Title: The Hockey Player’s Heart
Series: Hockey Hearts: Book One
Authors: Jeff Adams and Will Knauss
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press/Dreamspun Desires
Length: 226 Pages
At a Glance: I really am so happy I picked this one up. It was a wonderful debut from this writing team, and I’ll definitely be on the lookout to see if they plan to write more together!
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: Hometown hero. Hockey superstar. Perfect boyfriend?
When hockey star Caleb Carter returns to his hometown to recover from an injury, the only thing he’s interested in is a little R & R. He never expects to run into his onetime crush at a grade school fund-raiser . Seeing Aaron Price hits him hard, like being checked into the boards. The attraction is still there, even after all these years, and Caleb decides to make a play for the schoolteacher. You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take, right?
Aaron has been burned by love before and can’t imagine what a celebrity like Caleb could possibly see in a guy like him. Their differences are just too great. But as Aaron spends more time with Caleb, he begins to wonder if he might have what it takes to win the hockey player’s heart.
Review: I fell a little bit in love with The Hockey Player’s Heart by Jeff Adams and Will Knauss last weekend; and it was mainly because I fell a LOT in love with Caleb. But, more about Caleb in a moment. First, I want to say how much I enjoyed this collaboration between Jeff and Will. The Hockey Player’s Heart (That’s Caleb’s heart, by the way. I’m just saying.) is a sweet romance about an NHL star who realizes he is missing his roots a little bit when he goes home to recover from a broken foot, and reconnects with his high school crush. I had one major annoyance—more on that in a moment, too—but, all in all, it was such a lovely and fun read.
Ok—I basically said it already, but I’m going to freely admit that Caleb was my absolute favorite thing about this story. I’ve said before that I love sports romances, and I seem to have a thing for hockey boys in particular, but Caleb was definitely one of the sweetest ever. He may be the starting center for the New York Rangers, and the team captain to boot, but he has not let fame or money go to his head. He’s close to his family, especially his sister, Pam, and would love nothing more than to make a permanent home for himself back in his hometown of Foster Grove. When he finds out his former geometry tutor and secret high school crush, Aaron Price, is also back in town, Caleb’s dream of returning to small town life feels just a little bit closer.
Caleb might have been the best thing about the story, but he wasn’t the only good thing. Don’t worry; there was plenty to love! I adored Caleb’s sister, and his personal assistant, Grant, was also fantastic. I loved all the hockey stuff: Caleb and Aaron working with the youth league in town, and, of course, seeing Caleb in action with the Rangers. I was completely enamored with Foster Grove also. Jeff and Will did a great job of providing the reader with tons of imagery, and bringing the town to life. I want to go eat at FG Plate! Or, FG Café! I’m not picky. :-D The scene at the restaurant for Caleb and Aaron’s date was fantastic. I wanted to eat all the food. And, I loved, loved the ending. There was one thing that happened that was predictable, but I was still dying for it to happen, and Jeff and Will did not disappoint. I loved how it played out.
My leaving Aaron out of the things-I-loved portion of the review might have tipped you guys off that he perhaps had something to do with my aforementioned annoyance. Sadly, he did. Don’t get me wrong, I did love Aaron. I loved that he and Caleb shared a history, and that he was best friends with Pam. I loved him as a teacher; the scenes in the classroom and with the kids at the carnival were great. And, he was also a sweetheart. BUT, I had a very tough time with a few of his reactions and his reasoning for continuously pushing Caleb away. The authors hint early in the book at Aaron having had some fairly serious boyfriend drama. And, eventually, he tells the story to Caleb, of a guy he dated who was an MLB player. One issue I had was that he initially said they had dated for a few years, but then when he was telling the story, he said it was only a year. That wasn’t the main problem, though. The main problem I had with it was that Aaron’s behaviors and reservations about dating Caleb didn’t seem to mesh with the little bit he shared about it. I kept wanting to yell CALEB ISN’T TYSON! Given Aaron’s history with Caleb, and the fact that he was so clearly a wonderful man, it made no sense to me that he would be paralyzed with fear over being hurt by Caleb. I felt like we needed more background and clarification on his former relationship to make his behavior toward Caleb more plausible.
That issue aside, though, I really am so happy I picked this one up. It was a wonderful debut from this writing team, and I’ll definitely be on the lookout to see if they plan to write more together!
You can buy The Hockey Player’s Heart here:
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