They call me an outcast like it's a bad thing.
An asshole byproduct of a shitty upbringing. I don't care about anything except myself and my little sister.
I will always protect what’s mine.
With one year left on my hockey contract I'm keeping my head down and my eyes on the goal.
A collision, with her, changes my entire existence.
Never fall in love with a sports star. That's what my stepfather always said. He told me athletes are complicated and moody—that the higher their paycheck, the lower their morals.
As public relations for the New York Stingers I know exactly what he means, but I can’t seem to say no to a friendship with one beautiful, damaged man.
What started out as hate turned into something else.
We tried to stay away, to keep our distance, but the pull was too strong.
Something forbidden turned into something so irresistible.
I loved Allison. She was smart and had SUCH determination. I admired that about her. She wasn't going to let anyone hold her back from doing her job to the best of her abilities. She stood up for herself, she wasn't afraid to go toe to toe with anyone. She's in an interesting position with her job and her family-which I won't spoil for you.
Max, oh Max. He's an ass-or so you think. Did he do some things he shouldn't have? Yes-but I'm not going to spoil any of that. He redeems himself so spectacularly. I loved seeing him grow, seeing him show his softer side. He's whip smart, truly. And he has a heart that's just so big but has been bruised in the past. I just cannot say how much I grew to love him.
The sparks between these two are hot and fly immediately-though neither of them want them to be there. The progress of their relationship from enemies, to friends, to lovers was just beautifully done. It felt authentic. I could 100% believe in how the whole situation played out. They are, hands down, my favorite Natasha Madison couple to date.
The pacing of this book was perfection. The writing flowed spectacularly. The banter, the flirting, the friendship and the love. It was all there and just so brilliantly portrayed.
If you haven't read the previous two books in this series you can absolutely start here-but there will be spoilers for the other books as the characters do overlap. But I loved this book. It's one I will go back and read again and is honestly one of my favorite books that I've recently read. I highly recommend this book!
Natahsa Madison writes a lot of the friends to lovers trope, and it works...but it works particularly well in this title. Often, the hero and the heroine in her stories devolve into fights that involve penis balloons and itching powder...and while these are funny, they also detract a little from the intensity of the story. And, while I am in the minority, sometimes I think they go a little farther than I am totally comfortable with in a romance, if that makes sense. Not enough for me to not read the next title (obviously) and not enough to make me dislike the author, but a little farther than I like.
In this story, Max and Allison don't like one another. But, they are really no games, or attempts to make the other look bad. But, they are both difficult to one another, in the way that you are when you are not comfortable around someone, and in the way that allows the reader to realize there is emotion there under the dislike.
Allison is the reminder for Max of a past misdeed, of something that he knew was a bad idea at the time and has come to regret more and more as time goes on. Allison still holds a grudge, because the thing Max did? It was big. It was life changing, it was an experience that will always stay with Allison and the people it impacted. It's not something you just walk away from when it is over.
And, most importantly, while you are able to forgive him for the mistake in his past, you understand why Allison struggles to do the same. I loved this tension. it's real, it's understandable, and it lets you relate to both of the characters at the same time. Allison is falling in love with Max, and she is struggling to move past the thing in his past...while Max is falling for her, and struggling with the same event.
I seriously can't say enough about how much this worked for me. It gave a depth to not only the enemies, but to the romance of the story, to how much they loved one another to be able to put it in the past. It moved the story well.
The writing was strong, the pacing was consistent throughout. I felt the romance, the friends, and the enemies section flowed smoothly. The dialog worked and the characters were believable.
The author told me this is her favorite story that she has ever written...and, as it is the best thing she has written to date, it is not hard to see why Ms. Madison feels this way.
I recommend this title.
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