Monday, August 11, 2014

Across the Line by Kate Willoughby

Title: Across the Line
Author: Kate Willoughby
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: In the Zone #2
Main Characters: Calder and Becca
Release Date: August 2014
Publisher: Carina
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:

Book two of In the Zone

Calder Griffin needs to get back in shape. Sidelined last season by a knee injury, he's determined to return to the San Diego Barracudas and play the best hockey of his career. This might even be the year he gets out of his talented older brother's shadow.

For months, Becca Chen has poured her energy into Cups, the restaurant she owns, desperate to prove to her parents that she can succeed in the career of her choice, not theirs. But after she spends a five-hour plane ride flirting with charming, magic-on-the-ice Calder, she tells herself she needs a fling.

Becca and Calder can't keep their hands off each other, but they know the relationship can't last. They live on opposite coasts, and they're both too devoted to their careers. All they have to do is prevent their feelings from crossing the line from lust to love…

See how Calder's teammate Tim found love in On the Surface.

My Review:
I adored the first book that I read in this series. It was my first time reading this author and she made a great first impression. So much so that I basically attacked her in an elevator at RWA in San Antonio last month because I remembered her name. With this second book in the series, this author just made my "auto-buy author" list!! OMG, I loved this book. 

Hockey...Cooking...Upstate New York. This book was made of all things good! The heroine, Becca, owns a restaurant on the Commons of Ithaca where she specializes in lettuce cups and soups. She and Calder meet on a flight home from San Diego. He's a pro-hockey player in California...San Diego to be exact. They immediately hit it off, but both have very successful careers on opposite impossible situation that will result in heartbreak, so they both resist the temptation...for a little while. 

These are complex characters. Calder is coming off seven months laid up because of a knee injury and is an emotional eater. I loved his sweet tooth and that it showed up often throughout the book...esp. when he's stressed. He has a great supportive family who Becca knows and loves too. But he also has a pro-hockey playing brother and has always felt that he's never lived up to Hart, regardless of his own success. I loved the story going on in the background of the conflict between the two brothers...and especially loved where the story line went with Hart. I'd LOVE it if there were characters really like him standing up in the NHL. That was all kinds of awesome. 

Becca also has a story line about her independence and the fact that she won't lean on anyone for anything. Her parents were EXTREMELY disappointed with her when she dropped out of medical school and started the restaurant. As a result, she feels like she has to prove something with every point in her the detriment of everything else including herself. 

The book was great. I loved the romance and how true it felt. It definitely wasn't all hearts and flowers. These characters have real obstacles and I rooted for them all the way to their Happily Every After. The hockey aspect was fabulously done too...with both the team and Calder's struggles to maintain his career and everything that time, injuries, diet, and simple normal stresses. From the aspect of being a hockey girlfriend for Becca to Calder's daily issues with maintaining his career, the book felt very authentic while at the same time the story was absolutely a great one that I didn't want to put down.

There was so much good about this book, but I also need to state that one of those amazing things was the Ithaca, New York setting. I've visited Ithaca and upstate NewYork twice in my lifetime and fell in love with the area. Honestly, even though I'm from Texas, I would move there to live for the rest of my life in a heartbeat. Through this book, I feel like I got to take a little vacation there and I want to go back. Kate Willoughby did a fantastic job capturing the vibe of the Commons and this town that I love.

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

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