Hockey star Alexander Crossman has a reputation as a cold-hearted player on and off the rink. Pushed into the sport by an alcoholic father, Alex isn't afraid to give fans the proverbial middle finger, relishing his role as the MVP they love to hate. Management, however, isn't so amused. Now Alex has a choice: fix his public image through community service or ride the bench. But Alex refuses to be molded into the Carolina Cold Fury poster boy . . . not even by a tempting redhead with killer curves.
As a social worker, Sutton Price is accustomed to difficult people--like Alex, who's been assigned to help her create a drug-abuse awareness program for at-risk youth as part of the team's effort to clean up his image. What she doesn't expect is the arrogant smirk from his perfect lips to stir her most heated fantasies. But Sutton isn't one to cross professional boundaries--and besides, Alex doesn't do relationships . . . or does he? The more she sees behind Alex's bad-boy fa ade, the more Sutton craves the man she uncovers."
Okay so first off… I have to say I love HOOOOOOOCKEY! Can I tell you the ins and outs.. uh no but I love to watch it and I mean really its Hockey, what’s not to love, right? I mean duh, the fights are the best part. (snickers) And this book, the story inside the story really hit home for me and I think that was the best part of this novel. If you can understand the feelings it molds you into the story more...
*** small spoiler alert ***
We meet Alex Crossman. Carolina Fury’s most valuable prick. Who knew, right? Well Mr. Tall, Dark and overly handsome is a jackass. But his dark past has followed him to adulthood. he’s in the game but really he doesn’t want to be there. He could care less about Hockey even though its the only thing he knows he wants to do. Alex does what he needs to. He plays, he scores and he keeps his head up his ass. But the higher ups aren’t happy about that so, they offer him a deal. Either he straightens up and works on a ‘community’ project or else. He of course isn’t into it until he meets Sutton Price. That is after he puts his foot in his mouth. LOL
There is something about Sutton, she makes him feel different. After their first meeting he and Sutton talk, text and then he again asks her to come to a game, then they can talk shop after that… that is when it started. The feelings that they both try to ignore come full force. But for now they ignore them. A couple weeks later and those feelings grow. Alex sends Sutton a ticket to come to the practice they are having and she gets the unpleasure of meeting the ex-bimbo he was casually having sex with. There was nothing more to that relationship and to my surprise he comes completely clean with Sutton about it. There have been a couple of lunch ‘dates’, work related of course.. but then Alex asks her to come out on a date with him. A real date, for dinner. But Sutton has plans, but not wanting to say no she asks him to dinner at her parents house.
And what a dinner. He brings in a few goodies for her little brother, wins her parents over and completely melts her. To the core. But he resists that animal magnetism that can be known to get the best of him. Then there is another big date that turns from intimate to awesome. Giving Sutton 4 tickets to another game he goes from a dinner afterwards with her parents and brother to carting Sutton and three preteens out for the day. And they all love it. Those feelings hit harder and it takes all Alex can to walk away from Sutton. Waiting will make it all the better. And she is dying inside. Her want and need of Alex is driving her as crazy as he is driving himself with waiting.
After a bad day with one of the kids she counsels Sutton comes home to find Alex on her porch along with her ex Brandon. Alex was there to check on her, he was worried after not hearing from her for a few hours. He wanted to comfort her.. but the twat Brandon showed up and wanted Sutton to cook him dinner so they could talk. Well Sutton has a little temper and she angrily ran Brandon off, asked Alex in and the feelings that were there… got to the point that they can’t fight them anymore. The sparks that are between them are blazing. And they get to know a little more about each other and slowly Alex is starting to find the joy in hockey again. He has Sutton to thank for that. She seems to be just what he needed in his loner life. A reason to live out loud so to speak.
The days and weeks pass and the relationship between Alex and Sutton grows. She knows she is in love with him -even says it a couple of times- but he is too screwed in the head to see that he loves her too. Its there but really it scares him so he does what all men do.. he ignores it and pushes it away. The weekend after Thanksgiving -with Garrett’s help- Sutton flies to NYC where the team is playing a back to back game and surprises Alex for his birthday. The next day, before the game that night he meets with his brother. Their father is once again the hospital for his over drinking. If he doesn’t stop he’s going to kill himself. This messes with Alex’s head. he’s starting to blame himself for not helping his dad sooner. After the time in New York it was days before she saw Alex. He had been in Canada -his home town- and got his dad to go to rehab. he admitted that openly to her when they saw each other next. It was a step in the right direction.
But on Christmas Eve, his worries, the fact that his game was sucking and his father who was now standing in his living room played with his head again. His father said Sutton was a distraction. After days it happened… Alex broke it off with Sutton. Crushing her and making him a miserable ass. It was Garrett that helped the two admit what was really going on. Sutton admitted to Garrett that she loved Alex, wholeheartedly. All he’d have to do was come back and admit he was wrong. No groveling, just come back. Garrett had promised to not say anything to Alex but a few days later he couldn’t not do it. Garrett confronted Alex. And…. he knew he had fucked up but thought it was hopeless to fix it.
Never, say never. Between Garrett, Alex and Sutton’s little brother Glenn they devised a plan to get Sutton to the next hockey game and it was on. Alex professed his love to her via poster boards standing on the ice. Thanks to Garrett and the movie “Love Actually” and it worked perfectly. The entire stadium of fans got to watch it all play out on the jumbotron. (I so swoooooooooooned and giggled.) It was the most perfect moment between them at that time. They were both so goofy in love that it brought tears to my eyes. IT was perfection. Simple, beautiful perfection.
This was a wonderful but rough love story. But we all have obstacles in our lives that we have to either face down or let them eat us alive. Alex’s story hit home for me, minus the hockey we have a lot in common. Our father’s were drunks and abusive. Mine was more the mental shit. He was a hard ass so I get where Alex was coming from. Its not an easy thing to take and deal with. it plays with your head messes ya up a bit. I was glad to see that Sutton was able to get through to him, finally. Practice makes perfect, right?