author: Catherine Gayle
series: Portland Storm #1
published: 13 December 2013
publisher: Night Shift Publishing
genre(s): contemporary, romance, sports
source: book tour, publicist
buy/shelve it: Amazon | B&N | BookBub | BookHype | Goodreads
rating: | series rating:
Portland Storm captain Eric “Zee” Zellinger knows how to get the job done, but leading his once elite team to victory is fast becoming a losing battle. He can’t lose focus now—not with his career on the line. But when his best friend’s little sister makes him an offer he can’t refuse, Eric could lose the drive the team relies on from their captain.
Still in a downward spiral after a life-altering event in college, Dana Campbell is desperate to try anything to break away from the horror of that fateful night—even enlisting the help of the only man she trusts completely.
No matter how irresistible she is or how tempting the offer, Eric might not be able to cross that line—especially with the team’s chance at the playoffs on the line. Now, Eric has to take one last shot, but will he choose Dana’s Breakaway chance at happiness or the move that could secure his career?
This had so many elements of the classic romance novel. The girl falls in love with her brother’s best friend. The girl has issues and turns to the hot guy friend and they fall in love. Big tough guy has a tender heat. But even with all of these things, this story is so much more than any one of those things. It is deep and intense and emotionally raw.
This book focuses on Dana and Eric, friends since childhood. Eric is the best friend of Dana’s older brother Brenden, growing up together playing hockey. Eric has gone pro, and Brenden plays for the affiliate team for that same franchise. Hockey is a central part of all of their lives. Dana, too, played hockey until something happened to her that ended her career and changed her life forever.
Dana is damaged, emotionally raw and insecure and living in an almost constant state of terror. She has spent years in therapy trying to get past what was done to her. But she just can’t let it go. So she turns to Eric, her brother’s best friend and one of the few men she thinks she can trust enough to help her. The depth of Dana’s pain jumped off the page and straight into my heart. Eric is the epitome of a true man in the way he supports, protects, and helps Dana. There are some truly heart wrenching moments in this book, moments that just made me hurt for Dana.
And to top it all off, there was hockey! I love me some hockey and I love that the hockey in this book wasn’t just fluff decorating the story, but a real part of the story. Sometimes books with a decided theme (cooking, crafting, etc.) tend to overwhelm the story with that theme. I love that the hockey is just another facet to a fantastic story.
Things to love…
- Eric. He is kind and patient with Dana and their romance is beautiful to watch unfold.
- The hockey. I love the hockey aspect. It was well-researched and added a great premise to a romance story.
- How Dana’s trauma was handled. It was handled with reality and respect and I loved that.
Contemporary romance it is. Light and fluffy it is not. There are real issues explored, real trauma, real emotions and pain.