertain, Scott has some big decisions to make and a lot to prove—especially to himself.

My Review:
This is something that you don't see very often in romance...a hero who's an addict. But Scott is a professional athlete and all the body pains that come with that so his addiction is understandable. And his pain and humiliation over his addiction is such a visceral thing...my heart hurt for him. Lynda Aicher did an incredible job creating his character and still keeping him an empathetic character. I wanted to hug him and wrap him up. Luckily, so does Rachel, and she does a pretty decent job of it. But she's tough on him when she needs to be, too.

But the addiction doesn't become an issue for Rachel for about half the book, simply because she doesn't know about it. That doesn't mean that they are conflict free though. Rachel lives in Atlanta. Scott lives in Minnesota and Rachel is not willing to do a long-distance relationship. She grew up with an active duty military father who was absent for way too much of her life. She saw what her mother went through. She doesn't want to do the same.

The other real difference is that although the book is incredibly hot and sexy, Scott has sexual issues brought on by the drugs...and his problem is not the one that you're assuming it is, so he's able to hide even that. Wow...I bow to Lynda's writing skills here. It was like she was within Scott's skin...seriously, so well written. I challenge you to read those scenes and not feel for this poor guy. I loved him...huge flaws and all.

I really enjoyed this book. I love hockey stories, but this one takes a different tact than most others do. Scott is an incredible athlete and the Captain of his team, but rather than focusing on his prowess on the ice, this book shows how much he's compromised (especially his body) to gain that success. It's a good moral...when is the cost too much? Something that Scott isn't very good at truly measuring throughout most of the book. Gah...my heart hurt for him...for so many reasons throughout the story. 

I liked it and plan to reread it again. It was a great story and I can't wait for more from the extremely talented writing of Lynda Aicher.

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

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